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One of Bustle's "17 Best Nonfiction Books Coming Out In June 2018" • One of The Revelator's "16 New Environmental Books for June" • One of Equinox's "5 Books High Performers Should Read in June" • One of Foodtank's "18 Books Making a Splash This Summer" • One of CivilEats' "22 Noteworthy Food and Farming Books for Summer Reading—and Beyond" From the voice of a new generati One of Bustle's "17 Best Nonfiction Books Coming Out In June 2018" • One of The Revelator's "16 New Environmental Books for June" • One of Equinox's "5 Books High Performers Should Read in June" • One of Foodtank's "18 Books Making a Splash This Summer" • One of CivilEats' "22 Noteworthy Food and Farming Books for Summer Reading—and Beyond" From the voice of a new generation of food activists, a passionate and deeply-researched call for a new food movement. If you think buying organic from Whole Foods is protecting you, you're wrong. Our food—even what we're told is good for us—has changed for the worse in the past 100 years, its nutritional content deteriorating due to industrial farming and its composition altered due to the addition of thousands of chemicals from pesticides to packaging. We simply no longer know what we’re eating. In Formerly Known as Food, Kristin Lawless argues that, because of the degradation of our diet, our bodies are literally changing from the inside out. The billion-dollar food industry is reshaping our food preferences, altering our brains, changing the composition of our microbiota, and even affecting the expression of our genes. Lawless chronicles how this is happening and what it means for our bodies, health, and survival. An independent journalist and nutrition expert, Lawless is emerging as the voice of a new generation of food thinkers. After years of "eat this, not that" advice from doctors, journalists, and food faddists, she offers something completely different. Lawless presents a comprehensive explanation of the problem—going beyond nutrition to issues of food choice, class, race, and gender—and provides a sound and simple philosophy of eating, which she calls the "Whole Egg Theory." Destined to set the debate over food politics for the next decade, Formerly Known as Food speaks to a new generation looking for a different conversation about the food on our plates.


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One of Bustle's "17 Best Nonfiction Books Coming Out In June 2018" • One of The Revelator's "16 New Environmental Books for June" • One of Equinox's "5 Books High Performers Should Read in June" • One of Foodtank's "18 Books Making a Splash This Summer" • One of CivilEats' "22 Noteworthy Food and Farming Books for Summer Reading—and Beyond" From the voice of a new generati One of Bustle's "17 Best Nonfiction Books Coming Out In June 2018" • One of The Revelator's "16 New Environmental Books for June" • One of Equinox's "5 Books High Performers Should Read in June" • One of Foodtank's "18 Books Making a Splash This Summer" • One of CivilEats' "22 Noteworthy Food and Farming Books for Summer Reading—and Beyond" From the voice of a new generation of food activists, a passionate and deeply-researched call for a new food movement. If you think buying organic from Whole Foods is protecting you, you're wrong. Our food—even what we're told is good for us—has changed for the worse in the past 100 years, its nutritional content deteriorating due to industrial farming and its composition altered due to the addition of thousands of chemicals from pesticides to packaging. We simply no longer know what we’re eating. In Formerly Known as Food, Kristin Lawless argues that, because of the degradation of our diet, our bodies are literally changing from the inside out. The billion-dollar food industry is reshaping our food preferences, altering our brains, changing the composition of our microbiota, and even affecting the expression of our genes. Lawless chronicles how this is happening and what it means for our bodies, health, and survival. An independent journalist and nutrition expert, Lawless is emerging as the voice of a new generation of food thinkers. After years of "eat this, not that" advice from doctors, journalists, and food faddists, she offers something completely different. Lawless presents a comprehensive explanation of the problem—going beyond nutrition to issues of food choice, class, race, and gender—and provides a sound and simple philosophy of eating, which she calls the "Whole Egg Theory." Destined to set the debate over food politics for the next decade, Formerly Known as Food speaks to a new generation looking for a different conversation about the food on our plates.

30 review for Formerly Known as Food: How the Industrial Food System Is Changing Our Minds, Bodies, and Culture

