Book Review: Your Nutrition Solution to a Healthy Gut
by Kimberly A. Tessmer, RDN, LD
(New Page Books, 2015)
Reviewed by Christine A. Krahling
I had the pleasure of working with Kim Tessmer when she asked me to contribute a “Tip for Living Every Day on a Gluten-Free Diet” for her book, Tell Me What to Eat if I Have Celiac Disease (New Page Books, 2009) so when I heard that she had written a new book, I requested a copy for review. Your Nutrition Solution’s subtitle says the book is a “meal-based plan to help prevent and treat constipation, diverticulitis, ulcers and other common digestive problems.” Celiac disease is also discussed. Tessmer says in her introduction: “The whole idea is not the mask your symptoms with medication but to determine what is causing them and then treating the issues accordingly.”
According to a statistic from the U.S. National Institute of Health (noted on page 17), some 60 to 70 million Americans are affected by some type of digestive disease or disorder. Tessmer adds that “the health of our gut may not just affect our gut but may affect our overall health.”
I think many would agree. Tessmer discusses what it means to have a healthy gut and whether or not there is a relationship between certain gut bacteria and disease. Conditions and diseases associated with the gut are mentioned, including peptic ulcer disease, diverticular disease, chronic constipation, IBS (and why it’s considered a “syndrome” and not classified as a “disease,”) and gallstones. Leaky Gut Syndrome is also included.
In Chapter 2, “The Nutrition Connection and Beyond,” Tessmer discusses the role that certain carbohydrates and fiber play in regulating gut health, as well as the role that food intolerances and sensitivities play in digestive issues. The FODMAP diet approach is also covered. It’s a fairly detailed chapter and offers a wealth of information. (Celiac disease is discussed on page 72.)
The “Five-Step Nutrition and Lifestyle Solution,” found in Chapter 3, offers tips for “cleaner eating,” suggestions for boosting daily fiber intake, ways to limit sugar intake, how to choose whole grains, and how to reach and maintain a healthy weight. Additional “Gut-Favorable Lifestyle Changes” are offered, including exercise and stress management.
In “10 Foods to Avoid and 10 Foods to Include” (Chapter 4), both asparagus and bananas are listed as“Foods to Include;” however, on p. 58 they are listed as foods to avoid if one suffers from gas, so just keep that in mind. This chapter also includes a handy guide to “gut-friendly” herbs and spices, something you don’t hear about too often.
Chapter 5 (Menu Planning and Shopping Guide) includes some fabulous gems such as a “Swap it Out” chart with suggestions for using honey instead of table sugar, etc. There’s also an aisle-by-aisle guide to navigating the supermarket, which can be extremely helpful when changing to a new diet, especially for newly-diagnosed celiacs. Information on food labeling is also provided as are menu-planning tips.
Tips for stocking your kitchen are offered in Chapter Six, along with a 14-day menu guide. Each chapter includes a “Your Nutrition Solution Tidbit” section which offers additional, thought-provoking information based on the topics covered in each chapter.
Though I did receive a review copy of Your Nutrition Solution, all opinions expressed herein are my own.
If you’re looking for a meal-based plan for common digestive problems, I would highly recommend this book. It is laid out nicely and is easy to follow, and has many helpful tips, especially for those who are newly-diagnosed with an unfamiliar condition.
Thanks, Kim, for being not only "CeliacSavvy" but "GutSavvy" as well!