The Secret Life of Produce: Eating on the Wild Side
Before I chose nutrition as a career path, “eat more vegetables” was perhaps the only nutrition advice I felt was universally applicable. The truth is, most of us could and should eat more vegetables – even the vegetarians among us.
After choosing nutrition professionally and working with hundreds of clients, I have found this advice to be true – almost everyone could benefit from eating more veggies. But my advice really began and ended there. Sure, I’ll talk about eating lots of colors, not killing the produce by overcooking it, and how diversity rules, but other than that, I’ve pretty much left the topic alone. It’s the one thing most of us in the nutrition field can agree on.
And then I read Jo Robinson’s exceptional book Eating on the Wild Side and I learned a level of intricacy and detail of even the most common vegetable. For example, did you know that:
- 3 cloves of garlic have the anti-bacterial power of a dose of penicillin, but ONLY if you prepare it properly. You want to mince, press, or chop the garlic and then let it rest for 10 minutes before cooking it – this massively increases its health benefits. What an easy trick!
- Carrots are actually better for you cooked than raw, with twice the beta carotene. And if you cut them after you cook them, you’ll get even more nutritional benefit!
- Beets are nature’s Viagra. If you want to boost your libido and improve your sex life, eat more beets!
- You can decrease the glycemic load of the common potato by 25% if you cook it, let it cool, refrigerate it overnight, and then eat it the next day. (Margaret’s note: you can also further decrease the glycemic load of said potato by serving it with something acidic like lemon or vinegar.)
These examples are just the tip of the iceberg! I realized how much I didn’t know about my beloved fruits and veggies, and how our choices at the grocery store and in how we prepare a food can affect our nutritional intake significantly.
If you want to easily and affordably boost your family’s nutrient consumption, this book is a must read. Robinson has clearly done extensive research and put it in an easy to digest framework with loads of practical tips for you to apply immediately. It’s also quite the page turner – I couldn’t believe the insights I was getting! Who knew I’d be riveted to a book about produce?
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