  1. 5 out of 5

    Clif Hostetler

    There are many things in this book with which most people can agree—e.g. eat whole unprocessed foods and breast feeding is best for baby. Toward the end of the book the author promotes cultural changes that would allow busy people and economically disadvantaged people to eat healthy diets—e.g. universal basic income and pay people to cook. These latter changes are a bit "pie-in-the-sky" dreams, but there are rational arguments as to why they would be beneficial to the economy and everyone's heal There are many things in this book with which most people can agree—e.g. eat whole unprocessed foods and breast feeding is best for baby. Toward the end of the book the author promotes cultural changes that would allow busy people and economically disadvantaged people to eat healthy diets—e.g. universal basic income and pay people to cook. These latter changes are a bit "pie-in-the-sky" dreams, but there are rational arguments as to why they would be beneficial to the economy and everyone's health. But when the book came to the discussion of the microbiota and endocrine disruptions, things became really scary. I decided to use quotations from the book rather than using my own words to describe what the book says. I don't believe all the suggestions of cause and effect are necessarily true. I do hope the scientists working in the fields of nutrition, toxicology, food safety, disease, and human health are studying these issues. ... A woman of child-bearing age who was born by C-section, fed formula, or received antibiotics at any point in her life—or if this is true of her mother or grandmother—does not have the important bacterial species B. infantis.... if any one of those scenarios applies to you, your mother, or your grandmother ... you no longer harbor B. infantis in your body and are therefore unable to pass it on to your children. ... The demise of the bacterium coincides most eerily with the perplexing increase in all of these diseases of autoimmune origin, like atopic dermatitis, food allergies, environmental allergies, colic, asthma ... ... ... Indeed, atopic dermatitis in babies born between 1960 and 2000 has risen fivefold, and type 1 diabetes incidence in children has also increased fivefold. (p99) ... 97 percent of American babies do not have B. infantis in their gut. On the other hand, the majority of infants in less-industrialized countries have a gut dominated by Bifidobacteria. (p101) The author goes on to stress that the lack of these microorganisms can have effects later in adult life. ... down the line the implications are profound for preventing chronic diseases like cancer, especially those in the gastrointestinal tract. Bear in mind that the United States has seen an alarming rise in the incidence of colon and rectal cancers in people in their twenties and thirties, something previously unheard of.The book then explores the surprising ways emulsifiers act on our microbiota. Emulsifiers are found in almost all processed foods and show up on labels as xanthan gum, carrageenan, polysorbate 80, guar gum, and soy lecithin.The emulsifiers that we have tested are disrupting the composition of the gut microbiota, they're changing the species of bacteria, and they are doing it in a way that promotes inflammation ... (p122) Then the narrative moves on to artificial sweeteners. In the following excerpt a connection between ingestion of sweeteners and glucose intolerance is noted. Glucose intolerance is a key marker in diagnosing diabetes.The researchers also did a small-scale study in humans and for one week gave artificial sweeteners in amounts allowed by the FSA to people who had never previously consumed artificial sweeteners. The researchers found that amount was enough to alter the subjects' gut bacteria and induce glucose intolerance in more than half the participants. (p127) The book's narrative groups all these together forming the following conclusion. And as we piece this puzzle together, antibiotics, emulsifiers, artificial sweeteners, and our highly processed diets, which are missing vital components, are likely resulting in the elimination of all but the most hearty, aggressive strains of bacteria, which are potentially encroaching on the intestinal mucosal lining, causing inflammation and eventual disease. (p129)Then the book moves on to a really scary subject, endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). They are scary because they are biologically active in extremely small doses. One famous example is BPA of which 99 percent of Americans have detectable levels in their blood. The FDA has required that BPA not be used the manufacture of baby bottles, so the plastic industry has substituted BPS, a compound that this book says is similar to BPA. Now levels of BPS in the blood are on the rise. ...female rodents exposed to BPA in the womb exhibit risk factors for breast cancer and as they age are developing full-blown carcinomas in the mammary gland. (p148) ... low-dose fetal exposure in mice led to an increase in body weight, liver weight, and abdominal fat mass when those mice became adult males. (148)Some other examples of endocrine-disrupting chemicals are TBT and other organotins which are used in the lining and sealing of food cans.... organotins change how the body responds to calories. ... ... animals that we treat with these chemicals don't eat a different diet than the ones who don't get fat. They eat the same diet ... They're eating normal food, and they're getting fatter ...(p151) The book goes on to explain that tests on rats have shown this effect can be passed on to subsequent multiple generations. If the human body response is similar, the following are the results.Your maternal grandmother was exposed to TBT while your mother was in the womb. While your mother was developing as a fetus, you were developing as germ cells within her ovary. This means that not only was your mother exposed to the chemical, but you were exposed to it as a germ cell. What's even more alarming is that your future children (the fourth generation) are also affected, even though your children had no direct exposure to the chemical. (p153) I'm sure there are many people willing to conclude that the obesity epidemic has nothing to do with overeating. It's all those chemicals. I'd like to repeat here that I don't believe everything suggested by the above quotations. But it sure makes for some interesting reading.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bam cooks the books ;-)

    Kristin Lawless believes in the importance of whole organic foods, breast feeding, etc., but says it is not enough. She will scare you to death with her descriptions of what is getting into our food supply and what it is doing to our bodies. And all this has come about in the last 75-100 years--for the sake of speed, efficiency, convenience and profit. "What about public health, nourishment, stewardship of the land and water, the preservation of Earth and all its species, and the protection of t Kristin Lawless believes in the importance of whole organic foods, breast feeding, etc., but says it is not enough. She will scare you to death with her descriptions of what is getting into our food supply and what it is doing to our bodies. And all this has come about in the last 75-100 years--for the sake of speed, efficiency, convenience and profit. "What about public health, nourishment, stewardship of the land and water, the preservation of Earth and all its species, and the protection of the young and their future?" There is much information here and it is not always easy to read. Alarming to say the least. But perhaps it is time that all of us really understand what we are feeding ourselves and our families and what it may be doing to our health. Lawless concludes her book with 'a radical food manifesto' listing what she'd personally like to see happen but only if we come together and demand change: --the end to poor-quality industrial foods, primarily pushed on low-income people; --that food processors stop marketing infant formula to parents; --warning labels on processed food packaging stating these foods may be harmful to your health; --third party testing of chemicals used in and on our food supply; --affordable access to chemical-free and whole foods for all; --nutrition and cooking classes in our schools; --a universal basic income; --a wage given for cooking and household work; --a six-month paid parental leave to encourage breast feeding. Read this book and perhaps be inspired to join her challenge for better food, as well as a better world, for all. I received an arc of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange foe my honest opinion. I am grateful for the opportunity.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mara

