One of the things that upsets me the most whenever I’m in a book store is the prominent position of stupid books like Eat This, Not That by David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding. I flipped through it to see what the authors had to say and went through all five stages of grief within a one-minute period:
1. Denial: No. Noooooo. No way are you telling me that I should choose Breyer’s ice cream over Haagen-Daas. Why the hell would I want a lower fat content, added stabilizers and unpronounceable chemicals?! And you’re telling me the reason that the Dairy Queen Banana Split is healthier is because it has a freakin’ banana in it?! What about the high fructose corn syrup poured all over the top?! I can’t believe that people would fall for this!!
2. Anger: O.M.F.G. This book is going to perpetuate the obesity epidemic in this country and isn’t going to help ANYONE. It just validates people’s shitty choices and makes them feel good about ordering a chicken burger with fries and a diet soda instead of the hamburger with fries and regular soda. W.T.F.
3. Bargaining: Maybe if I put sticky notes on the front of every one of these books in every store I see them in, someone will notice. Maybe if I stand in front of the display for hours, I can talk anyone who is interested in the book out of buying it and steer them towards a copy of The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf. Maybe if I complain to the store staff, they’ll do something. Maybe if I go on a hunger strike and alert the local media, someone will pay attention.
4. Depression: Why am I bothering. This country is going to kill itself. Why should it make any difference to me if some housewife gives her kids diabetes, they’re not going to listen to me anyway. Let them all die miserable deaths after living miserable, short lives.
5. Acceptance: At least the 20 bucks they’re spending on this book will be 20 fewer dollars they spend on fast food. At least they will be making marginally better food choices. At least people are starting to actually pay attention to what they put in their mouths. At least they’ll have a fuel source when the zombie apocalypse finally happens and they need something to burn.
Suffice it to say, I do not endorse Eat This, Not That. I think it is a sensational piece of garbage that uses faulty 1980s science (think: low fat is good!) and perpetuates reliance on the industrial food complex. I think if the authors of Eat This, Not That teamed up with the “nutritionists” (ha!) on The Biggest Loser, it would be freakin’ hilarious and a fantastic advertising opportunity for Nestlé.
Enter Jayson and Mira Calton, Stage Left:
I was thrilled to receive my advanced copy of Rich Food, Poor Food: The Ultimate Grocery Purchasing System (GPS) by Jayson and Mira Calton a couple weeks ago. I think this book may be the answer to a looming problem we all have: when faced with a store full of choices, an industry intent on tricking us into choosing quantity over quality and we want real food, what the hell do we eat?
Apparently Jayson and Mira had similar reactions to Eat This, Not That as me. This is a beautifully put-together, wonderfully written book for people who want to eat real food and who are looking for the best options on the market when they do turn to pre-made stuff. It’s Paleo-friendly and wheat-free.
Honestly, I wasn’t expecting to learn anything but as I flipped through the pages, I found tons of information that I hadn’t been aware of. Did you know that you can ferment brown rice and beans to reduce the phytic acid content by up to 96%?! I didn’t, but Mira and Jayson did. Not only do they tell you about it, they actually give you the recipe so that you can do it yourself. It was nice to see that I had instinctively been making some of the best choices I could on my own, and not so nice to find out I had been duped in a couple of instances.
This book is empowering. With it, you can head to the grocery store knowing what products are okay to eat and which ones contain dangerous chemicals and additives. You will also have healthy alternatives that you can make yourself. The Caltons refer to specific brand names that you are likely to see in stores and tell you exactly why some are “rich” and some are “poor.” The book is divided up into Aisles (instead of Chapters) just like a grocery store and it covers most things that you would be likely to eat. After brand names are covered, there are featured recipes so that you can make things yourself and tons of information so that you can always make the right choice when you’re at the store.
In Rich Food, Poor Food Jayson and Mira also uncover industry secrets and tricks that are cleverly designed to fool us into thinking a product is healthy. They give us the skinny on dairy, meat, fish, produce, condiments, grains, baking ingredients, beverages and snacks, as well as the tools to know whether the product is right for us or not — no matter what the label says.
Rich Food, Poor Food doesn’t cover everything; it is designed to teach you how to quickly identify a “rich food” from a “poor food” on your own. This is exactly what most of us need: the power and knowledge to make our own decisions, instead of trainers and meal-plans that don’t actually teach us anything and ultimately end up making us slaves to them for all eternity.
That being said, I couldn’t think of any foods that I would actually eat that this book didn’t cover in some way. Rich Food, Poor Food is perfect for someone like me. I make most things myself — like mayonnaise, sausages and broth — but sometimes I’m too busy or tired to make everything. That’s when I’ll pick up my copy of Rich Food, Poor Food and head to the store.
Rich Food, Poor Food is the indispensible follow-up to Jayson and Mira’s 2012 bestseller Naked Calories. You can find coupons for discounts on “rich foods,” cool products such as grocery bags (with the GPS basics printed on them!) and tons more information by signing up for the Rich Foods Center on Mira and Jayson’s website at www.caltonnutrition.com. The center launches February 26, 2013!