All posts tagged Jo Robinson

Breeding The Medicine Out of “Food as Medicine”

I’m really excited about a book releasing next week titled, Eating on the Wild Side, by Jo Robinson.  Robinson is not a formally trained health professional or PhD but an investigative journalist (BTW…is anyone else noticing that journalists seem to be the new “go-to” source for natural health and food movement expertise?) who’s clearly passionate about the interplay between people, food and the results of what’s happened overtime as we’ve selected plants to meet our cultural preferences.  An excerpt from a New York Times piece she wrote this week:

Each fruit and vegetable in our stores has a unique history of nutrient loss, I’ve discovered, but there are two common themes. Throughout the ages, our farming ancestors have chosen the least bitter plants to grow in their gardens. It is now known that many of the most beneficial phytonutrients have a bitter, sour or astringent taste. Second, early farmers favored plants that were relatively low in fiber and high in sugar, starch and oil. These energy-dense plants were pleasurable to eat and provided the calories needed to fuel a strenuous lifestyle. The more palatable our fruits and vegetables became, however, the less advantageous they were for our health.

And an excerpt from a summary of her book I pulled from

..400 generations of farmers have unwittingly squandered a host of essential fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. New research shows that these losses have made us more vulnerable to our most troubling conditions and diseases–obesity, diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic inflammation, and dementia.

I had the opportunity to sit in on a rather informal chat with Robinson and Dr. Andrew Weil a couple weeks ago and listen as she described her research process behind the book as well as some of the discoveries she found most interesting while compiling information for the text.

In addition to the historical information, which is fascinating and reminds me in many ways of another awesome book, The Botany of Desire, by Michael Pollan, Robinson was full of super practical tips for improving the nutritional content of the food we do have to choose from today.  You can find a list of 12 tips here, but just to give you a taste (pun intended):

  • Tearing Romaine and Iceberg lettuce the day before you eat it quadruples its antioxidant content
  • Storing broccoli wrapped in a plastic bag with tiny pin pricks in it will give you up to 125% more antioxidants than if you had stored the broccoli loosely wrapped or in a tightly sealed bag
  • Thawing frozen berries in the microwave preserves twice as many antioxidants and more vitamin C than thawing them on the counter or inside your refrigerator

Her book is available now for pre-sale and formally releases June 4th.

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Image by Suzies Farm