Book Review – What the Health (The Startling Truth Behind the Foods We Eat, Plus 50 Plant-Rich Recipes to Get You Feeling Your Best) by Kip Andersen; Keegan Kuhn.

3 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank BenBella Books for providing me with a free – temporary – electronic ARC of this book, via Netgalley. Although I required their approval, the decision to read this book is my choice and any reviews given are obligation free.

Okay, this review is going to actually be quite short and sweet for me. You see, I watched the documentary ‘What the Health’ and found a lot of it quite interesting, so was intrigued by the book of the same name. On Netgalley they clearly state that it is a companion book to the documentary, so I knew what I was going to be reading.

So, no surprise, the book ‘What the Health’ was basically the documentary… in book form. But what I really liked was that in the book, when they are citing specific reports and texts, there are citation numbers you can look up to find the source and look into the original report further – if you so desire. And I really like doing that sort of thing as, being a part-time student myself, I love reading scholarly texts and trying to find a way to use them in my essays to help prove my point. As, you know, there can be quite a bit of wiggle room when it comes to interpreting academic and scholarly texts – and making them fit into your side of the argument. So it was good to be able to follow up on the documents ‘What the Health’ cited so that I could read the originals for myself and weigh up how it matches those quoting it, as well as my own opinions on the subjects explored.

What? You’ve just realised I am a book nerd? Noooo – really? Please, where have you been living? 😀

Please don’t see my need to fact checking as a sign I didn’t believe or enjoy ‘What the Health’, as this is not the case at all. I mean, yes, I can’t say I agreed 100% with all of it… but it was still a good documentary and companion book. It’s also a good topic to practice your critical thinking on. 😉

The layout, formatting and usual technical stuff was a little clunky and crowded in places, but still easy to read and navigate. And, no, I didn’t get around to trying the recipes in the back, though some looked quite yummy to try.

Would I recommend this book to others?

I would, but probably only to those who had watched the ‘What the Health’ documentary. I mean, although Netgalley states it is a stand-alone book and as well companion to the documentary, I really feel this book on its own might not grab the reader’s attention as much. As the clunky layout, citations, and length gave it a rather heavy text book feel to it. And I don’t think I would have enjoyed slogging through reading it all if I’d not watched the documentary first.

And I do think that those who enjoyed the documentary would really enjoy the book as it gives you all that important and interesting information discussed in the documentary, plus the citations, recipes, etc.

Would I buy this book for myself?

Perhaps. I mean, I enjoyed the documentary and would love to have this companion book to refer to when talking to people about health, our food choices, etc. But, as I don’t agree with all of what is said, I don’t know if I would want to own it or just want it available via my local library any time I want to look something up. Face it, ‘What the Health’ advocates veganism as the ultimate way to eat… and although I agree that it can be an excellent short term body cleanse, I am an omnivore and fully believe in a high plant based diet that still includes some animals and their products. So it shows me that ‘What the Health’ is not for me. I have nothing against respectful vegans and veganism; it is just not my personal choice.

In summary: A good companion book to the documentary of the same name. If you liked the documentary, you should enjoy this too.


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