AU$ 47.50

What animals can teach us about rediscovering our nutritional wisdom

Fred Provenza

Animal scientists have long considered domestic livestock to be too dumb to know how to eat right, but the lifetime research of animal behaviourist Fred Provenza and his colleagues has debunked this myth. Their work shows that when given a choice of natural foods, livestock have an astoundingly refined palate, nibbling through the day on as many as fifty kinds of grasses, forbs, and shrubs to meet their nutritional needs with remarkable precision.

In Nourishment Provenza presents his thesis of the wisdom body, a wisdom that links flavour-feedback relationships at a cellular level with biochemically rich foods to meet the body’s nutritional and medicinal needs. Provenza explores the fascinating complexity of these relationships as he raises and answers thought-provoking questions about what we can learn from animals about nutritional wisdom.


Reflections on feeding body and spirit in a world of change

  • What kinds of memories form the basis for how herbivores, and humans, recognise foods?
  • Can a body develop nutritional and medicinal memories in utero and early in life?
  • Do humans still possess the wisdom to select nourishing diets or has that ability been hijacked by nutritional “authorities”?
  • Is taking supplements and enriching and fortifying foods helping us, or is it hurting us?

On a broader scale Provenza explores the relationships among facets of complex, poorly understood, ever-changing ecological, social, and economic systems in light of an unpredictable future.

  • To what degree do we lose contact with life-sustaining energies when the foods we eat come from anywhere but where we live?
  • To what degree do we lose the mythological relationship that links us physically and spiritually with Mother Earth who nurtures our lives?

Provenza’s paradigm-changing exploration of these questions has implications that could vastly improve our health through a simple change in the way we view our relationships with the plants and animals we eat.


“Through Fred Provenza’s eyes, a simple meal becomes a wondrous journey into the world, into our bodies, and into our deepest selves. Nourishment will change the way you eat and the way you think.” – Mark Schatzker, author of Steak and The Dorito Effect

“[Provenza is] a wise observer of the land and the animals [and] becomes transformed to learn the meaning of life.” – Temple Grandin

“Nourishment is a conversation between science, culture, and a greater spiritual or cosmological umbrella.” – Montana Public Radio

Product details

Published 2018
Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback, 416 pages, b&w illustrations throughout.
ISBN: 9781603588027

About the Author

Fred Provenza is professor emeritus of Behavioural Ecology in the Department of Wildland Resources at Utah State University. At Utah State Provenza directed an award-winning research group that pioneered an understanding of how learning influences foraging behaviour and how behaviour links soils and plants with herbivores and humans. Provenza is one of the founders of BEHAVE, an international network of scientists and land managers committed to integrating behavioural principles with local knowledge to enhance environmental, economic, and cultural values of rural and urban communities. He is also the author of Foraging Behavior and the co-author of The Art & Science of Shepherding.

Additional information

Weight 0.55 kg
Dimensions 228.5 × 152.5 × 14 mm

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