Go Wild - book review

John Ratey is an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and Richard Manning is the author of books such as Against the Grain, so this book comes with a decent set of creds. True to form, it doesn't disappoint.

'Going wild' in this context is taken to mean 'living in an evolutionarily correct way', in line with our DNA. The book explores the benefits in doing so and, conversely, the dangers of not doing so.

Spanning a wide range of topics, from diet through to diseases, movement, sleep, social connections, mindfulness and connecting with nature; this is a wide-ranging text that doesn't pull any punches either.

Want to go wild? Here's how. Don't eat sugar, not in any form. Not apple juice. Don't eat dense packages of carbohydrates, particularly refined flour. No bread, no pasta, no bagels, certainly no cookies. Don't eat trans fats. Period. Do not eat processed food.

They are more lenient on dairy products however, pointing out that about a third of humanity has evolved to digest lactose as adults. Above all it's about variety though: 

The profusion of flavors, colors, and textures that evolution tuned our senses to pursue. Nuts, root vegetables, leafy greens, fruits, fish, wild game, clean, cool water. Range far and wide. Eat well.

They also have some suggestions on how Biofit could 're-wild' the inner city fitness studio such as connecting with external ecosystems, staying away from sterile artificial environments in favor of unpredictable, irregular terrain that stimulates the brain as it has to coordinate the body's physical motions.

Here again we see the deep, unavoidably primal connection in humans to violence, just as we find it in chimpanzees. A quote from E. O. Wilson sums up the awkward predicament:

The human condition is an endemic turmoil rooted in the evolution process that created us. The worst in our nature coexists with the best, and so it will ever be. To scrub it out, if such were possible, would make us less human.

Go Wild. Free your Body and Mind from the Afflictions of Civilization.  By John J. Ratey MD and Richard Manning. 


DietMatt Morley