Rating:

digesting the universe book coverReviewed by Poppy Johnson

Okay, where to start? Digesting the Universe by Nan Lu is immensely helpful, wholly appropriate and capable of opening the reader’s eyes to a life-changing discourse as to how your body really works, what you should be aware of to live longer, and how you are probably eating all the wrong things that will potentially kill you faster. The book is a bit technical so be prepared to get the nitty gritty on all your bodily functions, including the ever popular metabolism and its impact on weight loss, or the lack thereof.

Digesting the Universe is written in eight sections, with a ninth section/appendix that includes author biographies, references, quoted sources and more. The sections review everything from our metabolism and the relationship between organs, to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and the role of the mind and spirit in the metabolic functions. As I mentioned, the book is technical but readers with no prior knowledge of the subject matter will still understand the content. You do, however, need to give this book its full attention–taking notes is helpful too.

To begin with, Lu explains TCM and Qi (we call it “Chee”). He highlights the purpose of developing the discipline and eases the reader into more and more difficult theories as the book progresses. Lu shares that metabolic function manages our bodies every second of the day, in ways we’ve never known before. Next, we learn that our diseases manifest for specific reasons and that we can thwart disease by learning to treat the whole person, not just a disease or condition. Lu also explains that our environment is a major influence on our health, whether we realize it or not.

According to Lu, our earthly reality is made up of various types of energy–all of life is energy. We get naturally good or bad vibes from a person or place because our intuition is tied to knowledge about our bodies and how we impact others and are impacted by others. Understand this–our bodies are not permanent facets of life but rather in a continual state of change. By being aware of how our bodies function, and how organs function best, we can help ourselves be better–eat, sleep work, run, lose weight, etc. better.

Digesting the Universe is simply fascinating. My book has so many tabs in it, so many notes in the margins, so many pieces of paper stuck out with additional notes on it, so many references that I want to look up on the Internet later, that I can hardly pick the book up and I can hardly put the book back down.

For example, apparently our organs work on two hour shifts, “handing things off” to other organs while we sleep and rest. Our Qi, or our energy, helps replicate the work of the organs and yes, stress can jumble these functions to keep us off balance. Lu shares stories of patients he met in his own practice to show how various medical issues can be solved through awareness and without medical intervention.

If you’re ready to understand your body in a completely different way, buy this book. Whether you believe in an all-encompassing spirit running the world or not, you can use this book to understand more about your metabolic function–my eyes are definitely opened. It’s a book that’s a journey, not just a one-time read, and it’s one that belongs on any reference shelf.


After a decade of working in several NYC law departments and teaching, Poppy decided she enjoyed writing full-time. She currently works as a freelance writing consultant, and lives with her husband and sons on the East Coast.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Finn Partners. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.