Mod rot. That's how Methodist theologian Thomas Oden pithily described "the aroma of modernity East and West" after visiting the Soviet Union in 1991. The sweeping effort of the past two centuries to nurture a way of life in the soil of Enlightenment rationality was, he concluded, doomed. For him, the signs and scents of vast decay were everywhere.

Right down to the food being eaten? Some 15 years later, Jordan S. Rubin believes so. His New York Times bestseller, The Maker's Diet—taking its place alongside such titles as What Would Jesus Eat?, Faithfully Fit, and Spiritual Secrets to Weight Loss—is both a telling testament of the ways moderns have failed to apprehend the nature of the world and an instructive example of where some are moving in pursuit of another way.

Whereas Oden has spent the past two decades urging spiritually flabby, misguided Christians to recover the theology of the ancient church, Rubin commends to us the diets of pre-industrial peoples. For Rubin, modern science and corporate capitalism have, in codependent fashion, reordered our lives in radical ways, so that from cleaning to healing to working to eating, we live differently. More particularly, our huge dependency on chemicals and our highly sedentary lifestyles are doing us in. He warns that obesity, diabetes, heart attacks, cancer, depression, and other illnesses point to deadly deficits in modern notions of health and wealth, extended average life spans notwithstanding.

Rubin's counter-vision comes from his own health crisis, which he dramatically describes in The Maker's Diet. Struck with Crohn's disease, Rubin lost 75 pounds in two years and was treated by scores of specialists, to no avail. Then he came across a nutritionist who guided ...

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