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Book Review: True Food: 8 Simple Steps to a Healthier You by Annie B. Bond and Melissa Breyer

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True Food is a “how to” book. How to eat healthier. How to shop healthier. How to cook healthier. It takes you through an eight-step process that, if you follow it through, will result in you becoming a healthier person who understands the connection between plate and planet.

Step one is eating local food. By doing this you not only eat healthier because the food is fresher, you help the planet by reducing the environmental impact of food by not trucking it halfway across the country to your table. This step also encourages people to plant their own gardens and preserve their own bounty including root cellars, canning, freezing, drying and blanching. It talks about what’s in season in different parts of America at different times of the year.

Step two is eating a variety of foods. This step helps encourage seed diversity but also includes a broader range of nutrients in our diets. This chapter also discusses genetically modified crops and seed saving. As an added bonus, there are lots of yummy recipes in this chapter including one for sweet potato & pecan salad that I want to try soon.

Step three discusses aiming for organic. It’s not only good for you, but it’s good for the environment as well. This chapter addresses pesticides in foods, natural pest repellents, growth hormones and a variety of other eye-opening topics. Again, there are a number of must try recipes including a Late Summer Chili that I’ll be trying once summer actually arrives here in Vermont.

Step four talks about eating lower on the food chain. It explains good and bad fats and explains how to form a complete protein without eating meat. Recipes include how to make an alternative to dairy cow’s milk (horchata), how to make your own hummus and a tasty sounding Fried Tilapia recipe.

Step five discusses the benefits of eating fresh food versus frozen, canned, etc. Foods that are transformed into food products contain less nutrients and more fats. Their production also causes polution. The chapter also includes a guide to nuts and seeds, how to cook an artichoke and a guide to mushroom varieties. I also enjoyed the guide to salad greens and the guide to squash. This is an extremely informative chapter and I particularly enjoyed the guide to herbs and eating flowers safely. I can’t wait to try the cream of dandelion soup recipe!

Step six introduces the concept of eating whole foods instead of refined foods. Unprocessed foods offer more nutrients and fiber and are much better for the environment. This chapter also includes a guide to purchasing food at the grocery store and shows the dangers of a number of types of foods and what to avoid when you read a products label. It also discusses the dangers of sulfites, nitrates and MSG. The Shoestring Zucchini with Rosemary recipe sounds fantastic!

Step seven discusses stocking your pantry. This is a topic near and dear to my heart and I’m so glad they included it here. It talks about how to have a green pantry and staples you need to make sure you have. A green pantry means not only less processed foods but it also means less trash from packaging. It includes a helpful guide to whole grains and flours and a tasty Green Pantry Granola recipe as well as a guide to dried beans and dried herbs and spices.

Step eight talks about how to green your kitchen and includes topics like toxic household products, hazardous waste, natural air fresheners, energy use in the kitchen, paper versus cloth, natural bug control, kitchen composting and a wide variety of other topics. I loved the guide to the different types of plastics and their dangers.

All in all, this is a fantastic book. It’s not only a reference book but it’s a cookbook. It’s informative, interesting and motivational and something I recommend anyone who spends any time in the kitchen or grocery store reads.

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About Ellen Christian

Ellen is a busy mom of two teenagers who left the corporate world in 2008 to focus on a more eco-friendly life. She lives in rural Vermont where she juggles family, two blogs and a career in social media. You can find her at http://www.confessionsofanover-workedmom.com/ and http://the-socialites-closet.blogspot.com/.