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Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health Paperback – May 20, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Photos from Jo's Personal Garden

Potato Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 20-45 minutes, depending on method

Chilling time: 24 hours

Yield: 5 cups

Ingredients

2 pounds unpeeled new potatoes or unpleeled baking potatoes, preferably with red, blue, or purple flesh

1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped or julienned

1/2 cup thinly sliced red onions or chopped scallions (including white and green parts)

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, preferably unfiltered

3 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

1–2 garlic cloves, pushed through a garlic press

1/2 teaspoon powdered mustard or 1 teaspoon prepared mustard

1/2 cup pitted and chopped kalamata olives

1/3 cup chopped prosciutto or diced cooked bacon (optional)

Directions

Steam or microwave the potatoes in their skins until they are tender. Cool and store in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Quarter the chilled potatoes, then cut into 1/4-inch slices and place in a large mixing bowl. Do not remove the skins. Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl and pour over the potatoes. Toss to coat evenly. Serve cold or at room temperature.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

For some, locavorism isn’t enough. Farmed food of any sort lacks the full panoply of flavors and textures that wild foods bring to the table. Moreover, wild foods offer some nutritional advantages and may be richer in some vitamins and minerals than their cultivated cousins. Some laboratory studies have concluded that medical benefits, including protection from cancer cells, can be found in vegetables such as brussels sprouts. Despite her impassioned advocacy for eating foods culled from woodlands and creek beds, Robinson is not so doctrinaire as to believe that everyone has the time or the access to such foods. So she offers a guide to buying the best, most flavorful produce in supermarkets. Robinson guides readers through ranks of greens, explaining how to judge lettuces by color and why to select loose spinach rather than the bagged variety. Such guides can benefit grocery shoppers who lack the means of foraging their dinners. --Mark Knoblauch --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; Reprint edition (May 20, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316227935
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316227933
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (508 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I am an investigative journalist who specializes in science and health. In my most recent books, I have mined the scientific literature for information about how we've diminished the nutrient content of our diet, when and why we did it, and how we can recoup the losses by making more informed choices at the supermarket, farmers market, and in seed catalogs. My latest book, Eating on the Wild Side, a New York Times bestseller, explains how to select the most delicious and nutritious varieties of fruits and vegetables currently available. I live on Vashon Island, an island a short ferry ride from Seattle, where I have a demonstration garden showcasing some of the most stellar varieties.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

153 of 158 people found the following review helpful By G. Wilson on June 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I almost didn't buy this book, not being sure if it was a history book or a cookbook or a diet book or what. But since I've appreciated author Jo Robinson's "Eat Wild" website I decided to go ahead. I'm so glad I did.

If you too are wondering what this book is, then I'll tell you what I've found. This is a book about the vegetables and fruits that are available in supermarkets and farmer's markets in the U.S. For each group of vegetables or fruits, there is a history going back to the earliest cultivation and information on the wild origins. Included with this history is also the healthful properties of the wild plant and the changes that have taken place as a result of cultivation. Wild plants are the original nutritional powerhouses and the author tells you how you can get closest to that with the cultivated plants found in the stores, markets or backyard gardens.

There is one review on Amazon that complains about the use of ORAC values throughout this book. The reviewer notes that the USDA has removed its ORAC database, but doesn't explain why ORAC was pulled. The USDA in announcing the removal says that "ORAC values are routinely misused by food and dietary supplement manufacturing companies to promote their products and by consumers to guide their food and dietary supplement choices." Marketers were abusing the system and had found ways to juggle the results to get high ORAC values, such as comparing the score of a gallon 'juice mix' with a half cup of berries. The marketers deliberately obscured the misleading result. But ORAC values can be important. As ORAC researcher Ronald L. Prior, Ph.D.
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149 of 156 people found the following review helpful By Joanna Daneman #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This books is, in my opinion, LOOOOONG overdue. From sweet corn that no longer tastes "corny" to cottony white strawberries and golf-ball tomatoes, what has happened to our produce and what can we do to obtain the best, most nutritious fruits and vegetables. This is a practical book as well as a very interesting read. It's not only a natural history of our most commonly-eaten fruits and veg, it's also a guide to buying and using produce, sources for seeds, and much more.

There is a new lack of diversity in varietals. The author gives the example of apples. We used to live for the apple SEASONS...not season. First early Macs, then Courtlands, Jonathans, Winesaps, etc. Now, go to the store and it's Gala, Fuji, Braeburn and the inevitable Granny Smiths for the most part. And those Grannys to me don't taste right. They are bitter. Many fruits just don't taste the same to me anymore (grapes, strawberries in particular. Corn is weird--sugary sweet, no character. Personally, I miss the yellow corn of my childhood, grown right down the street and picked and rushed to the table.)

The history of the blueberry was particularly interesting; the darkest berries (full of antioxidants) were selected AGAINST when they were cultivated from wild ones, because the horticulturalist thought lighter berries would sell better.

The saddest thing is the loss of nutrients. These foods are vital to your health.

The author goes over how we got various fruits, such as the apricots of Asia, the apples loved by the Salish tribe of America but also gives us suggestion on where and what to buy.
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310 of 356 people found the following review helpful By Dan A. on June 12, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I liked this book and thought the assembly of facts and stories about the common fruits and vegetables we eat to be both informative and at times entertaining. I think the book also does a good job of cataloging some of the effects of industrial food production. Overall, the book was novel enough, interesting enough and surprising enough for me to give it 4 stars, but a few critical flaws make it impossible to use the book for its stated mission as a guide on which fruit / vegetables to eat, and a flaw in methodology (use of the discredited ORAC score) throughout forces me to downgrade to 3 stars. Below are a few questions that I thought the book could have better addressed.

1) Is sheer quantity of phytonutrients really the only thing that determines whether a particular fruit / vegetable is good for you? Wouldn't some phytonutrients or combinations of phytonutrients be better than others? There is limited discussion of this throughout the book. I am not sure this is the author's fault as I am not sure whether the scientific research is there yet, but a frank discussion of the state of understanding here to set the stage would have been helpful.

The ORAC score the author used to compare varities throughout the book has been discredited according to the Wikipedia page. The USDA has stopped publishing ORAC data it seems after the connection between quantity of antioxidants and human health was seriously questioned. Some mention of the controversy around ORAC would have been intellectually honest given its extensive use throughout the book.

2) How do the various fruits / vegetables compare among themselves. Given a 2000 calorie / day budget, how should a person allocate this? Etc. The book has a couple comparisons (eat more berries, etc.
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