Saturday, April 23, 2005

Book Review: Hart Smart Living by Hart Oldenburg

I got a new book in the mail today from a man in Canada who claimed to have found the secret to ending the diet rollercoaster and returning to good healthy living. The following is a book review I wrote about this book on In the meantime, I wanted my readers at Livin' La Vida Low-Carb to catch a sneak peek of what I wrote. You might be surprised to find how remarkably close to a low-carb lifestyle this guy promotes! ENJOY!!!

Book Review: Hart Smart Living by Hart Oldenburg

I have to admit I am very skeptical of any book about health these days because you just can't trust most of them to give you good, sound advice about how you should eat and live. And when I received my autographed copy of the book "Hart Smart Living" by a man named Hart Oldenburg, I already had my mind made up that I would cautiously heed any so-called "advice" he would give me about improving my own health.

Well, I can tell you I was pleasantly surprised by what I read. His matter-of-fact style and innocent ignorance of basic writing skills gave the book an authenticity rarely seen in books of this genre. It was a refreshing change of pace I did not expect, but enjoyed for its anarchist-mentality towards the health industry.

As an 80-something year old, German-born, Canadian-living, former traveling salesman turned "reluctant writer," Oldenburg makes no scientific claims in his book and describes himself as a "layman" in this debate about health.

His main concern is with the alleged health "experts" who espouse a vegetarian diet through the food pyramid. Interestingly, he blames the obesity problem in North America on pasta, but he also points the finger at the health food industry which is ironically owned by most of the major food manufacturers as well.

If you read this book, then be prepared for 69 chapters in 166 pages. In fact, Oldenburg wrote his book like it was his very own blog on the Internet with just a few short paragraphs of random ramblings in most of the chapters.

And if the short chapters don't get you, then his profanity-laden writing style most certainly will. I assume this is the way Oldenburg talks, so it probably doesn't even phase him in the least. A self-proclaimed "devout agnostic," Oldenburg does make a few valid health points that I most certainly agree with him about.

Besides being critical of health studies by so-called experts and the food pyramid, Oldenburg also believes North Americans eat too much fast food, drink too many sodas and consume too much white flour and sugar. He says, "Common sense tells me that the recommended overdosing on carbohydrates is the root cause of obesity." I couldn't have said it better myself.

This fellow Capricorn also advocates regular exercise as part of healthy living, especially his favorite game of golf which he devotes several pages to in the book. And he should know being an active senior citizen debunking every health myth ever created by man.

I had to laugh when I read that he includes plenty of his favorite beverage as part of his healthy eating lifestyle: homemade beer! Oldenburg says to "listen to your gut" and you can eat exactly what you need to eat to stay healthy.

The book was borne out of a series of letters to the editor Oldenburg wrote to his local newspaper about his health ideas and his honest desire to let more people know what he thinks about the mixed messages coming from the health industry. He brags about only going to the doctor twice since 1951 and that he never takes vitamins or prescription drugs. Oldenburg says he doesn't worry about getting a physical check-up and believes his body has done very well without the added expenses associated with doctors and the health care industry.

Oldenburg reminds me a lot of American literature icon Henry David Thoreau who advocated a similar back-to-the-country approach to healthy living. However, unlike Thoreau who was an excellent writer as evidenced by his masterpiece "Walden," Oldenberg has to take little breaks from time to time to go putt a few golf balls to get the writing juices flowing again. He also allows the reader to take a break by giving them a sneak peek into his life doing whatever he was doing at the time of writing this book in a series of "Interlude" chapters.

One interesting idea Oldenburg floats out there is for a national holly-week when nothing happens for an entire week in the media, TV, radio, press, movies, sports or churches. Wouldn't that be a refreshing week?!

He even details a few close encounters, criticisms and cheers for some famous people, including Deepak Chopra, Zsa Zsa Gabor and Cher. He doesn't have any kind words for people who take steroids, either. And if you are a glutton, Oldenburg blames you for heart ailments and for committing "the deadly sin" (hey, I thought this guy was an agnostic!).

All in all, Oldenburg, despite his lack of any literary prowess, conveys his message in such a way that makes you love his passion for healthy living. Whether you agree with everything he ascribes to or not, you certainly cannot have anything but respect for a man willing to go against the grain and do it his own way. If he lives to be 100 years old like George Burns, then I am confident he'll still be banging the drum of Hart Smart Living for everyone to follow. I wouldn't expect anything less.

-- Written by Jimmy Moore, April 23, 2005

April 24, 2005 UPDATE: Hart Responds To My Book Review!

The following e-mail from Hart Oldenburg has been "cleaned up" for clarity:

"What a pleasant surprise, Jimmy Moore! Caught me choking on the new USDA food puzzle. (I'm try to designate a new factual word for it!) Don't they know that fat people have to take elevators?

My morale has been high for all of thirteen food related years and your review gives it that extra boost! Thanks.

I owe you an update--my GP and I, we seldom meet--(The one on page 160) He is curious, puzzled about my welfare and food regimen. Anyway, when I presented a small skin irritation he ordered tests, eight this time! The result---boring--- eight times it came back normal. I forgave him, he bought one of my books!

Excuse me, J.M., profanity-laden? I looked it up. Wouldn't 'outspoken' be a better description of my non-style?

I am self taught, two weekly hours of English instruction in the middle of WW II were meaningless, never had a sit-down job, still can't type

Keep in touch----------------Hart---------------

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Blogger Gary said...

re: "he blames the obesity problem in North America on pasta"

I'm in a search to find out who stocks Mueller's reduced carb pastas...I was at Cary's Sam's Club and it's disappeared from their shelves.

4/25/2005 7:09 PM  

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