    This book is a gut punch that is not easily digested (see what I did there?), in which the author basically takes everything that you've always kind of known about processed food and shoves it in your face until you can't look away or unsee what you see. Basically a manifesto, Lawless mercilessly deconstructs the industrialized food complex of America. Heavy on diagnosis, light on a scalable prescription, I'd recommend this to anyone to read. It may not have a lot of solutions on offer, but you This book is a gut punch that is not easily digested (see what I did there?), in which the author basically takes everything that you've always kind of known about processed food and shoves it in your face until you can't look away or unsee what you see. Basically a manifesto, Lawless mercilessly deconstructs the industrialized food complex of America. Heavy on diagnosis, light on a scalable prescription, I'd recommend this to anyone to read. It may not have a lot of solutions on offer, but you can't solve a problem that you don't acknowledge. This book details that problem in excruciating (but in a good way-- the brutality of this book is kind of a masterpiece) detail

  4. 4 out of 5

    Christina Dudley

    (from my Bellevue Farmers Market blog post, minus the pics) THE PRICE OF DOMESTICATION We were dogsitting this past week, and, whenever it came time to feed the critters, I would find myself philosophizing about the price of domestication: in exchange for a steady food supply, wolves/dogs gave up their freedoms. On the plus side, they wouldn't starve. On the minus side, every day they must eat the same bowl of kibbles. The kibbles have been pumped up with pleasing synthetic flavors and a smidge of (from my Bellevue Farmers Market blog post, minus the pics) THE PRICE OF DOMESTICATION We were dogsitting this past week, and, whenever it came time to feed the critters, I would find myself philosophizing about the price of domestication: in exchange for a steady food supply, wolves/dogs gave up their freedoms. On the plus side, they wouldn't starve. On the minus side, every day they must eat the same bowl of kibbles. The kibbles have been pumped up with pleasing synthetic flavors and a smidge of actual meat by-product, but it's still a little bowl of kibbles, twice a day, day in and day out, getting more and more stale the longer the bag sits out. It's a dog's life. But I was also reading Kristin Lawless' Formerly Known as Food: How the Industrial Food System is Changing Our Minds, Bodies, and Culture and discovering some uncomfortable parallels. 34964836.jpg Like dogs being domesticated, we've made a deal of questionable benefits. In exchange for convenient, always-available food, we've handed over our ability to choose what we eat. Yes, some of us can afford to be choosier in our groceries, but it's gotten harder and harder to avoid that darned bowl of kibbles. The corn, soy, canola, synthetic flavors, emulsifiers, sweeteners, preservatives, pesticide residues, packaging plastics, oxidized fats, antibiotics, and so on, are everywhere. Buy organic all you like. You cannot escape. The book makes for some grim reading. There are the usual alarming facts about rising obesity, metabolic syndrome, and allergies, which we've almost become inured to, but what was newer to me was the discussion of cumulative effects of pesticide and chemical build-ups in fields, foods, and oceans, as well as permanent changes to our microbiota caused by diet-induced extinction. Did you know that DDT, banned way back in 1979, is still found in the umbilical cord blood of newborn infants? Discouraging, to say the least. Or that TBT, an organic pollutant used in paints and coatings for boats back in the 1960s (and since banned), has nevertheless so leached into our waters and been biomagnified up the food chain, that we're eating it today. So what, you say? Well, TBT is an "obesogen," causing animals in studies to "have more and bigger fat cells...They're eating normal food, and they're getting fatter." As an added bonus, TBT-induced weight gain can be passed down generationally. Fine, fine, you concede. There's nothing to be done about the DDT, but I just won't eat seafood. Oh, but TBT is just one kind of "organotin" we are exposed to. There are others, used in the linings and sealings of food cans, in polyvinylchloride (PVC) plastics, as fungicides and pesticides on crops, as slimicides in industrial water systems, and as wood preservatives. Like many other classes of chemicals, organotins were wrongly deemed environmentally safe for many years -- and they appear to be everywhere in our environment. And remember the BPA fuss? Because it messed with our hormones, public uproar got it removed from baby bottles and water bottles and such. Sad to say, the plastic compounds used as replacements still have endocrine-disrupting characteristics. Plastic in food and drink packaging is unavoidable nowadays. Buy organic all you like, and 90% of the time, it's still being delivered to you in plastic. Lawless makes a very compelling argument for breastfeeding but recognizes that women who have to work outside the home and who don't have the most understanding schedules or workplaces for pumping breast milk face impossible situations. In fact, Lawless points out relentlessly how economic and social class constrain food choice, from gestation onward. Some of us can't simply "choose" to breastfeed and buy organic and home-cook our meals: When food movement leaders say the solutions are to eat whole foods and buy organic, they leave out the crucial fact that we need to collectively reject the production of poor-quality processed foods and stop the production of dangerous pesticides and other environmental chemicals that contaminate many foods. Critics do not often articulate this omission, but it is largely why the movement is perceived as elitist, and rightly so. If the food movement's solutions are market based and predicated on spending more for safer and healthier food, they ignore how impossible these solutions are for most Americans...The food movement has allowed these [crappy, processed] products and additives to exist alongside a cleaner and safer food supply for the privileged few. Food movement leaders also emphasize the importance of home cooking and cooking whole foods from scratch. Yet many fail to mention that the majority of Americans do not have the time, money, or resources to cook meals from whole foods at home. And when these leaders do acknowledge that lack of time to cook is a problem, they usually address it through providing better ways to cook healthy foods quickly. I plead guilty to all of these charges. What solutions does Lawless suggest, if you haven't already succumbed to despair? I admit, I was paralyzed by her solutions. She called for some fairly reasonable measures, like longer paid leave for new moms and household-skills classes for all, but then ventured into suggestions that made my eyes widen: universal basic income, paying people to cook at home, shorter work weeks, and so on. I just didn't see where all the money would come from. Yes, I agree our health as a society would improve, but it's hard to fund programs based on "we'll save money later, years down the road." I liked better her mentions of urban farming programs on unused land, which has been done successfully in places like Milwaukee and Detroit, although the thought of sending inexperienced college kids out to run them made me think of Chairman Mao sending out all the academics to do the national farming and finding that--whoa!--they didn't actually know how, and now everyone's gonna starve! I guess if this FoodCorps hired the kids who'd done 4-H and had a little experience, but that's a dwindling pool nowadays. In any case, I highly recommend the book as an eye-opener. And, if you've got the time and money, invite someone over for a home-cooked meal of whole foods, cooked and served on glass and metal.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ell

