The Jungle Effect: A World of Good-for-You Food Tales

by Amber on November 9, 2008

Grab your mosquito net and your whisk. You’re about to embark upon a culinary health journey the likes of which no other book offers.

The Jungle Effect by Dr. Daphne Miller provides medical evidence of the health benefits from eating seasonally, locally, and organically. We all knew these diets were good for the planet; Miller points out why they are good for people, too. Her travels take place in the world’s “cold spots:” regions with little prevalence of diseases like colon cancer, heart disease, or depression. What do their diets have in common with being disease-free?

Miller provides delightful tales of digging for wild greens on the hillsides of the Mediterranean or guzzling mountain-made sports drinks in Copper Canyon. You’ll learn of foods as unique as cactus and as common as the potato. Why are they so good for our bodies? How do we prepare them? Where can we buy them?

Don’t let the medical science scare you away from one of this year’s best reads. The Jungle Effect is easily digestible—both the reading and the recipes included. Each chapter carries you to a new corner of the world where neon yellow cheese in a box and foam-wrapped, fast-food burgers have yet to penetrate. (Did you know such places still exist?)

Cast all prejudices aside: this is not a wacky new health book preaching a fad diet. Based in nutritional science, foraged at the local farmers’ market, and brought to life in easy-to-prepare home kitchen recipes, the diet Miller suggests borrows heavily from what other locavores have been touting for years. If you have already been filing your kitchen pantry with the bounty of your garden or farmers’ market, you are already firmly prepared to incorporate Miller’s recipes. Even if you haven’t, you’re just a hop, skip, and a cabbage from making the transition. No international passport required.

For any true food nerd interested in why our bodies crave anti-oxidants, or what benefits we reap from pork, this book is for you! Do you know someone with a family history of breast cancer? Then you’ll want to lend her this book. Have a parent with arthritis? Read up before the next family dinner.

From Iceland to Okinawa, The Jungle Effect offers travel tastes from around the globe that will tempt your tummy. Put that together with the nutritional knowledge you will gain and you’ve got the actual recipes to a happy, healthy diet. As they say in Denmark: Ver så godt. Or in Paris: Bon appétit!

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