Book Recommendations, Reviews and Author Interviews from

Your Body in Balance: The New Science of Food, Hormones, and Health By Dr. Neal Barnard

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

REVIEWER: Dr. Thomas Johnson, NCSP, CPQ, IP

body in balance
Your Body in Balance: The New Science of Food, Hormones, and Health By Dr. Neal Barnard
Available at Amazon and
ISBN-13: 9781538747445


The author of this well researched and written book, Dr. Neal Barnard is a prolific author, medical research scientist, board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and a fellow of the American College of Cardiology. He is currently a faculty member of the George Washington University School of Medicine and the president of The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. He has also made a major commitment to pressure Medical Schools to stop exploiting animals in their teaching procedures.

In Your Body in Balance Dr. Barnard provides an exceptional wide-ranging body of knowledge and case studies covering the interface of nutritional science, hormones and health. This is reflected in the 13 chapters including the following topics:

  • Foods for Fertility
  • Curing Cramps and Premenstrual Syndrome
  • Tackling Cancer for Women
  • Tackling Cancer for Men
  • Reversing Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
  • Tackling Menopause
  • Curing Erectile Dysfunction and Saving Your Life
  • Conquering Diabetes
  • A Healthy Thyroid
  • Healthy Skin and Hair
  • Foods That Fight Moodiness and Stress
  • A Healthy Diet
  • Avoiding Environmental Chemicals

This exceptional work should appeal to various health care practitioners and health researchers as well as those of us who are looking for evidence-based recommendations to prevent and possibly reverse certain types of cancer, heart related illnesses and any condition that may be hormone and/or food related.

Chapter 12, A Healthy Diet, is particularly valuable as it illustrates how to put the healthiest foods to work- which foods to emphasize and which foods to avoid. The principles apply to virtually everyone. The foods to emphasize include vegetables (all are rich in antioxidants and fiber), fruits (which are also rich in antioxidants and fiber), legumes (beans, peas and lentils-foods that grow in pods), nuts and seeds and grains (e.g., rice, oats, wheat, millet, teff and quinoa). Grains should be eaten with the outer bran coating rather than as refined because the bran coating is where the hormone-taming fiber is.

Chapter 12 also includes a section on foods to avoid. Those include Dairy products “are the leading source of saturated fat, which increases the risk of heart problems and Alzheimer’s disease, and the only real source of lactose, the sugar that breaks down to release galactose…which is implicated in fertility problems and ovarian cancer“ p. 198.

Dr. Barnard goes on to note that dairy proteins appear to be triggers for a variety of conditions including type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, migraines and certain types of cancer (such as breast cancer). Many people reportedly consume dairy for the calcium. Dr. Barnard cites research showing that healthier sources of calcium include beans, greens and various types of plant-based milk including soymilk, rice milk, almond milk and oat milk.

For those who want to eliminate cheese in their diet but who want to have food that tastes like cheese; nutritional yeast is a good plant-based alternative. It reportedly tastes like cheese and is much healthier. It works well on pizza, in sauces, vegetable dishes, scrambled tofu and soups.
In the United States, hormones are frequently used in the production of meat as well as dairy production. For example, 6 different hormones are used in beef production including- testosterone, estradiol, progesterone and 3 synthetic hormones- zeranol, melengestrol acetate, and trenbolone acetate. Dr. Barnard points out “switching to a cleaner diet- avoiding animal products and choosing chemical-free foods as much as possible- will help you reduce the chemical traces in your body” p. 226

Choosing organically grown plant foods can also help to reduce potentially cancer-causing foods. The Environmental Working Group of the U.S. Department of Agriculture publishes a list of fruits and vegetables where choosing organic can make a significant difference in your health.

In addition to the topics listed above Nutritionist Lindsay S. Nixon provides whole food plant-based menus and recipes in a final section of the book.

In summary, Dr. Neal Barnard’s Your Body in Balance is an extremely important reference for health care professionals looking to provide up to date reliable information for their patients—to both prevent illness and, in some cases, to reverse illness. It is also a great reference for individuals looking to provide the healthiest diets to promote health and longevity. I strongly recommend this book for all concerned about health promoting foods.


Thomas B. Johnson completed his graduate studies at Brown University (US Public Health Fellowship in social psychiatry and medical sociology), Harvard University (master’s degree in counseling psychology), UC-Berkeley (doctor’s degree in counseling psychology) and Duke University (doctoral internship in psychological services). He is a licensed psychologist, nationally certified school psychologist and a health psychologist and certified by the National Register of Health Services Psychologists. He has served as an adjunct professor at Bates College, Rutgers and the University of Southern Maine. He was a contributing editor of the NASP Communique for 10 years as their editor responsible for alternative and complimentary approaches to health and learning. He has been providing a full range of psychological services including assessments, consultations, education, psychotherapy, supervision and research.

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