Friday, December 30, 2011

Food Book Binge

The holidays are a time for binging on food.  Well, I've been binging on food books!  It started when my friend brought over a book she had checked out from the library called Real Food by Nina Planck.  I ordered it and her other book, Real Food for Mother's and Babies from Amazon, but since I was still on the 90 day Bible reading plan and we were homeschooling, I didn't have much time for reading.  I read her latter book first and gave you my thoughts on it here.  Over the holiday I've read Real Food by Nina Planck, In Defense of Food and Food Rules by Michael Pollan, and The Dirty Life:  A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love by Kristin Kimball.  I'm currently reading Folks, This Ain't Normal by Joel Salatin and it's been eye-opening.  On my nightstand are Know Your Fats by Mary Enig, The Queen of Fats by Susan Allport, Food Politics by Marion Nestle, The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan, and Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price.  I'm expecting Why We Get Fat:  And what to do about it by Gary Taubes to arrive today (a friend recommended it and Amazon had it backordered).  And guess who received both Barnes and Nobles and Amazon gift cards for Christmas?!  I have a feeling, I'll be adding more food books to my list. 

These books all have something in common.  As a culture, we've become detached from our food.  We no longer know where our food comes from, nor do we care most of the time.  Our food may travel thousands of miles before it reaches our supermarket.  Due to transportation time and shelf-life, more and more processed and packaged foods are filling the aisles at our grocery store and the produce that is there is often times a shadow of what it once was nutritionally.  I highly recommend In Defense of Food and Folks, This Ain't Normal for an introduction to this issue.  Michael Pollan and Nina Planck approach food from the standpoint of journalists hunting down all-too-often disturbing answers to questions about our food.  Michael Pollan, in true detective fashion exposes the root causes of and fallacy in our forfeit of real food in favor of "nutritionism".  Joel Salatin writes from the perspective of a farmer and Christian environmentalist.  I hesitate to even use the term environmentalist, but he's the real deal.  He cares about being good stewards of our environment, and he's willing to back up his talk with action.  He has many wonderful suggestions for making changes in the right direction.  He's so persuasive, we just might end up with a couple of chickens pecking around in our backyard.  Shhh, don't tell our neighbors.   I'm such a city girl and a product of my culture that I think giving up paper towels is going green!!  (By the way, my husband made me start buying them again.  I guess we couldn't live without them.)  Joel Salatin would laugh at such efforts- his solution to our trash problem is to have chickens eat our garbage scraps!  Talk about going green.  Forget the trash compactor, chickens convert food waste into eggs and meat.  Pretty cool.

And The Dirty Life was such a fun and in many ways profound read.  It ranks right up there with Better Off in the category of moving memoirs that challenge you to simplify life by turning back the clock on "progress".  (I bet you didn't know that category existed!  Well, it does for me.)  I can't wait to start The Omnivore's Dilemma, it's next on my list.  But time is getting away from me.  It's time for another 90 day Bible challenge- in TWO DAYS!  I better read fast.

What have you been reading in your spare time over the holiday?

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I'm an on-the-run mom to 6 kids who studied and taught exercise science in a previous life. I love all things running, nutrition, and health-related. I usually run at zero dark thirty in the morning and am often quite hungry before, during, and after my run, but I live a rich, full, blessed life with my children, family, and friends. My faith in God is my anchor, and looking to Him and His promises allows me to live fully even when life circumstances are difficult. While running gives me an appetite, my desire is to hunger and thirst for righteousness more than for physical food.