Book review: Spoon-Fed, by Tim Spector
January is a time many people turn their attention to the diet and make a start at living a healthier lifestyle. At this time of the year the media is often full of different and “new” diets or recommendations on what to do, plus “miracle” foods and we are bombarded with messages about dieting to lose weight or what new items to avoid.
As you know, at the retreat we follow a plant-based diet, so I was really curious to read this book. Plant-based diets and veganism can be seen by some people as another “fad” diet, so I was sure there would be an opinion here. By the end of the book I felt that most of what was written is in line with our ethos here at the retreat – diet and nutrition is a personal thing. We are all inherently different in how our bodies work – for example, my body would use some enzymes more or less efficiently than yours . Nutritional advice is typically given at a population level however, as we are all unique individuals, this advice should be moulded and tailored for each person to take into account their body and circumstances. Additionally, he is keen to emphasise that taking a balanced, sensible and educated approach to what we eat is the healthiest approach overall.
Spoon-Fed was published in 2020 and is Professor Spector’s third book; the first being “Identically Different” and the second “The Diet Myth – the real science behind what we eat”. (If you are interested in learning more about the gut microbiome then the second book is also worth a read).
Spoon-Fed pulls together lots of scientific research from over the years and dovetails with Prof Spector’s personal experience. I found it a simple to read book and it contains a useful list of references at the end of the book, supporting his statements.
There are 23 chapters, each one around ten pages long, so it’s a great book to read in bite-sized chunks. Each chapter takes a leading myth that is popular in the press and society, to explore it in more detail and look at the science behind it (if there is any).
I went first to read the chapter: Veganmania. The myth he explored was “veganism is the healthiest diet”. In the chapter, topics covered included protein, B12, health impacts and more. Professor Spector went plant-based for a time and he experienced increased feelings of health because of it, some of which he said could be due to the increase in fibre and plants that he consumed, some of which might have been due to expectations (his mind). He notes that there are plenty of highly processed and unhealthy vegan foods available, so not all vegan diets are inherently healthy. His conclusion is that following a plant-based diet can be a healthy, but it depends on what you choose to eat – improved health is linked to eating fresh products. Additionally, if everyone chose to eat plant-based just for one day each week, people would experience improved health plus there are large environmental benefits.
Other myths covered in this book include:
- Food labelling helps us make healthier choices
- Nutritional guidelines and diet plans apply to everyone
- Most of us have a food allergy
- Drinking alcohol is always bad for you
- Food only impacts the health of our body, not our mind
Like I said, fascinating stuff!
About Tim Spector
Tim Spector is a Professor of Genetic epidemiology, based in London at the time of writing this review. He is a director of the Twins UK registry at Kings College London.
Read Spoon-Fed for yourself
Education is one of the eight elements of the La Crisalida holistic programme. We encourage all our guests to explore and learn, and to create their own health and wellbeing. This book is available in hardback and paperback editions and on Kindle.
You can order your own copy of Spoon-Fed by Tim Spector here on Amazon (external link).
Note: La Crisalida Retreats are an Amazon Associate and earn from qualifying purchases.
Nutrition at La Crisalida Retreats
Nutrition and hydration is another key element of our holistic programme. We serve plant-based food, freshly prepared for each meal by our talented chefs. You can also choose to juice for some or all of your stay.
Come and try it for yourself!
About the author
- Lisa is one of the founders of La Crisalida Retreats. She is an Epidemiologist, therapeutic hatha and yin yoga teacher and also teaches mindfulness meditation. Lisa has studied NLP and hypnosis, as well as nutrition (she designs the menus).