Real Food What to Eat and Why

Nina Planck

Bloomsbury USA

1596913428

9781596913424

Paperback

352 Pages

$17.00

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Nina Planck has been called the "patron saint of farmers' markets" by the Guardian and one of the "great food activists" by Vanity Fair's David Kamp. Real Food is her contribution to the debate about what to eat and why. It is a thoroughly researched rebuttal to dietary fads and a call for the return to old-fashioned foods.

In chapters on produce, dairy, meat, fish, chocolate, and other "real foods," Planck explains how ancient foods like beef and butter have been falsely accused, while industrial foods like corn syrup and soybean oil have created a triple epidemic of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. The New York Times said that Real Food "poses a convincing alternative to the prevailing dietary guidelines, even those treated as gospel," and that as "radical" as Nina's ideas may be, the case she makes for them is "eminently sensible."

REVIEWS

Praise for Real Food

"Science is finally catching up to what our grandmothers knew long ago: that traditional foods, and even fats, are actually good for you—and a whole lot healthier than the creations of food technology. Drawing on the latest research and oldest folk wisdom, Real Food offers a persuasive and invigorating defense of eggs, butter, meat, and even lard (!), as well as a powerful critique of a food industry that aims to replace these standbys with its highly processed, and sometimes deadly, simulacra. Nina Planck has written a valuable and eye-opening book."Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma

"A successful manager of urban green markets, Planck presents a contrarian view of what constitutes sound nutrition. She urges readers to think back to the kinds of diets that their grandmothers ate, regimens full of foods fresh from farms and from individual purveyors: meats, dairy, and seasonal fruits and vegetables. Planck has a lot to offer about the role of fats in a healthy diet. Although most nutritionists worry about people consuming too much fat, Planck distinguishes good fats from bad, noting that many vital nutrients are absorbed into the body only dissolved in fat. She describes the differences between industrial fats that have been chemically saturated and hydrogenated and those fats that occur naturally in vegetables, fish, and meats, especially lauding the benefits of homemade lard. Planck draws a similar line between natural and industrial soy foods. She also encourages people to consume much more seafood, finding the threat of mercury contamination a bit overblown. Above all, Planck links good nutrition to sensible enjoyment of food in all its variety."—Mark Knoblauch, Booklist

"Nina Planck is a good, stylish writer and a dogged researcher who writes directly, forthrightly and with an edge. She isn't afraid to make the occasional wisecrack ('No doubt, for some people, cracking open an egg is one chore too many') while taking unpopular positions. Her chosen field—she is a champion of 'real' (as opposed to industrialized) food—is one in which unpopular positions are easy to find. As Planck reveals, in her compellingly smart Real Food: What to Eat and Why, much of what we have learned about nutrition in the past generation or so is either misinformed or dead wrong, and almost all of the food invented in the last century, and especially since the Second World War, is worse than almost all of the food that we've been eating since we developed agriculture. This means, she says, that butter is better than margarine (so, for that matter, is lard); that whole eggs (especially those laid by hens who scratch around in the dirt) are better than egg whites, and that eggs in general are an integral part of a sound diet; that full-fat milk is preferable to skim, raw preferable to pasteurized, au naturel preferable to homogenized. She goes so far as to maintain—horror of horrors—that chopped liver mixed with real schmaltz and hard-boiled eggs is, in a very real way, a form of health food. Like those who've paved the way before her, she urges us to eat in a natural, old-fashioned way. But unlike many of them, and unlike her sometimes overbearing compatriots in the Slow Food movement, she is far from dogmatic, making her case casually, gently, persuasively. And personally, Planck's philosophy grows directly out of her life history, which included a pair of well-educated parents who decided, when the author was two, to pull up stakes in Buffalo, N.Y., and take up farming in northern Virginia. Planck, therefore, grew up among that odd combination of rural farming intellectuals who not only wanted to raise food for a living but could explain why it made sense. Planck, who is now an author and a creator and manager of farmers' markets, has a message that can be—and is—summed up in straightforward and simple fashion in her first couple of chapters. She then goes on to build her case elaborately, citing both recent and venerable studies, concluding in the end that the only sensible path for eating, the one that maintains and even improves health, the one that maintains stable weight and avoids obesity, happens to be the one that we all crave: not modern food, but traditional food, and not industrial food, but real food."—Mark Bittman, Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Nina Planck

  • Nina Planck grew up in Virginia selling vegetables at farmers' markets and later created the first farmers' markets in London, England. In New York City, she ran the legendary Greenmarkets. Nina also wrote The Farmers' Market Cookbook and hosted a British television series on local food. Her latest company, Real Food, runs markets for traditional foods in American cities.

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