    Formerly Known as Food is an Eye-Opener written by a nutritional expert and consultant. The author’s message is clear and concise and is one that, in my opinion, should be heard by everyone. Even when we think we are making healthy choices we may not be and the ramifications of unhealthy food choices go deeper than many believe. I found this book tremendously informative. It was educational and comprehensive but it could get a bit heavy at times for people with only a casual interest in how our Formerly Known as Food is an Eye-Opener written by a nutritional expert and consultant. The author’s message is clear and concise and is one that, in my opinion, should be heard by everyone. Even when we think we are making healthy choices we may not be and the ramifications of unhealthy food choices go deeper than many believe. I found this book tremendously informative. It was educational and comprehensive but it could get a bit heavy at times for people with only a casual interest in how our eating patterns are shaping our overall health. I found it best to read in chunks so as not to get overwhelmed with all of the information. I voluntarily read an advanced reader copy provided to me by the publisher through NetGalley. This did not affect my rating. I have provided an unbiased and honest review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Dawn Betts-Green

    Initially not a bad book. But she gets really preachy in bits, and I just cannot with it right now.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Nena Gluchacki

    Presented decently, but no new information. Same thing I've read in previous books on this subject matter. Presented decently, but no new information. Same thing I've read in previous books on this subject matter.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sara Goldenberg

    Preachy and sanctimonious. Guess we all have to live on water and lettuce we grow ourselves but not, Heaven forfend, in any dirt you'd find today, you'd have to find 200 year old dirt. Preachy and sanctimonious. Guess we all have to live on water and lettuce we grow ourselves but not, Heaven forfend, in any dirt you'd find today, you'd have to find 200 year old dirt.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    This is like the book version of the mom who calls CPS because someone gave their kid a poptart. I don't dispute the research, etc. presented in this book, it's just the tone that makes this a tough read. Alternately condescending, preachy, and over the top. This is like the book version of the mom who calls CPS because someone gave their kid a poptart. I don't dispute the research, etc. presented in this book, it's just the tone that makes this a tough read. Alternately condescending, preachy, and over the top.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sophie

    Formerly Known As Food delivers great knowledge to improve the way we eat. It's interesting and easy-to-understand. I enjoyed reading it. Thank you NetGalley and St.Martin's Press for an ARC of this book. Formerly Known As Food delivers great knowledge to improve the way we eat. It's interesting and easy-to-understand. I enjoyed reading it. Thank you NetGalley and St.Martin's Press for an ARC of this book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rachael Marsceau

