The Jungle Effect

So It’s about time I told you about the book I just finished, The Jungle Effect by Daphne Miller. I actually bought this book for my Cultural Perspectives on Food class and only needed five chapters from it for the actual class. However, it is such an interesting read I continued it anyway!

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The Jungle Effect is Dr. Miller’s journey on figuring out why we have cold spots for certain diseases and what makes them that way. A “cold spot” is a place or community where there is an unusually low number of people suffering from a particular disease. For example, in Chaco Canyon, Mexico there is an abnormally low number of people with diabetes, therefore Chaco Canyon would be considered a cold spot for diabetes.

Dr. Miller discovers that most immigrants to the US suffer from the “migration effect” referring to the modern chronic health problems one faces when they abandon an indigenous lifestyle in favor of an industrialized one. In turn, she also terms the “jungle effect” which is the complete opposite. It describes the health benefits associated with going back to a more indigenous way of living. That is what the book is all about: helping us eat more indigenously to regain those lost health benefits.

She visits five different cultures for five different cold spots.

  1. Copper Canyon, Mexico – Diabetes
  2. Crete, Greece – Heart Disease
  3. Iceland – Depression
  4. Cameroon, West Africa – Bowel Trouble
  5. Okinawa, Japan – Breast and Prostate Cancer

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Now I don’t want to tell you all of what she concludes because honestly this book is a quick and entertaining read so why aren’t you reading it? ~.^ But I would like to point out is that this book is filled with so much useful information! There’s charts on which fish are the safest to consume, how to cook various whole grains, and even what spices to use to help you control your blood sugar. The back of the book is filled with cold spot recipes from her travels that look delicious and put all the info you learn about in the book to use. Here’s just a few I’m determined to try:

  • Home cooked beans – Mexico
  • Stelios’s Barley Rusk Rolls – Crete
  • Dakos – Tomatoes and Feta To-Go Sandwich – Crete
  • Lentil Stew with Wild Greens – Crete
  • Bulgur and Onions – Crete
  • Split Pea Soup – Iceland
  • Millet Porridge – Cameroon
  • Okra with a Kick – Cameroon
  • Collard Greens – Cameroon

Kind of funny how I have more of an attract to food from Greece and none to Japan. Works in my favor though since my family has a history of heart disease!

Anyway if you need a quick interesting gift for a foodie this book would be a great one. Seriously, I’d re-gift mine but I’m using those recipes!!

PS – I’ll post my daily eats as soon as I get to Missoula tomorrow!


2 thoughts on “The Jungle Effect

  1. I love the name of the book! It totally caught my attention I’m gonna go out and buy it. Thanks for the review…. Safe travels Robyn 🙂

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