Timothy Caulfield has some impressive credentials, as he is a professor in the Faculty of Law as well as the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta. He doesn’t come across as a stiff academic in his writing however, he is humourous, sarcastic and insightful. His book, The Cure for Everything! Untangling the Twisted Messages about Health, Fitness and Happiness, is an interesting expose on the health profession. By immersing himself in the world of public health as portrayed in the media, Caulfield brings authenticity to the research he discusses.
He researches four main aspects of health as it is portrayed to the public: Fitness, Diet, Genetics and Remedies. In each section he looks at recent studies, talks to experts, and conducts his own ‘experiments’. His conclusions won’t sit well with some, and he is very cut and dry about the way he sees so many health proponents leading us down the wrong path. However, he has a lot of good, solid evidence to back up his claims, and he did a lot of leg work to get it. I respect that.
This book won’t be for everyone. He is sarcastic and some of his views may be offensive to some people. I found him refreshing, and the book was everything I look for in a non-fiction read – interesting, thought-provoking and entertaining. The sections on diet and fitness were the most enlightening, with some messages about health and exercise that made me take notice. In the end he takes aim at the health industry, pointing out the many ways they deliver mixed messages and sometimes simply wrong messages.
In the end he nicely boils down the message in a final chapter, addressing what he calls ‘the magic’. What will really get us fit and keep us healthy? The answer, as he puts it, is both easy and not.
“The steps are not easy – real effort is required – but they are straightforward. It isn’t complicated.”
This was a quick, fun and interesting read. It’s not heavy reading, although there is a lot of material referenced (he provides a source list at the back of the book). I found myself reading bits of it aloud to others – always a sign that I’m enjoying the book.