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Food: What the Heck Should I Eat? by Dr. Mark Hyman

Food: What the Heck Should I Eat? by Dr. Mark Hyman

That’s right--it’s important to eat a wide variety of veggies, especially the odd ones! Forgot those common veggies you see at the market. Instead,

“Eat all the strange, weird, and unpopular veggies instead of the boring, all-too-common ones.”

If you find some strange sea vegetable from Japan, eat it!

Practical note: As a result of reading this book, I will be planting a garden full of zany, healthy vegetables. I’m really looking forward to putting the ideas in this book into action!  (You don’t have to agree with all his points to realize the value of fresh, wholesome vegetables.)

Eating unusual veggies is just one of the fun tips that Dr. Mark Hyman presents in, FOOD: WHAT THE HECK SHOULD I EAT?  The author covers some of the hottest topics in diet research, and explains what we’ve gotten wrong.  

Readers familiar with Dr. Hyman’s work will recognize his passion on overuse of sugar. He notes that many health organizations recommend limiting sugar to 10 percent of the daily calories.  Alas, the typical American child eats 3-times that amount. One good change is to limit sugary fruit juice. So, skip the O.J., and “Eat the orange instead.”

RESEARCH JUST IN:

A study too late for the authors to include: Stanford University/NIH Study of 609 dieters concluded that either a low-fat or a low-carb diet has similar benefit—as long as the food is HEALTHY. The head researcher notes:

“Eat less sugar, less refined flour and as many vegetables as possible. Go for whole foods, whether that is a wheatberry salad or grass-fed beef.” 

Wow—these recommendations sound very similar to Dr. Hyman’s recommendations.

Dr. Hyman notes that eating meat does not really lead to obesity and heart attacks. One reason studies have claimed that, is that people who eat a lot of eat have OTHER bad habits that do indeed cause health problems. To support his point, Dr. Hyman cites one summary of 53 studies, which found that high-fat diets achieved superior weight loss. Also, a comprehensive study “found no link between saturated fat consumption and heart disease.”   Yet another large study found “no difference in mortality between vegetarians, pescatarians, and meat eaters.”

At first, I found the conflicting conclusion about meat bewildering, but in turns out that his dietary recommendations are very similar to the “limit meat” camp.  The doctor recommends big platefuls of colorful vegetables—with only a little meat:

“Vegetables should take center stage, and meat should be the side dish.”
 Not his first choice

Not his first choice

Here’s what surprised me--I discovered I was woefully ignorant about modern fruits and vegetables. Modern fruits and veggies do not have great nutritional content, compared to less refined produce. We have “bred our produce to be sweeter, less colorful, and less nutritious. . . We’ve taken our wild plants— vegetables and fruit— and stripped them of their best qualities.” 

Here is my #1 surprise: A wild crabapple has “100x more cancer- and inflammation-fighting anthocyanins than the Golden Delicious variety found in supermarkets.”  What? How did I not know that?  Ditto for berries:

“Wild blueberries have dozens of times more phytonutrients than domesticated berries.”

Okay, I totally confess I had no idea about the nutrition of more wild produce compared to modern produce.  I am VERY surprised. 

So all in all, I found FOOD to be a helpful book, with tons of great ideas. I realize that I am chugging down way too much sugar (I love ice cream and pies!) I found the chapters on veggies and fruit the most helpful, as I just didn’t realize how modern fruits and vegetables have so much less nutrition than less refined varieties.  Excellent information!

Finally, realize that there is a LOT of material in this book, and it can be a little overwhelming.  Fortunately, the doctor writes well, and I found his points easy to follow. After presenting each topic, Dr. Hyman summarizes, ”What The Experts Got Right, ”What They Got Wrong,” and “What We Still Don’t Know For Sure.” I liked his succinct summary of the issues, and especially appreciate the author telling us where the science is not really settled.
 

 Grow your own!

Grow your own!

Food: What the Heck Should I Eat? by Dr. Mark Hyman

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