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Real Food: What to Eat and Why Hardcover – June 13, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Nina Planck is a good, stylish writer and a dogged researcher who writes directly, forthrightly and with an edge. She isn't afraid to make the occasional wisecrack ("No doubt, for some people, cracking open an egg is one chore too many") while taking unpopular positions. Her chosen field—she is a champion of "real" (as opposed to industrialized) food—is one in which unpopular positions are easy to find. As Planck reveals, in her compellingly smart Real Food: What to Eat and Why, much of what we have learned about nutrition in the past generation or so is either misinformed or dead wrong, and almost all of the food invented in the last century, and especially since the Second World War, is worse than almost all of the food that we've been eating since we developed agriculture. This means, she says, that butter is better than margarine (so, for that matter, is lard); that whole eggs (especially those laid by hens who scratch around in the dirt) are better than egg whites, and that eggs in general are an integral part of a sound diet; that full-fat milk is preferable to skim, raw preferable to pasteurized, au naturel preferable to homogenized. She goes so far as to maintain—horror of horrors—that chopped liver mixed with real schmaltz and hard-boiled eggs is, in a very real way, a form of health food. Like those who've paved the way before her, she urges us to eat in a natural, old-fashioned way. But unlike many of them, and unlike her sometimes overbearing compatriots in the Slow Food movement, she is far from dogmatic, making her case casually, gently, persuasively. And personally, Planck's philosophy grows directly out of her life history, which included a pair of well-educated parents who decided, when the author was two, to pull up stakes in Buffalo, N.Y., and take up farming in northern Virginia. Planck, therefore, grew up among that odd combination of rural farming intellectuals who not only wanted to raise food for a living but could explain why it made sense. Planck, who is now an author and a creator and manager of farmers' markets, has a message that can be—and is—summed up in straightforward and simple fashion in her first couple of chapters. She then goes on to build her case elaborately, citing both recent and venerable studies, concluding in the end that the only sensible path for eating, the one that maintains and even improves health, the one that maintains stable weight and avoids obesity, happens to be the one that we all crave: not modern food, but traditional food, and not industrial food, but real food. (June)Mark Bittman's latest book is The Best Recipes in the World (Broadway); he is also the author of How to Cook Everything (Wiley).
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
A successful manager of urban green markets, Planck presents a contrarian view of what constitutes sound nutrition. She urges readers to think back to the kinds of diets that their grandmothers ate, regimens full of foods fresh from farms and from individual purveyors: meats, dairy, and seasonal fruits and vegetables. Planck has a lot to offer about the role of fats in a healthy diet. Although most nutritionists worry about people consuming too much fat, Planck distinguishes good fats from bad, noting that many vital nutrients are absorbed into the body only dissolved in fat. She describes the differences between industrial fats that have been chemically saturated and hydrogenated and those fats that occur naturally in vegetables, fish, and meats, especially lauding the benefits of homemade lard. Planck draws a similar line between natural and industrial soy foods. She also encourages people to consume much more seafood, finding the threat of mercury contamination a bit overblown. Above all, Planck links good nutrition to sensible enjoyment of food in all its variety. Mark Knoblauch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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And don't buy into the "industry lobbying" argument. Next to the piddling lobby groups of the meat, dairy, and eggs industries, the fattening, diabetes- and obesity-causing low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet is, in part, a creature of the much larger food industry that process grains, corn, corn syrup, corn starch, transfatty junk and fast food, and so on -- the same grain-based industry has long been the main backer -- for more than sixty years -- of the American Heart Association, which continues to give Americans the disastrous advice to eat more carbohydrates.
The AHA and the USDA's dietary guidelines are ultimately to blame. The food industry merely follows shifting public preferences and "official" guidelines, in turn shaped by the official anti-fat propaganda that started in the 1950s and blossomed in the 1970s, government corn subsidies, together with other myths -- such as the supposed "naturalness" of vegetarianism -- since embedded in such government food programs as food stamps, WIC, and children's lunches.
The association ultimately is a homonymic superstition: dietary fat is not at all the same as body fat and isn't "fattening." It's a three-generation hoax of "official science," which is never science.
Americans are fat and sick because they eat bad food and way too much of it! WHAT ELSE CAN IT BE???
Carbs and sugar are bad foods. Can you find some in what you eat every day? I bet you can! How about bad fats? Yep, they're there too. Olestra anyone? How about some nice Splenda? Yum...
Good foods get a "bad press". Where's the Framingham Study on carbs??
Believe it or not once you start a diet rich in GOOD fats and proteins and fresh clean fruits and vegetables and STOP excessive consumption of carbs your "Cholesterol and Lipids Panel" drops to normal! You start to lose weight! You get to go off that really bad for you statin drug. All those aches and pains and weakness start to go away. What? What blasphemy! Irresponsible! Heretical! Well OK...welcome to nutrition/medical hell...
Here's an interesting book: "The Roman Cookery of Apicius" by John Edwards. It seems people were eating just like Nina Planck thousands of years ago! Most of what we eat today is cheap cr*p made from the cheapest stuff to be found! It's NOT food folks! It's profit. It's cr*p... You are a profit center. You are what you eat. Yum! Feel better now? Of course you don't!
You CAN start right now to eat better and feel better. Real Food by Nina Planck is another good place to start...
Ten Stars **********
Thank you Saint Nina.
Although much of what she says flies in the face of "conventional wisdom", she makes a compelling argument. The book is interesting and well written, although repeated analyzes of various forms of fat can bog the reader down a bit. However, my own feeling after completing the book was a longing to eat more naturally-- something I know is and probably will be impossible for most of this crowded world. I highly recommend the book.