Deborah Kesten has been working in the field of nutrition as a researcher, educator, and health journalist for over 15 years. Her previous book was Feeding the Body, Nourishing the Soul. The Healing Secrets of Food is an inspiring and edifying work in which she weds the findings of modern nutritional science with ancient food wisdom from the world's religions and cultural traditions such as Chinese food folklore, yogic philosophy, and more. The author challenges us to move beyond the idea of food as fuel and the body as a machine to something she calls "integrative nutrition" — the power of food to heal physically, emotionally, spiritually, and socially.

Kesten delineates the six healing secrets of food as (1) unity with others through food, (2) eating mindfully by paying attention to everything, (3) bringing nonjudgmental awareness to each meal, (4) being grateful for food and its origin — from the heart, (5) "flavoring" food with love in the preparation and eating of it, and (6) opting for fresh, whole foods in their natural state.

All of these habits add up to what Michael Mayer calls "eating from a place of spirit," which Kesten sees as the optimum path of integral nutrition. It also could be seen as an I-Thou relationship with food. The alternative is food as "industrial artifact" (Dr. Hamid Algar) — something consumed in a hurry with a heavy dose of worry. The Healing Secrets of Food ought to be in every household where individuals are consciously seeking to practice everyday spirituality.

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