Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health by Jo Robinson
So the first book of the new year is really one that I started reading in November, but forgot at work when I went on break for the holidays and didn’t pick up again until last week. I was torn between coming in to pick it up and waiting to finish it, but my desire to stay away won out and I waited until I was back at the library to pick it up. Contrary to popular belief, librarians don’t spend all their time reading, so this took me longer to read than it would have otherwise because I was reading it in stolen snatches of time between meeting with students and working on project. I always have a smart go-to read when I’m at the desk for those rare moments when there’s no one around to ask for help with their research. Makes me look busy and studious 🙂
Eating on the Wild Side is one of my first forays into the world of food and nutrition writing. It’s full of information on making the most of your produce purchases by knowing which fruits and vegetables provide the greatest amount of nutrients and antioxidants, as well as how to prepare them to receive the full benefit of their bounty (ha! how’s that for a summary). Robinson also provides plenty of history and information for those wishing to grow their own produce (wish I had the space for that, I really do).
I learned so much while reading this book… seriously, I jotted nearly half a notepad full of notes on how to pick and identify different varieties of fruits and veggies, how to eat them, and how to store them. And I’ve already been applying these lessons while doing groceries and preparing meals. It’s strangely empowering to know what you’re eating. In addition to packing a lot of information into an approachable, readable book, Robinson includes summaries at the end of each chapter to highlight key points for future reference and provides variety charts for the fruits and veggies mentioned in each section (each section is divided by type of fruit or veggie).
Some of the neat factoids I learned:
You should prepare garlic (pressed, sliced, etc.) 15 minutes before cooking it to get the most antioxidant value
Limes should really be yellow when ripe, so choose a heavy one with a yellowish tinge for ripe juiciness
Pineapples, Bananas, and Papapayas don’t have much to offer nutrient-wise, but they’re still delish
Lettuce varieties with wide-open leaf structures (such as Bibb, but especially red varieties) have more antioxidants because they produce more phytonutrients to withstand the sun
Eat colorfully, but don’t forget cauliflower, even the white one is full of the good stuff
and lots more!
If you’re into learning about food and nutrition, this is a great introduction.