Posts Tagged ‘reads’

I saw this book at the library and read it in under a week – that’s a good sign ๐Ÿ™‚

“Chew on This” tells the history of the fast food industry & how it drove the rise of factory farming & food processing. The book brings up things that make so much sense once you think about it, but you would never think about in your daily life (like how factory farming is a very very recent trend in agriculture’s history, so it’s ridiculous to refer to it as ‘traditional farming’ and make organic methods seem out-of-the-ordinary).

Some key points:

  • It gives the laundry list of ingredients in a strawberry milkshake at McDonalds, along with the page-long list of chemicals included in “artificial strawberry flavor” – WOW! Someone actually gets paid money to tweak chemicals & make them taste like strawberries?!?
  • French fries used to be cooked in beef fat, and had beef flavoring added to them to make them taste better, but restaurants still marketed them towards vegetarians… why isn’t this illegal?
  • Theย obscene profit made off of sodas at fast food restaurants – “A medium Coke that sells for $1.29 contains about nine cents’ worth of syrup. Buying a large Coke for $1.49 instead, as the worker behind the counter always suggests, will add another three cents’ worth of syrup – and another seventeen cents in pure profit.” No wonder they always ask me if I want to biggie size my drinks… for sugar and water, wow.

The book also talks a lot about how the fast food industry markets to children & schools, which is just heartbreaking. I also learned that children develop their taste buds really early on, including in the womb, so that old excuse “my kid will only eat soda & chicken nuggets” is ridiculous. You do realize that children existed before soda & fast food

This was a fun read & I’d recommend it to anyone who wanted to open their eyes about the fast food industry. I’d also recommend it to parents, teachers, and anyone working in the school system.


Read Full Post »

At the recommendation of Caitlin‘s blog, I decided to rent “Skinny Bitch” from the library. I’d seen this book before in the airport and it always looked like a fun, quick read, but there was always something else on my list. Well, I’m so glad I finally got to this one.

This book solidified my decision to become vegetarian. After reading the horror stories about factory farming and the impact of animal products on our health, I now think twice about eating anything from an animal, even dairy & eggs. The book emphasizes a vegan diet, along with the negatives of alcohol, caffeine, refined sugars, and other junk foods.

Some notes I took while reading (in case you don’t want to take the time to read it yourself):

  • Sulfites used in wine act as a preservative and wreak havoc on your insides, so aim for an organic, no-sulfites-added wine (I tried Frey Vineyards Cabernet, drank the entire bottle in one night, and had no hangover the next day… that’s proof enough for me!)
  • Caffeine is a drug – I like the recommendation to go for fresh squeezed juice for an energy boost – it feels much more natural & more like a treat ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve been caffeine-free for a while now and I sleep much better. I still drink green tea at work, and love chamomile tea too ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Replace white sugars and artificial sweeteners (read: toxic crap)ย with natural sweeteners such as stevia or agave nectar – I made this switch in our house and it was easy as pie ๐Ÿ™‚ I was worried about the extra cost, but we found Target-brand stevia sweetener and love it! I haven’t tried agave nectar yet, but we use local honey from the farmer’s market instead of syrup because it just tastes soooooo much better ๐Ÿ˜‰
  • Dairy has 5x more pesticides than plant foods – think about it, the cow eats the pesticide-sprayed grass and then you drink the milk?!? It was super easy in California to find organic dairy products, and most of all the milk & cheese was from cows not treated with rBST, but it’s tougher in Florida. This is my personal push, the fiancee likes “whatever’s the cheapest” so I’m always working on getting the organic stuff into the house (like Stonyfield Farms yogurt, mmm).
  • Every time you consume factory-farmed meat, eggs or dairy, you are eating antibiotics, pesticides, steroids, and hormones. Nuff said.
  • For cow’s milk replacement, try rice milk – I did, and I loooove it ๐Ÿ™‚ I get the Rice Dream Original Enriched and could drink it right out of the carton!

I got a lot of good product tips from this book, and common sense reminders (to keep snacks in my desk/purse/car) that every girl needs every now and then. This was an awesome book, even with the sex-and-the-city-type language (which just makes it a quick read).

Warning – you have to be ready for this book. A few years ago I wanted to be vegetarian in college, and couldn’t make it through a few days without chili cheese fries. I believe everyone has a point in their life when they’re ready to learn certain things, and I just wasn’t ready back then. But at this point in my life, when I’m out of college, focusing on healthy living & getting my body in ship-shape for future baby-making… the timing was just right, and this was just the kick I needed in the direction towards a healthy lifestyle.

Second Warning: some of the animal cruelty stories may make you cry, and it’s hard to read those pages, but if you do, you’ll never look at an egg or a piece of meat the same way.

In the end, this was a great book and I’d recommend it to anyone looking for information of vegan & vegetarian eating.

Read Full Post »