Synopses & Reviews
The next stage in the food revolution — a radical way to select fruits and vegetables and reclaim the flavor and nutrients we've lost.
Eating on the Wild Side is the first book to reveal the nutritional history of our fruits and vegetables. Starting with the wild plants that were central to our original diet, investigative journalist Jo Robinson describes how 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.
In an engaging blend of science and story, Robinson describes how and when we transformed the food in the produce aisles. Wild apples, for example, have from three to 100 times more antioxidants than Galas and Honeycrisps, and are five times more effective in killing cancer cells. Compared with spinach, one of our present-day "superfoods," wild dandelion leaves have eight times more antioxidant activity, two times more calcium, three more times vitamin A, and five times more vitamins K and E.
How do we begin to recoup the losses of essential nutrients? By "eating on the wild side" — choosing present-day fruits and vegetables that come closest to the nutritional bounty of their wild ancestors. Robinson explains that many of these jewels of nutrition are hiding in plain sight in our supermarkets, farmers markets, and U-pick orchards. Eating on the Wild Side provides the world's most extensive list of these superlative varieties. Drawing on her five-year review of recently published studies, Robinson introduces simple, scientifically proven methods of storage and preparation that will preserve and even enhance their health benefits:
- Squeezing fresh garlic in a garlic press and then setting it aside for ten minutes before cooking it will increase your defenses against cancer and cardiovascular disease.
- Baking potatoes, refrigerating them overnight, and then reheating them before serving will keep them from spiking your blood sugar.
- Cooking most berries makes them more nutritious.
- Shredding lettuce the day before you eat it will double its antioxidant activity.
- Store watermelon on the kitchen counter for up to a week and it will develop more lycopene.
- Eat broccoli the day you buy it to preserve its natural sugars and cancer-fighting compounds.
The information in this surprising, important, and meticulously researched book will prove invaluable for omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans alike, and forever change the way we think about food.
"I learned so much from this outstanding book about how to choose, store, and prepare the best varieties of fruits and vegetables available today to compensate for the drastic changes that plant breeding and modern agriculture have wrought on their wild ancestors. Jo Robinson tells you how to shop, cook, and eat to maximize your intake of protective phytonutrients that nature puts in plants. Highly recommended reading for all who are health conscious." Andrew Weil, MD
"What would we do without Jo Robinson? A modern-day Hippocrates, she's written the prescription for good health in her phenomenal new book, Eating on the Wild Side. And this is no bitter medicine: Robinson points to wiser choices we can make not only at the farmers' market but also in the aisles of our supermarkets. The cure for what ails us is right there, and it's delicious." Dan Barber, chef and owner of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns
"Eating on the Wild Side is a wonderful, enlightening book. Jo Robinson has done a magnificent job of bringing together information from so many diverse disciplines — most of it unknown to nutritional scientists, physicians, and lay people alike." Loren Cordain, Ph.D., author of The Paleo Diet
"If the organic movement needs a Joan of Arc I would surely nominate Jo Robinson. Her latest book, Eating on the Wild Side, illustrates why she is without a doubt the quiet anchor of the movement. Only Michael Pollan would come close to her superbly researched work. It's the kind of solid foundation a movement needs to move forward. In this book, she takes us to another level, beyond the common theme of sustainability. As an example, who doesn't believe that 'an apple a day keeps the doctor away.' Jo Robinson teaches us to discern which apple will do that. We learn that the Golden Delicious, our most popular apple, actually has too much sugar and can raise your triglycerides instead of keeping that doctor away. 400 generations have passed since homo sapiens entered the Age of Agriculture and began to alter the wild plants that helped us evolve. This book details what we lost in the process. With Jo Robinson's help we can find the nutrition again." Bill Kurtis, Chairman and Founder, Tallgrass Beef Company
About the Author
Jo Robinson is the author or co-author of 14 books of nonfiction. Her research on pastured animals has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Time, Mother Jones, USA TODAY, Men's Health, the San Francisco Chronicle, Atlantic Monthly, and many other publications. She lives and works on Vashon Island, a rural island close to Seattle, WA.