    Okay. So. The first reason this gets one star is that it was an absolute bore to read. Science info dump paragraph after paragraph. Even though I was interested in the book's subject, that was barely strong enough to keep me reading. The second reason is that her very first proposed solution to solving the world's food problems is socialism. In her last chapter she got extremely political, and while I realize our food system has unfortunately become quite political, I don't think the first necess Okay. So. The first reason this gets one star is that it was an absolute bore to read. Science info dump paragraph after paragraph. Even though I was interested in the book's subject, that was barely strong enough to keep me reading. The second reason is that her very first proposed solution to solving the world's food problems is socialism. In her last chapter she got extremely political, and while I realize our food system has unfortunately become quite political, I don't think the first necessary change should be adopting a universal basic income and starting more government programs. Yes, of course the European countries' practice of offering new parents a year's paid leave sounds great, and of course that would provide a great foundation for establishing breastfeeding, but we need to look at the WHOLE picture. Who's paying for what? (She managed to mention that question and leave it unanswered, as they always do, because THE PEOPLE WOULD GET TAXED OUT OF THEIR MINDS.) Hi, Bernie! Anyway, those were the major issues I had with the book, but I did take notes as I read it and I will share what I learned/liked, in no particular order. - I liked her pointing out that baby formula is the first processed food we ever get introduced to outside of the womb. I found it interesting that most hospitals are now banning the goodie bags often given out to new mothers, containing multiple formula samples. It decreases the chance that they will try breastfeeding, and gives the incorrect claim that it's healthy and just like breastmilk. I did think the author did not give any attention whatsoever to mothers who can't breastfeed or, like me, tried and couldn't keep it up for the minimal 6 months. That comes with a LOAD of guilt and mom-shaming, and she could've approached the subject a bit more gently, imo. - Her discussion of the extinction of the B. Infantis bacteria blew my mind. I had never heard of this, and now will be researching supplements in the event I have another child. - She shared a study on mice whose parents had no issues of glucose intolerance being exposed to artificial sweeteners, and they developed the intolerance. This and other studies prove that it's a GUT ISSUE, not usually hereditary. Even Darwin himself (the father of the false theory of evolution) eventually admitted his greatest fault was placing too much faith in genetic determinism. Environmental factors contribute so much more! - BPA was replaced with BPS, which is equally dangerous. MY WHOLE LIFE IS A LIE. My kid's sippy cups aren't even safe! - She shared a statistic that men's sperm count dropped 59% since 1973, and that at this rate, almost all men will be infertile by 2060. Whether or not this is true, it scares me to death. - Chemical manufacturers provide their own safety data. HOW STUPID IS THIS???!! Reminds me of the vaccine industry...hmmmmm..... - I absolutely LOVED her chapter on the history of women's work in the home in the 1800s. Wow. She hit the nail right on the head with all of that. It wasn't sexist at all. She magnified the glory and truly the powerful influence women had in the home, and how some of that has been lost with women in the workforce and losing the talent and art of cooking. I will continue reading on this subject for sure, but this is not one I will reference again.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kayo

    While it seemed the research was phenomenal, this book was a bit of a bummer. So many facts on every page, it was just one thing after another. Didn't make for a book you wanted to read. I'd say author needs to write for the whole, not for a select few. Thanks to publisher, and NetGalley for the chance to read this book. While I got the book for free, it had no bearing on the rating I gave it. While it seemed the research was phenomenal, this book was a bit of a bummer. So many facts on every page, it was just one thing after another. Didn't make for a book you wanted to read. I'd say author needs to write for the whole, not for a select few. Thanks to publisher, and NetGalley for the chance to read this book. While I got the book for free, it had no bearing on the rating I gave it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Patricia Murphy

    Ugh. That was so depressing. Change will not come with individual choices, yet we have no leadership--no one who will work to preserve the earth and its future.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Don Gorman

    (1 1/2). This is not a great book. However, it is filled with great information. In fact, it is downright scary. Lawless presents a very compelling case about how the nutritional quality of food (and our lives) have suffered badly in the modernization and profit driven food industries. It is, as well, one of those books that you have to skim fairly regularly of you will nod off. The solutions that Lawless presents are not viable but maybe there are no real solutions to what she presents. It is a (1 1/2). This is not a great book. However, it is filled with great information. In fact, it is downright scary. Lawless presents a very compelling case about how the nutritional quality of food (and our lives) have suffered badly in the modernization and profit driven food industries. It is, as well, one of those books that you have to skim fairly regularly of you will nod off. The solutions that Lawless presents are not viable but maybe there are no real solutions to what she presents. It is a shame. A worthwhile research piece.

  15. 5 out of 5

    yamiyoghurt

    I do have a pet interest in this topic and have read a couple in a similar vein. This is a good primer in the current state of affairs in our industrial food system. If you enjoyed this and wanted more nuanced exploration, check out "The Dorito Effect", "The World According to Monsanto", "Combat Ready Kitchen", "The Omnivore's Dilemma", "Fast Food Nation" and "Food, Inc". I do have a pet interest in this topic and have read a couple in a similar vein. This is a good primer in the current state of affairs in our industrial food system. If you enjoyed this and wanted more nuanced exploration, check out "The Dorito Effect", "The World According to Monsanto", "Combat Ready Kitchen", "The Omnivore's Dilemma", "Fast Food Nation" and "Food, Inc".

