A Thumbs Up Book Review
Performance Without Pain
By Kathryne Pirtle
New Trends Publishing, 2005
Reviewed by Dan Duell
Kathryne Pirtle’s new book is an eye-opening account of how a high-level classical musician was profoundly harmed by dietary practices most of us consider quite normal, and the remarkable journey by which she found her way back to health. The book sheds new light on the history of food production (and its problems) in our society, helps change the prevalent and mistaken view that our health depends on miracle drugs, medicines, treated foods, drinks, and supplements rather than on natural foods that have sustained humans for millennia, and provides clearly defined, practical ways to approach dietary changes, right down to daily recipes.
As a consciousness-raiser for performing artists–and for anyone engaged in physical activity–the book opens up a vital body of information that could help them retain maximal performance capacity throughout their lives. Ms. Pirtle lets us know in no uncertain terms how much dis-information we accept and live by, and what negative effects can occur from this dis-information.
Ms. Pirtle goes on to educate us about basic nutritional practices that nurture, sustain and protect us, and provides a valuable list of recommended reading. A living example of how this knowledge can provide healing for even the most mysterious ailments, Ms. Pirtle has given the world of performing arts a priceless gift. Her search to discover why she suffered career-threatening physical problems when she was doing all the “right” things led her to the remarkable work of Dr. Weston Price, who researched fourteen populations existing on traditional diets and whose members were also long-lived and largely disease-free. Carried out at a time when such populations still existed, his vitally important work can never again be repeated, as today there are almost no societies, if any at all, whose diets are not tainted by modern food production. Dr. Price’s work served to confirm that the health of the human intestinal tract is not helped, but is in fact compromised, by such things as pasteurized products, fluoridated water, sugar and sugar-derived ingredients added for taste, and a host of other generally accepted dietary ingredients that Ms. Pirtle conscientiously lists in her chapter “Foods to Avoid.” These assertions, which go against conventional wisdom, are revelations for this reader and important for the general population.
Ms. Pirtle also touches effectively on the spiritual side of being a performing artist, or really anyone in today’s stressful society. In her final chapter “The Body in Balance,” she emphasizes the need to keep physique, mind and heart in balance with each other so that all can work as an integrated whole.
As a classical dancer who dealt with the typical injuries and stresses of a demanding performing career, I identify strongly with the need to find the kind of knowledge that Ms. Pirtle’s book affords. It is a marvelous practical dietary tool as well as an effective agent of change.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Winter 2006.