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Understanding What We Eat and How It Affects Us: The Story of Human Nutrition

Wendy E. Cook

352 pp.  
7" x 10"

Clairview Books


Published:  May 2003


Wendy Cook’s fascination with nutrition began during her wartime childhood. Amid the deprivation and food-rationing of that era, her mother’s organic garden and its rich abundance made a profound impression. In her twenties, while married to Peter Cook, Wendy discovered the artistic and magical effects that food could have in creating a convivial atmosphere. During that time, she cooked for many well-known people, including John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Dudley Moore, and Peter Ustinov. It was only later when her daughter became ill, however, that Wendy came to study and understand deeper aspects of nutrition—in particular the effects of various foods on human health and consciousness.

In Foodwise, Wendy Cook presents a remarkable cornucopia of challenging ideas, advice, and commentary, informed by the seminal work of the scientist Rudolf Steiner. She begins the volume with biographical glimpses relating to her own experience with food and how it has influenced her life. She continues with an extraordinary perspective on the journey of human evolution, relating it to changes in consciousness and the consumption of various foods. She then considers the importance of agricultural methods, the nature of the human being, the significance of grasses and grains, the mystery of human digestion, and the issue of vegetarianism.

In the next section Cook analyzes the “building blocks” of nutrition, looking in detail at the nutritional and non-nutritional qualities of many foods, including carbohydrates, minerals, fats and oils, milk and dairy products, herbs and spices, salt and sweeteners, stimulants, legumes, nightshades, bread, water, and dietary supplements. She ends with practical tips on cooking, planning menus, children’s food, sharing meals, and mouth-watering recipes.

Foodwise presents a treasure of wisdom and experience for those who are concerned about the substance of the food they eat or wish to discover more about the physical, soul, and spiritual aspects of nutrition.

“A rich and sensitive philosophical exploration of approaches to nutrition and the family by a thoughtful woman of our time. A how-to-book with difference—it tells you how to live.” —Elisabeth Luard, author of Sacred Food

“At last, here is a book that tells you the whole truth about food! Wendy Cook has brought together an astonishing ensemble of history, culture, aesthetics, and recipes related to food. It is a book that unites taste and transcendence.” —Satish Kumar, editor of Resurgence

“A teaspoon of honey requires 2,000 hours of collecting and transforming by bees. In Foodwise, Wendy Cook does the same work of collecting and transforming for us, gathering relevant knowledge about human culture and nutrition that is guided by her wide experience and informed by a love that comes from sharing.” —Brian Goodwin, professor and author of How the Leopard Changed Its Spots

“A great testament to one person’s struggle to bring meaning to food.” —Professor Tim Lang, City University

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