Difficulty: 3 (Light)
Genre: Health, Nutrition
Main Idea: Covers most all fruits and veggies and how to get the most health benefits out of them.
Recommended For: Anyone interested in Health and Nutrition.
Fresh off the press, Jo Robinson brings us Eating on the Wild Side, and awesomely interesting look at food. This book covers everything you could want to know about fruits and vegetables. How to select and store your produce? Check. The history behind how our modern day produce came to be? Check. Scientific research on pretty much any fruit or veggie you can think of. Check. Here are some key take away points I learned:
Our Crops Are Engineered for Mediocrity
In terms of nutritional value that is. Through tracing the historical origin of each item, Robinson is able to show that wild fruits and veggies are not as tasty, less profitable, and more prone to disease than what we have engineered. Wild produce is becoming more and more rare, and that is a sad thing.
Less Taste, More Nutrition
Bitterness is a tricky taste. On one hand it signals that a food item may be inedible. On the other hand, however, bitterness is a sign of premium health promoting phytonutrients. We hate anything that doesn’t taste like sugar, so once we developed the capabilities, we engineered our crops to produce more sugar and less nutrients.
No Money in Wild Produce
Wild produce is often seedy and small. Crops are constantly being cross bred and tinkered with in order to produce the biggest bounty. The bigger it is, the more they can sell it for. For instance, the original banana had such a thick husk it had to be cut open, and was filled with a tough, seedy, bitter fruit. Today, the banana is the most popular fruit in America, but it’s pretty much the exact opposite of it’s ancestor.
On a Positive Note…
The book is super comprehensive in explaining where and how to shop for the most nutrient rich produce. Also, it breaks down what special nutrients may be lying in that produce and the potential health benefits that they have based on research. It even has some nice recipes. And, at the end of each chapter (which are grouped by food items) is a summary of the key points, and a list of all the most nutritious variations of that specific food. For example, kale is good, but did you know about Red Russian Kale?
Overall, very interesting book. I would recommend that any health conscious person look into it. Knowledge is power, and this reading the information in this book definitely got me more motivated to eat healthy and be healthy. The book is excellent for what it is. I often found myself skimming past the historical parts about where the crops came from, so that I could get into the nutritional info quicker.
“Then, in 1946, the genetics researchers seized upon an even more surefire way to mutate corn seeds blast them with an atomic bomb, an explosive chapter in the saga of ‘king corn’ that has been untold until now.”
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