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    I get what she’s saying and I believe that we should eat unprocessed whole natural foods. I also agree that the food industry is more concerned about making money than about our health.I feel that she comes across a bit angry and that some of her solutions are unrealistic.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Catullus2

    Depressing read about our contaminated food supply. Author hits the right notes but gives some unrealistic solutions.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sharen

    Thank you to NetGAlley and St. Martin's Press for permission to read this book early. This book is an in-depth look at where we are in the world with our food production and ingestion. It is a bit frightening to read all that our food goes through from start to the time we put it into our mouths and disheartening to know that the agencies we rely on to label our food, or test our food, are not set up to work in our best interests. Eat whole foods, breast feed our children, change labeling, (plus Thank you to NetGAlley and St. Martin's Press for permission to read this book early. This book is an in-depth look at where we are in the world with our food production and ingestion. It is a bit frightening to read all that our food goes through from start to the time we put it into our mouths and disheartening to know that the agencies we rely on to label our food, or test our food, are not set up to work in our best interests. Eat whole foods, breast feed our children, change labeling, (plus other suggestions) are repeated throughout and culminate in the author's 'manifesto' to incite change. . I liked that the author addressed the issues of poverty and urban access to quality, whole food products. I like the well referenced and cited statements. On the whole this is an informative book but a very technical and challenging read. It is FULL of information that is worth reading if you can hang in there and take it in small bites.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    This book reminds me a little of "Fast Food Nation." It's a cautionary tale of what we are actually doing to our bodies by consuming pesticide-ridden, chemically treated foods. There's a ton of fascinating info throughout the whole book, but it's definitely a terrifying read. Lawless does include some suggestions on what the US can do to detoxify our food system, but it's hugely unsettling to read how the foods we're consuming (especially as infants) is probably the reason why so many of us end This book reminds me a little of "Fast Food Nation." It's a cautionary tale of what we are actually doing to our bodies by consuming pesticide-ridden, chemically treated foods. There's a ton of fascinating info throughout the whole book, but it's definitely a terrifying read. Lawless does include some suggestions on what the US can do to detoxify our food system, but it's hugely unsettling to read how the foods we're consuming (especially as infants) is probably the reason why so many of us end up with diseases and chronic conditions. There were a few sections that felt a little too textbook, but overall, this was an eye-opening (and disturbing) title.

  20. 5 out of 5

    pianogal

    This book is amazing. And terrifying. I've struggled with trying to eat healthy, but it seems like it's just not possible. It is amazing to me that the FDA and the EPA don't hold these companies to the standards they claim to set. I liked this author. Some of her fixes seem impossible, but I like that she's thinking. Not the same old food book. Good read. This book is amazing. And terrifying. I've struggled with trying to eat healthy, but it seems like it's just not possible. It is amazing to me that the FDA and the EPA don't hold these companies to the standards they claim to set. I liked this author. Some of her fixes seem impossible, but I like that she's thinking. Not the same old food book. Good read.

  21. 4 out of 5

    January Gray

    The ease of getting and fixing food has made us forget what REAL food is. This book is a huge eye opener! I suggest everyone read this! I am still blown away by it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sadie-jane (Say-dee-Jane) Nunis

    Well this was kinda depressing to read lol. I looked at my lunch with guilt that lasted all of 5 minutes as I reached the tail end of the book. She is passionate about the subject though. 2019 reading challenge - Your favourite prompt from a past POPSUGAR Reading Challenge - 2018 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge - A Book About a problem facing society today

  23. 4 out of 5

    Candace

    Nothing earth shattering new. Common sense.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Hazel Bright

