Eating on the Wild Side

I want to share a fascinating book I read at the end of 1014. It’s called Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson. Jo Robinson is a food activist from Washington who is most famous for her research about raising cattle on pasture instead of in feedlots.

In Eating on the Wild Side, Robinson demonstrates her expertise on produce as she analyzes the antioxidant content of many different fruits and vegetables. She explains how vegetables have changed since they grew in the wild and now have become cultivated by humans. Most of the time, the nutrient content dramatically diminished when man started breeding tastier plants.

For example, the bitterness in wild greens is where their antioxidants and other nutrients live. As Robinson writes, “Our mild-to-a-fault iceberg lettuce, for example, has one-fortieth as many bionutrients as bitter dandelion greens. Calcium is bitter as well, so the calcium content of our modern greens is also relatively low.”

The good news is that Eating on the Wild Side tells us how to pick the most nutritious foods in the supermarket or farmer’s market. While the deepest colors are a good indication of having the most antioxidants, some vegetables, like cauliflower, may fool us. Cauliflower is one of the most nutrient-rich foods in the store with more antioxidants than cabbage and many cancer-fighting compounds. The colorful varieties of cauliflower have even more antioxidants than the white variety we are used to buying.

Robinson also explains the best way to store each type of vegetable and fruit and the best way to prepare them to obtain the most nutrients. The book is divided in to chapters about each type of fruit and vegetable. At the end of each chapter, she tells the best varieties of each type of produce to look for in the market and then summarizes the highlights in the “points to remember” at the end of each chapter.

One key tip I learned from Eating on the Wild Side is how to prepare garlic to get its maximum benefits. The cancer-fighting part of garlic is made when 2 other components, allicin and alliinase, combine together to make allicin. The 2 components only come together when you rupture the barriers between them by slicing, pressing or chewing and it takes 10 minutes for them to combine. So to get the most benefits of garlic, “chop, slice, or mash the garlic and then keep it away from heat the heat for ten minutes.”

If you like to dork out on nutrition facts or want to get the most nutrients from your food, then Eating on the Wild Side is the book for you. Did you know that Welch’s grape juice has more antioxidants than acai juice for a fraction of the cost? If you’ve read this book already, let me know what you think!

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