July Book Review: The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care by Sally Fallon and Thomas Cowan

The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Childcare is a comprehensive handbook dealing with nutrition and baby care. The book begins by lining out a thorough diet for men and women to take on long before trying to conceive a baby. Fallon and Cowan make a case for the many health problems our standard American diet has caused in our children. They proceed to line out each important nutrient and to recommend the best sources for each vitamin and mineral. Most of these sources are animal products, including butter, cream, liver, and meat. Fallon and Cowan are very critical of the disadvantages of a vegan or vegetarian diet.
These nutrition themes run throughout the book and will be familiar to those that have read other books by Fallon. The daily baby care sections of the book take a more moderate turn. The book does not espouse one parenting philosophy but recommends finding a middle-of-the-road compromise that fits well with your own needs and personality. Fallon and Cowan even part with La Leche advice, asserting that sometimes breastfeeding may not be the best route or may not work out. They recommend a traditional foods homemade formula that echos the themes of the nutrition advice that they outlined earlier. Of course, they remain advocates for breastfeeding, especially if the mother is eating a traditional diet rich in fat, trace minerals, and fermented foods.
The authors give traditional foods recommendations and recipes for feeding infants and children. Again, they emphasize the importance of fat, vitamin A, trace minerals, and protein in every aspect of development – brain, bone, muscle, attention, etc. They suggest that feeding our children well will alleviate many of the issues that parents and children now face.
Fallon and Cowan end the book with some revolutionary ideas about illness and healing. In addition to providing some homeopathic and herbal remedies, they shed light on the meaning of illness and suggest a necessary paradigm shift in the way we approach healing.
Like any book, I cannot say that I fully agree with all that Fallon and Cowan purport. But, that is not the point, anyway. I think this is an amazing book because it opens the mind and the heart to a whole new way of seeing health and development. I could not stop reading this book. In fact, I stayed up until 4 am one night caught up in the excitement of it’s pages. I have spent the time since reading it making changes in my diet and in my children’s diets. I have made traditional baby foods for Simeon, and he loves them. I have been taking joy in eating simple, whole foods like butter, cream, and bone broth. And, I feel more full of energy than I’ve ever felt. I feel like my body is getting nutrients it was starving for. And, I’ve LOST weight.
If you read this book, be prepared to feel bothered or even offended at times. Be prepared to open your mind to the OPPOSITE of what you’ve always thought. And, in the end, I can’t say you won’t have a laundry list of things you didn’t agree with, but you might also open up to something new and helpful. Honestly, I think this book may be pointing out the crux of the problem with modern health. If you don’t read this book (maybe you don’t have kids and it doesn’t apply to you), I recommend looking into some of Fallon’s other books.
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