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Reading Suggestions From the Food and Nutrition World

A wealth of thought-provoking food books have been published just in time for some enlightening summer reading. Topics range from how food is grown and sourced to how it is processed and marketed—and the many choices you have for preparing it to nourish yourself and others. Whether you prefer investigative journalism, science-based writing, experiential accounts or flat-out cookery, there is a book here for you. All of them will open your mind to valuable facts and philosophies you can apply in your own life and share with clients.

VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 (Clarkson Potter 2013). Six years ago, Mark Bittman, New York Times food columnist and author of several best-selling cookbooks, found himself overweight and prediabetic. He faced a medical directive: Adopt a vegan diet or go on medication. As a food writer, he found neither choice appealing, but he developed a plan he could live with. He would eat a diet heavy in veggies, fruits and grains by following a healthy vegan diet all day (no dairy, meat or processed foods). After 6:00 pm, however, he would eat whatever he wanted, albeit in moderation. A sustained 35-pound weight loss later and with consistently good blood panels, he could confidently say the plan worked. Bittman shares the how-to of this lifestyle as well as several easy, delicious recipes.

Farmacology: What Innovative Family Farming Can Teach Us About Health and Healing (HarperCollins 2013). Practicing family physician Daphne Miller, MD, had long suspected that farming and medicine were intimately linked. She became increasingly disillusioned by mainstream medicine’s mechanistic approach to healing and fascinated by the farming revolution that was changing the way people thought about the earth and the food coming from it. Her book tells how she left her practice to travel to seven innovative family farms across the U.S. in a quest to better understand the connections between sustainable agriculture and her patients’ health.

Pandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal (Scribner 2013). Spurred by questions about an individually wrapped slice of processed cheese that seemingly would not age, former New York Times business reporter and mother Melanie Warner began an investigative journey that took her from her own refrigerator to research labs, university food science departments and factories around the U.S. What she discovered provides a rare, eye-opening—and sometimes disturbing—account of what we’re really eating.

Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us (Random House 2013). Pulitzer Prize–winning author Michael Moss shows us how the processed-food industry grew into the powerful, influential $1 trillion-per-year-in-sales behemoth it is today. He takes the reader inside labs where food scientists use cutting-edge technology to calculate the “bliss point” of sugary beverages or enhance the “mouthfeel” of fat by manipulating its chemical structure. He unearths marketing campaigns designed to redirect concerns about the health risks of products. You may never look at a nutrition label the same way again.

Techniques of Healthy Cooking: The Culinary Institute of America, Fourth Edition (Wiley 2013). Originally planned for students at the institute to use in two courses on nutrition and nutritional cooking, this combination textbook-cookbook grew into a 500-page volume that anyone serious about healthy cooking would be excited to have in their culinary—and nutrition information—library. The book is well organized, with clear preparation instructions, eye-popping photos of finished dishes, and nutrition information for all recipes.

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