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Real Food: What to Eat and Why

by Nina Planck (Author)



Editorial Reviews

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).

From Booklist
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.

Product Details

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA (June 12, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1596913428

 

 

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