Author: Dr Penny Stanway | Self-published
I received three Natural Apothecary books via Netgalley: Baking Soda, Lemons, and Apple Cider Vinegar. I was quite excited about them, as I can always use some new tips for household cleaners and making my own products – particularly while I’m knee deep in this zero-waste challenge.
All three books were heavy on the science upfront, which I assume was designed to give them an air of credibility. While I don’t know enough about said science to authoritatively dispute the claims made in these books (more booklets, they were quite short), anytime someone starts claiming that common household products can cure all society’s ills I start to get suspicious. I mean, who am I to say that baking soda doesn’t help with gout and lemons aren’t a good cancer treatment? Maybe they’ve simply been overlooked all these years… But I’m sceptical. I’m not saying they don’t all have real benefits as part of a balanced diet… Lemons, obviously high in vitamin C – we all know that. But I found some of the health claims to be a tad unrealistic, even outlandish.
For that reason, I decided to go and look up the author. Dr Penny Stanway is apparently a GP and nutritional expert. While that does make me more inclined to trust her, I would still take any books which make these kinds of claims with a pinch of salt (my own nutritional advice).
In my researches, I also discovered that these books had been published about 8 years ago under a slightly different name and that Dr Penny had published another book called Breast is Best. One presumes this is not a slightly off colour romance… Either way, considering what I know about the breast feeding debate, it didn’t make me feel reassured.
Baking Soda wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. All three books contained some fabulous recipes for household cleaning and beauty products, but Baking Soda went a step further and recommended what the author called “an alkaline diet”. I found the idea of eating baking soda a little repugnant. There was also a somewhat uninspiring list of “alkaline” foods, which we should supposedly all be eating more. It also wasn’t exactly a shocker. Obviously, herb tea and tofu are better for you on a regular basis than steak and chips… I’m just not sure the reason for that is because of their PH level….
All in all, while I liked the recipes for different cleaning and beauty products, I can’t say I was convinced by some of the health claims. I think that making those sorts of claims is irresponsible, at best, and I won’t be recommending The Natural Apothecary books. Sorry, Dr Penny, not for this crunchy…