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Book Report: The Unhealthy Truth

August 4th, 2009

419uolncqeL._SL160_I’ve been reading The Unhealthy Truth: How Our Food Is Making Us Sick – And What We Can Do About It and WOW what a great, but scary book. I already knew a lot of the information from the book because I’m very interested this kind of thing and have been reading up on it for quite a while.

The first 7 chapters are spent detailing the information Robyn found during her research into GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) and artificial chemicals, preservatives, and dyes in manufactured foods and the link between these and allergies, autism and other immune diseases. I won’t recount the information here, read the book for all the gory details. You might be interested to know that the top 12 GMO foods in production the United States are: corn, cotton, potatoes, tomatoes, soybeans, canola, sugar beets, rice, flax, squash/zucchini, papaya and chicory (radicchio). I knew about corn, soy, sugar beets, cotton and canola, but I was surprised by the other crops on the list. Yet another reason to shop locally and grow your own!
The last chapter, however, is a HUGE let-down as she details her “meal-plan” for getting your family on the healthier eating road. I was excited to hear about her great ideas of incorporating fresh organic food into her new diet, but her new diet is just like her previous one, she just switched conventional processed food for organic processed food. I’m sure organic processed food contains fewer chemicals than conventional, but this doesn’t really get to the root of our screwed up country-wide eating disorder. We no longer eat “REAL” food; none of our food looks like it does in it’s natural form and most of it is processed, comes in a box and is shipped thousands of miles. Are organic processed packaged granola bars really a healthier option than an in season peach from a local farm? Her meal plan is also severely lacking in the area of fresh fruits & veggies, not even getting close to the 7-11 servings a day we should be getting.
I also completely disagree with her statement that eating organically and healthfully are more expensive than eating conventional boxed food. Sure if you’re just switching all of your processed food from regular to organic you’re going to pay more for it. But if you buy real fresh food that’s in season it’s actually much much cheaper!
Buying fresh local apples is a better investment nutritionally than buying a bag of chips and you’ll get more servings out of it (not many people sit down and eat 3 apples at once, but many people will sit down and eat 3 servings of chips). A better cheaper option is buying locally grown fruit and veggies in season. A .75 zucchini from the farmers market (or picked in your back yard) that will serve 5 really is much cheaper than that bag of organic baby carrots you buy each week at the grocery store (and much fresher).
I do love that she mentions getting your kids involved in the process of healthier eating, which is very important. Here’s an idea: instead of buying all the expensive organic processed food at the grocery why not load up your kids and head to the farmers market. Let them each pick out one new veggie each week and get them involved in choosing their own healthy food. Not only is this local food much healthier because it’s fresh and local, but it’s much cheaper than grocery store food. You could also try growing a few veggies in pots on your front/back porch. It’s amazing how willing kids are to try something new if they’ve nurtured it from a seedling.
I believe buying good quality local organic produce is an investment in your health and in your future (not to mention it tastes much better as well). It’s also very important for the preservation of our farmland. In the last couple years as we transitioned to local whole foods we actually started spending less on our groceries (and that includes buying $8/gallon raw organic milk). There are a lot of things I would go without in order to eat good quality food, cable, cell phone, the second car, vacations, new clothes, eating out, etc, but I don’t have to because I’m actually spending less on my healthy diet. Some things are more expensive, like dairy & meat, but we eat a little less of them and the savings from buying in season fruits and veggies helps off-set the cost. There’s great peace of mind knowing that you’re feeding yourself in the healthiest way possible, giving yourself and your loved ones the best chance to live a long healthy happy life.
I would highly recommend reading this book, but only if you’re ready to making changes in your diet. If you don’t want to hear about all the chemicals, pesticides, and genetically modified organisms lurking in your processed foods and the health problems they cause, do not read this book. Ignorance is bliss, at least for a while.

Are you taking steps to cut out GMO’s and trying to include more whole real foods in you diet?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.