While it is true that Ramiel shares many of the same ideas about nutrition as Nina Planck, his approach to that information is wildly different. One Amazon reviewer summed up her thoughts on this book like this: “Yikes! Wacky Hippies Co-Opt Weston A. Price.” That’s not a bad summary.
Don’t get me wrong. I have a soft spot in my heart for hippies. One of my favorite places on earth is the Rogue Valley in Southern Oregon, a place where migratory hippies live on public land and more settled hippies somehow managed to hold down careers, have families, and gain an air of legitimacy despite their abundant use of marijuana. While in college, I walked my campus barefoot. I even got married barefoot with flowers in my hair. And I still believe that barefoot is better. I don’t wear makeup, my hair hangs long and straight or in braids, and I try to be environmentally-friendly in my lifestyle choices.
All this to say that “hippies” is not a pejorative term. In fact, it’s almost a term of endearment.
Yet, despite all my affection for hippies and our shared common ground, they do tend to go to several places where I can not follow. And in Ramiel Nagel’s book, he goes there with flourish.
You see, mixed into all his wisdom about traditional foods and traditional parenting practices (which is really quite good!), Ramiel Nagel also journeys into a sort of spiritualism most would call “New Agey.” If that appeals to you, you will probably love this book.
I, however, tend to be a traditionalist on many fronts — not just in foods and parenting. After all, I’m an adherent to arguably the most “traditional” Christian church — the Eastern Orthodox Church.
So, for me to read the book was an exercise in patience and mental discipline. I felt like I had to wade into strange waters and sift through sand to find the nuggets of gold.
That said, there is a lot of gold within these pages.
First, I was impressed by Ramiel Nagel’s treatment of Weston A. Price’s research. The only other place I’d seen it so clearly laid out, pictures and all, is in Dr. Price’s book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. As such, you’ll find in Rami an advocate for the nourishing, traditional practices that have supported fertility, pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting for thousands of years. The book’s description claims “there is a natural way to reduce your risk of birth defects by 1602%, miscarriage by 640%, premature births by 315% and reverse infertility in 78.4% of cases.” I, for one, believe it.
Next, I appreciated Rami’s attempt to move beyond nutrition and approach these issues holistically. It’s not simply about what you and your child eat, but also about how you live. Do you recieve your food with gratitude? Do you act in love, kindness, and gentleness? Do you respond in faith and hope? What kind of environment are you creating around you? Is it toxic or nourishing? Are you guarding your heart?
The strength of Rami’s spiritualism is his vision for us as whole beings. Body, mind, and spirit all have deep and lasting bonds which can not be easily severed. If such an idea rubs you wrong, simply meditate briefly on your own experience. Surely we’ve all — at some point — made ourselves physically sick with worry, exhaustion, or anger.
Health, in Rami’s book, isn’t just about being free of physical illness. It’s about emotional health, spiritual health. It’s about being more fully human.
Would I recommend this book?
Well, that thoroughly depends on who the reader is. If you find New Age spiritualism offensive and demonic, stay away. If you, like me, simply find it burdensome but are still able to discern the pearls of truth within it, then judge for yourself whether or not the effort is worth the treasure you’ll uncover. And if you, like Ramiel Nagel, embrace a spiritualism that calls forth “deva spirits” and the divine feminine, go buy a copy today!
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