Top positive review
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A great guide to removing sugar from your diet (or at least lessening the amount)
on April 8, 2014
This book is filled with well-written and amusing stories of the author and her family surviving and thriving during the Year of No Sugar. But more importantly this book contains the author's detail-driven description of the background, living through the actual Year of No Sugar, and some summary information of life after the year of eating food containing absolutely no added sugar.
When beginning this book I was mildly bored with perhaps too much about the history of the author's Vermont lifestyle and the interactions among the community members. However, once my reading began to flow with the author's writing style, the book became much more entertaining. Of particular interest to me was the number of food-filled events in the life of her family to which I could so easily relate with my family and the raising of our daughter. The candy, the cookies, the cakes, the birthdays, the holidays...all far too descriptive of exactly how things had been in my home.
My family became interested in the No Sugar concept after finding Dr. Robert Lustig's youtube video to which Ms. Schaub so frequently refers. Of further interest is a book by David Gillespie titled Sweet Poison, which Ms. Schaub also uses as a primary reference for her book. There were numerous times I turned to the internet to find more information about these two sources and to search amazon.com for so many cooking ingredients mentioned in this book, more often than not ending with the actual ordering of the product (such as powdered dextrose and glucose syrup). I also have placed a Champion juicer machine in my amazon.com shopping cart for possible purchase; don't suspect for a minute the influence of her father-in-law ended with just her immediate family. <smile>
It's one thing to watch Dr. Lustig's video, but it's another thing to actually apply this No Sugar concept to daily eating and life. As the author mentions, there is almost nothing in our modern-day supermarkets which doesn't contain sugar. I've been watching product labels for several years, trying to control fat and caloric intake, but I've paid literally no attention at all to the sugar content. How could something so obvious have been so completely oblivious to me? I doubt my family and I have the tenacity to maintain absolutely no added sugar/fructose in our diet, but this book provides an excellent outline to at least begin such a regimen.
There are so many funny stories and situations in Year of No Sugar that I would like to reference in this review, but not wanting my review to become a chapter in a book all its own prevents me from mentioning them. Sometimes while reading I found myself laughing out loud, other times I found myself completely engrossed to the point of not even hearing my wife call from the other room (probably asking why I had been laughing so loud only moments ago!).
This book is a delightful look into the dietary life of a rather ordinary American family, although the author calls her family weird both before the Year of No Sugar ("not eating at McDonald's and avoiding soda") and now ("...avoiding juice and crap sugar food (doughnuts, cookies, free lollipops), as well as anything that's sweetened when we know it needn't be..."). The author and her family gave up a lot during the initial months, but she clearly describes the losses as gains in the long run or maintaining health and well being.
In addition to the stories, scenarios, and recommendations for foods and ingredients, this book contains a set of recipes for making such sugar-free foods as hummus, tomato sauce, oil and vinegar salad dressing (same ingredients as expected but an extremely interesting order in which to apply the ingredients), oatmeal bread, mayonnaise, and shortbread (to name a few). There are also several recipes given for desserts such as Dirt Cookies (love that name!), fudge brownies, and the author's special Birthday Bread (you'll understand that name after reading about Martha's House in the author's town).
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and have already begun recommending it to friends and colleagues. If you are at all interested in pursuing further the concepts outlined in Dr. Robert's Lustig's youtube video and David Gillespie's book Sweet Poison, this book will be of great assistance to helping you achieve your goal.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for making this book available for review.