“Biology was my least favourite subject in school- the subject material was difficult and just required memorizing where as I was better at problem solving and I prefered to learn new concepts by either applying logic or some visualization. I found it hard for me to visualize anything related to biology, especially the internal systems as the learning materials were just books with one or two diagrams to learn and memorize. Another medium was to go to museums or laboratories, but that was a more of a daunting experience than an educational one. I am always amazed by my friends who are in the medical field, their courage and commitment fills my heart. Here I am in 2021, more than happy to present The Clever Guts Diet Book Review, hoping to share its influence on myself and recommend it for anyone who would like to understand a little bit more about functioning of your gut system, and make an informed plan or decision for your meals.
Though I conveniently ignored tackling Biology as a subject going for computer science major and eventually becoming an engineer, I have now settled my mind well enough to understand my body better. As an adult, I have started to make clear observations of my body functioning than ever before. One major part of this is my food intake and its influence on my body. Living in different parts of the world over last few years, I have not only gotten accustomed to new meals, but I also have started to slowly develop allergies to different food items, thanks to getting close to 30 (:old haha:). I am also making some clear observations of how various various types of food effects my digestion and daily life. I had been thinking of reading more about what makes a good diet and how different types of food effect metabolism and luckily enough, someone gifted us a diet related book this Christmas, The Clever Guts Diet by Dr. Michael Mosley.
As part of my 2021 New Year Resolution, I present my journey of taking some interest in biology and trying to educate myself about the most important system of our lives, our body. “Health is precious” and there is not another time in history to teach us this than this period of 2020+, with most of us stuck at home from the evil pandemic. I was fascinated reading the Clever Guts Diet Book, in which the author talks about the interior working elements of our gut system, which he calls another brain. This time, I approached reading this book like a computer architect and found it easy to understand unlike my younger self – I could easily connect how the gut system works just like a brain or a computer. Aside from understanding the gut system, I also had lots of takeaways around my food habits. I was constantly evaluating my eating habits with what I was reading and feel like I emerged the other side as a more informed human being, who can make educated decisions about the food I was eating and being aware of the impacts it would have on my body. I am happy to share my key insights, learnings and actions from reading the Clever Gut Diet book. I hope you find the notes useful and be encouraged to read the book too. If you are naive in this area, this is the right book for you to get started.
“How to revolutionize your body from inside out” is the subtitle of the book and I would say it is pretty accurate to the content. The book is not just about the do’s and don’ts of a good diet, but a great exploration of how the gut systems functions, what the different sub systems are and how various diet elements influence it’s behaviour. Dr Mosley provides a good overview of the microbiomes in the gut that are crucial for your wellbeing and how various food elements we eat interact with the micro biomes. What I found extremely useful as a beginner was the clear depiction of how different types of food like proteins, carbohydrates, fats etc are digested in our body and the difference in their digestion process to produce varying impacts on our body formation. The book makes it very clear about why carbs are usually restricted and why we should eat more of proteins, fibres etc.
- You will learn in simple manner, how our gut system works, very much like a second brain.
- Detailed and easy explanation of the digestion process for various types of food such as proteins, fats and oils which will give you a clear understanding of why you should or should not eat certain type of food and what is the right combination. The consequences or effects are clearly mentioned which will leave you justified about your diet choices. I have finally been convinced to quit sugar after reading this book.
- Great information of the microbiomes inside our gut system, their purposes, how diverse they can be and what we can/should try to do in order to promote their healthy existence inside us. I have to admit that I never had a good understanding of the gut bacterias and hormones until I read this book, but I could easily recognize seeing their names in blood tests before.
- If you have intolerances to any type of food, this book will explain what causes this and the best diet practices to follow to avoid trigger foods, mainly for those who are gluten or lactose intolerant.
- Some great examples of what forms a good diet, the value or impact of different types of nutrients and food elements to the overall wellbeing of our gut system. I love the fact that some of these are not merely stated as facts but very logically explained.
- A good list of recipes that is perfect for our gut system, which includes carefully chosen mix of food items.
- Lastly, there is a weekly meal plan sheet you could use to help plan your daily diet.
- The book mentions certain types of surgeries performed for weight loss and how they achieve the required results, which I found fascinating. Who would have thought physically shrinking the stomach is actually a type of surgery for weight loss?
- Proportion of microbiome in the body directly comes from your mom when you were born. C-section or natural birth has heavy consequences to the shape of your gut health, due the differences in the exposure to mom’s gut system while the baby is born. Fascinating!
- Fasting can be good: Benefits of intermittent fasting is clearly explained in the book. I am aware that many religions follow these fasting practices, especially in India. I had previously ignored it as just another tradition and was never a fan as I have always been in the easily-starving category who can’t stand going without food for more than 2 hours. I now understood the benefits of fasting from this book which explains it scientifically.
- Fermented food is healthy: Fermented food and its benefit to our biome is detailed in this book. This is a myth buster for me, as I used to think old/preserved foods were is less healthy, be it frozen or fermented.
After reading the book, I was convinced about following certain habits like eating protein in the morning, avoiding sugar whenever I can and to try some new types of food that were missing in my diet. Not only that, I was also happy that the book validated some of the existing items in my diet. Here is a brief overview of my new diet plan since I read this book.
- Breakfast: Eat protein and fat in the morning to stop craving sugar. The british breakfast makes sense after all 😉
- Avoid bottled sugar-rich juices whenever possible and choose to eat fruits instead. Only drink sugar-rich fluids when you need some energy right away.
- Introduce yoghurt and fermented food into my diet. I am going to make an effort to eat yoghurt at least once a day.
- Eat fish twice a week, red meat once a week and chicken once a week. Red meat is known to be bad for health in some countries due to quality issues, grass-fed beef is supposed to be the best.
- Add varieties of vegetables in your diet. Multi-coloured vegetables bring more variety to the diet as colour signifies the nutrients they contain.
The book not only goes one by one through the nutritional benefits of all the different types of food- nuts, vegetables, cheese, oil, you name it, but it also provides us with a good list of recipes to follow for different meals of the day. These recipes are a good mix of healthy food items in different combinations. The author also gives advice about how to reset your gut system and follow a healthy diet that keeps your gut system and yourself healthy. Apart from this book, Dr. Mosley has his own website called Clever Guts with lots of good content around this topic and has written an exclusive book on over 150 recipes as listed below.
If you a beginner in this area with limited knowledge on planning your meals, this book is great for you. If you already know all about these books and have more recommendations, do reach out to me or leave a comment. I am definitely a beginner and wishing to learn more. Stay Healthy and Safe!