    Food is as integral a part of our social array as it is a part of our personal health. This book discusses the impact of the profit motive on the degradation of our food supply. Well-documented with well-reasoned arguments, you will not see packaged food the same way ever again after reading this book.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher --- From the voice of a new generation of food activists, a passionate and deeply-researched call for a new food movement. If you think buying organic from Whole Foods is protecting you, you're wrong. Our food—even what we're told is good for us—has changed for the worse in the past 100 years, its nutritional content deteriorating due to industrial farming and its compositio I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher --- From the voice of a new generation of food activists, a passionate and deeply-researched call for a new food movement. If you think buying organic from Whole Foods is protecting you, you're wrong. Our food—even what we're told is good for us—has changed for the worse in the past 100 years, its nutritional content deteriorating due to industrial farming and its composition altered due to the addition of thousands of chemicals from pesticides to packaging. We simply no longer know what we’re eating. In Formerly Known as Food, Kristin Lawless argues that, because of the degradation of our diet, our bodies are literally changing from the inside out. The billion-dollar food industry is reshaping our food preferences, altering our brains, changing the composition of our microbiota, and even affecting the expression of our genes. Lawless chronicles how this is happening and what it means for our bodies, health, and survival. An independent journalist and nutrition expert, Lawless is emerging as the voice of a new generation of food thinkers. After years of "eat this, not that" advice from doctors, journalists, and food faddists, she offers something completely different. Lawless presents a comprehensive explanation of the problem—going beyond nutrition to issues of food choice, class, race, and gender—and provides a sound and simple philosophy of eating, which she calls the "Whole Egg Theory." Destined to set the debate over food politics for the next decade, Formerly Known as Food speaks to a new generation looking for a different conversation about the food on our plates. My nephew always says when he comes to my house that "I don't have any food, only ingredients"...and, aside from a box of KD that I keep for when I am hormonal, it is true! We also get so many complaints at our food cupboard over ingredients as well..we nee4d to teach people to get back into the kitchen and cook!!! This book is scary: no wonder corpses are not decomposing as fast as they used to- we are piles of chemicals + some organic matter. Speaking of organic, there is no proof that organic food is better for your body: finally, I have some back-up for that comment. The state of our food is horrible: no wonder kids through adults are fatter than ever and there are more diabetics than ever before. Although I don't eat processed food I am pre-diabetic and decidedly fat, so it makes me wonder what is in my INGREDIENTS as I don't have any other explanation. The programs we run (where I work and volunteer) emphasize healthy food vs. fast food and try to get people to stop calling the pizza place and make their own ... maybe if we made this required reading people would listen up! Read it with a strong stomach ... with a piece of fresh fruit on the side.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Formerly Known As Food Presents a rigorous analysis of both the effects of industrial foods on our bodies and the social and political mechanisms that have gone into creating our society's vexed relationship to food preparation. While this book, at times, reads like a gloss of other's writings on the subject, her discussion of the emerging research on the human microbiota combined with her pointed criticisms of the alternative food movements emphasis on personal choice and responsibility felt li Formerly Known As Food Presents a rigorous analysis of both the effects of industrial foods on our bodies and the social and political mechanisms that have gone into creating our society's vexed relationship to food preparation. While this book, at times, reads like a gloss of other's writings on the subject, her discussion of the emerging research on the human microbiota combined with her pointed criticisms of the alternative food movements emphasis on personal choice and responsibility felt like a new and exciting addition to the dietary advice genre. I especially loved her discussion of the ways in which the skilled labors of food production have been rendered invisible and supposedly expendable by the food industry so that only those with extreme privilege are justified in expending time and money by cooking at home. I also adored her explanation for the strange alignment constructed between patriotism and processed food. My main criticisms of this book lie in the fact that it was not very readable. Often it felt like a mere presentation of the author's research findings without any underlying narrative. The book would have benefitted from some attention given to humanizing those most affected by the processed food industry, presenting the voices of individual consumers rather than just the findings of UC Davis scientists. That being said, I was impressed with this book and would feel comfortable recommending it to my students and my colleagues. I hope more journalists will follow Lawless's lead and present the problem of health and nutrition in the United States as stemming from a complex and multilayered set of issues that should be addressed both through community organizing and strategic policy change. "Voting with your fork" is not nearly enough!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Dianna

    The first part of this book annoyed and depressed me. Your food has touched plastic? It was in a factory? It's not organic? Not good enough. Wait! Organic isn't good enough either! I felt like nothing I could ever eat was good enough—because America's food system isn't set up to get us the kind of food Lawless is talking about here. But perhaps she did that on purpose, because she had me by the end of the book. She helped me to see the problem with our food system. She is calling for nothing less The first part of this book annoyed and depressed me. Your food has touched plastic? It was in a factory? It's not organic? Not good enough. Wait! Organic isn't good enough either! I felt like nothing I could ever eat was good enough—because America's food system isn't set up to get us the kind of food Lawless is talking about here. But perhaps she did that on purpose, because she had me by the end of the book. She helped me to see the problem with our food system. She is calling for nothing less than a complete revamp of the way we grow, distribute, and eat food—and she's calling for people to be paid for the cooking and housework done at home. While I don't know if I agree with all her ideas, I found the chapter on the devaluing of women's work absolutely fascinating and would recommend the book for that chapter (especially if you're a stay-at-home mom like me). Her ideas for revamping the food system presented at the end are bold and eye-opening. I would love to see the means to grow, buy, and cook real food available to everyone, not just the 1%. Some of the ideas sounded a little far-fetched to me, but many seemed quite sensible. Plenty of food for thought, if nothing else!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jess Macallan

