An Impulse Buy: Book Review

Posted on June 30, 2009. Filed under: Book Review | Tags: , , , , , , |

First of all, thank’s for the book suggestions! I’ll be sure to go on Amazon later and read all the synopses and add some to my wish list. Meanwhile, right before popping in to Market Basket yesterday(where I didn’t really pick up any new foods to try, just the old trusty essentials), I popped into Barnes & Nobles and bought Eat This Not That: The Supermarket Survival Guide. Usually I take weeks to decide on things I want to buy. But I had just seen the author on Rachael Ray yesterday morning and damn do those television appearances help sell products!

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My first reaction after buying it was “Did I just pay 20 dollars for a book of facts and tips I already know?” I’ve spent many days on the internet and Runners World forums and picked up plenty of knowledge on what should and shouldn’t be in my food. Then I realized there’s no way I could know everything this book has to offer. And even if I did, this is certainly the type of book you want to leave on your coffee table for others to pick up and flip through; I’d go so far to say this should be on any Summer reading list, from the high schooler’s to the moms who feed them.

The book’s set up with several different formats to help you get the lesson. Each chapter has an introduction with general facts, debates, and general history about the topic. Then it moves into tips and tricks for choosing the right things, like what to look for on an ingredient list, or how to pick out certain fruits/vegetables at the grocery store. The authors also include informative tables, such as one that rates and compares meat from chicken breast to duck on protein:fat ratio, and a chart for which fruits are really worth getting organic and which are just added cost for little effect(Let’s just say I’ll be getting my peaches from Whole Foods from now on).

Of course, Eat This Not That also offers side-by-side comparison of products to show you which ones to eat and which ones to avoid. I found this the more tedious and annoying part of the book, since it basically is just applying all the tips and tricks you just read, but for those who only look at the pretty pictures when flipping through a book this can be pretty handy. What I do like is that the book compares identical items; it knows if you buy buttered microwave popcorn, you aren’t going to suddenly switch to airpopped with nothing added, so it shows the safer brand to buy. The authors have a clear point of view throughout the many pages of item comparison: added sugar is the devil and fiber is a gift from the gods. While I somewhat agree with this, the lesson is almost pounded in to a point of absurdity. But, to the authors’ credit, they do more often than not go with all-natural products. They don’t, unfortunately, consider store brands like Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, which often offer cheaper alternatives to the Eat This foods, but all-in-all there’s a lot of good suggestions to throw into your shopping cart next trip to the store.

Would I recommend this? Absolutely. If nothing else, flipping through the comparison pages and realizing you already have most of those products in your pantry will give you a comforting feeling. There’s plenty of lessons to be learned(like HFCS made from organic corn is organic!). And the more people you can push this book onto, the better.

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