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Book review

Happy Healthy Gut


Jennifer Browne advocates listening to our bodies' responses to the foods we eat in her new book Happy Healthy Gut.

Happy Healthy Gut
By Jennifer Browne
Skyhorse Publishing, 272 pages, $24.95
ISBN 978-1-62636-041-9

It’s one thing to read a book by a best-selling author with a proven track record. But it’s another thing altogether to pick up and begin reading the first work of a new writer. I can only compare this to the feeling of climbing into the passenger seat beside a newly licensed driver: we may know the destination, but the ride could prove awkward.

Happy Healthy Gut is Jennifer Browne’s first book, but I’m sure it won’t be her last. This was a surprising read, and a thoroughly enjoyable one. Who knew the human gut could make for such engaging bedside reading material!

What sets this book apart is the author’s personal style. Yes, it’s one of those first-person “let me tell you my story” type of books, but it thankfully stops short of being too cute or egocentric. Rather, her story serves as a reference point for those little-discussed digestive disorders affecting about 20 percent of our North American population.

The book works because Browne has a deep understanding and decade-long association with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and is able to share her accumulated knowledge using a conversational style. With just the right amount of familiarity Browne’s text is neither simplistic, nor overwhelming; it’s current and relevant. Before I knew it, I’d learned so much about how food is used by our bodies and why some ingredients in our diet can cause painful distressing symptoms.

Take a moment to consider this: “Do you really listen to your body, or do you tune it out because you’re just tired of hearing it complain?” This is not my question; it’s one that Browne puts forward, and it’s not as innocuous as it might appear.

The simple act of truly watching for our bodies’ cause and reaction patterns can bring us so much closer to health. We may not like what we see—Browne was a meat and cheese addict who lived with intestinal pain for 10 years. Now she puts forth a strong argument for plant-based nutrition, and it’s one that should be read by even the most resistive among us.

There are other books on this subject, but if you suffer from any digestive discomfort or diagnosis, I say Happy Healthy Gut is the one book you’ll want to read now.

Healthy Happy Gut



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