    Food-like products are in abundant supply but at what cost to our health and culture? It's difficult to point fingers at any one issue. Savvy marketing, the push for convenience, poverty, pesticides, GMOs, what a woman eats during her pregnancy, and a lack of access to whole foods are only a few of the things that contribute to this growing problem. I appreciate that the author looks at all angles of the food industry, and even highlights how an organic label doesn't necessarily indicate a food Food-like products are in abundant supply but at what cost to our health and culture? It's difficult to point fingers at any one issue. Savvy marketing, the push for convenience, poverty, pesticides, GMOs, what a woman eats during her pregnancy, and a lack of access to whole foods are only a few of the things that contribute to this growing problem. I appreciate that the author looks at all angles of the food industry, and even highlights how an organic label doesn't necessarily indicate a food is healthy. Many of the topics covered won't be new to people already concerned with what and how they eat, but the author offers solid and plentiful research to support why we should continue to choose whole foods from trusted sources. The chapter on environmental toxins and implications for how they'll impact future generations was eye-opening. Consumers are far too trusting in our regulating agencies, especially the FDA & EPA. The chapter on gut health is thorough and I appreciated the inclusion of additives and their impact on gut health. Emulsifiers like xanthan gum and guar gum are often found in gluten-free products, and I wonder about the long-term effects for those who regularly consume these products. I was disappointed the author was initially dismissive of women who can't or won't breastfeed. While I agree that formula isn't the best option from a nutritional standpoint, it's not always a decision of culture, ignorance, or convenience, but can sometimes be due to a lack of support or medical necessity. The topic is addressed again later in the book, with more information and empathy toward the challenges parents face with finances, work, and food budgeting. This leads into a critical chapter on "women's work" and the role of food in our own homes. This book will encourage readers to be more intentional with their food purchases, but it's also a call to action to demand real change from the food industry and regulatory agencies, teach our children cooking skills, do more to ensure everyone has access to healthy food and enough of it (especially marginalized groups and people living in food deserts), and take more interest in how we approach food in our own homes. I received an e-copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Halina

    I did not finish this book because it made me very mad. Originally when I started it, I though "cool, finally someone with reasonable ideas about food". But then I started to get more and more annoyed. There are enough of facts and credible information in the book to make it seem reasonable, but then the misinformation begins and is layered on thick. Some examples of bad science that really bothered me: 1. molecules don't have membranes. 2. molecules, unless they are DNA molecules, can't be GMO. A I did not finish this book because it made me very mad. Originally when I started it, I though "cool, finally someone with reasonable ideas about food". But then I started to get more and more annoyed. There are enough of facts and credible information in the book to make it seem reasonable, but then the misinformation begins and is layered on thick. Some examples of bad science that really bothered me: 1. molecules don't have membranes. 2. molecules, unless they are DNA molecules, can't be GMO. Also oil or sugar from GMO crops is not GMO, as it extracted from the crop and purified from all other molecules. 3. the whole anti-GMO spiel is just soooooo brainwash, I won't even go there. So much misinformation and lying in that little segment, that it's not even funny. 4. while cell membranes do have cholesterol molecules, they are not the majority, phospholipids are. Not to mention tons of proteins and even some sugars that are also essential and plentiful parts of cell membranes. 5. vegetable oils. many different cultures have been consuming them from time immemorial - olive oil, sunflower oil, cottonseed oil, safflower oil, peanut oil to name a few. it's a myth that everyone ate only lard, tallow and butter. Also they are not full of omega-6 fatty acids. And while I agree that unrefined vegetable oils are healthier and better tasting, I can't believe that a nutritionist would spout such garbage about them. 6. enough already with may potentially cause cancer! Even though it was in reference to glyphosate, I would like to point out that in the same category are such whole foods as - bacon (because smoke and nitrate (-ites) for curing), sausages (due to nitrates (-ites) for curing), toast (because during process of toasting acrylamide forms), bbq/grilled foods (because burned food is carcinogenic), red meat and very hot beverages are also on the list. so yeah, it's a long an useless list and I really wish that people would stop using it already.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Matt Fitz

    I loved Whole Foods when it first opened. Organic and locally sourced...allegedly. Then they got big and math and logic should tell you that they couldn't sustain the concept of LOSS (local, organic sustainable, seasonal) at scale and nation-wide. Then they became just another Amazon monolith pushing products from overseas markets. But I digress (and will again). This is an easily digestible book (unintentional pun) in the vein of Michael Pollan's *Food Rules* or Michael Moss' *Salt,Sugar,Fat: Ho I loved Whole Foods when it first opened. Organic and locally sourced...allegedly. Then they got big and math and logic should tell you that they couldn't sustain the concept of LOSS (local, organic sustainable, seasonal) at scale and nation-wide. Then they became just another Amazon monolith pushing products from overseas markets. But I digress (and will again). This is an easily digestible book (unintentional pun) in the vein of Michael Pollan's *Food Rules* or Michael Moss' *Salt,Sugar,Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us* and a good reminder that we often get hood-winked and baited and switched by the very companies who tell us they care about our health and well-being. There's an interesting discussion on breast-feeding and it's importance is magnified in what the author repeatedly warns is a nutrient-degraded diet. A compelling read for anyone considering the pros and cons of that decision (small spoiler alert - it's pro nursing). Good read for anyone who, like me, needs a reminder of how to eat and how to shop and avoid the tantalization (intentional word because of its' food-based etymology) of gimmicks and marketers and ad-people. It's one thing to eat unhealthy food. It's quite another to eat overpriced and over-processed foods that have been modified, extracted-from, or added-to, under the guise of being "healthy" or "whole food." The only pauses I offer are that the author is very repetitive. I appreciated it for emphasis, but felt like an editor could have reduced the redundancy beyond mere emphasis. I sometimes felt I was re-reading a section it happened so often. Other pause: She'll lay out a progressive argument at the end that is politically left-leaning because she sees that food-scarcity and nutrient degradation are caused, in part, by poverty, including the working-poor, who have little time or resources to devote to cooking and rely on quick meals.

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