Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health by Jo Robinson
Eating on the Wild Side not only discusses the nutritional history of fruits and vegetables, but advises us on how to value that has been squandered through modernisation of agricultural and cooking techniques that sacrifice nutrition and flavours for speed and convenience.
About 400 pages long, it may appear overwhelming. However, the information is easy to process. Each chapter is
focused on a type of fruit or vegetable, and broken up into sections to explain its origins, how to grow or find the best varieties, recipes, cooking instructions and tips to retain its goodness as much as possible.
I was expecting some complicated recommendations that would make grocery-shopping and cooking even more
tedious, but I was wrong. Many tips are surprisingly straightforward and manageable:
- The most nutritious tomatoes in the supermarket are not the raw, fresh ones, but the ones in the cans! Processed tomatoes, whether canned or cooked into a paste or sauce, are the richest known source of antioxidant compound lycopene.
- Shredding lettuce the day before you eat it increases its antioxidant content.
- When using garlic in cooking, slicing, chopping, mashing, or pressing it, and then setting it aside for 10 minutes before cooking reportedly increases your defenses against cancer and cardiovascular disease.
- Thawing frozen berries via microwave preserves more antioxidants and vitamin C than thawing them at room temperature.
- Cooking potatoes, refrigerating them for about 24 hours and then reheating turns this high-glycemic vegetable into a low- or moderate-glycemic vegetable. (glycemic index refers to the speed at which blood glucose level rises upon consumption)
- Eat broccoli the day you buy it to preserve its natural sugars and cancer-fighting compounds.
And there is much more. Several book reviewers pronounced it a life-changing book that empowered them to make
wiser decisions on their daily diets. Undeniably, the gardening and planting sections are not applicable to us in urban Singapore. Many of the featured fruits and vegetables are also unheard of here. Regardless, it makes an educational and entertaining read for all health and food enthusiasts.
– This book review first appeared in a lifestyle magazine