One Shiny Book – Giveaway

I don’t know how many of my own readers follow Jenna’s blog over at That Wife but if you haven’t been, over the last few months she has talked about her family’s eating habits. She has shared some books she has read about health and diet, and she has sparked something in me.

What, you may ask? I’ll put it simple – I need to eat better.

Growing up with a lot of emphasis put on foods, I have a very unhealthy relationship with it. Strange? Maybe. My Mama tells me there was a definite point in time, when my family moved to England, that I gained a lot of weight. I was also hitting puberty, but I gained more weight than what was considered normal. I was under a lot of stress, and experiencing a ton of anxiety. I had left my home country, I was a very out spoken American in a British school, I was getting bullied a lot (some of which I probably deserved) and I was building my relationship with food. I remember stopping by the little store next to my elementary school after dance class and buying a bag of salt and vinegar crisps and a lemonade soda. I still crave these things. Still. There was something about British soda that is unmatched in the US… less sure maybe? I don’t know, but my mouth longs for the taste that I have not had in 10 years. This was my relief. I looked forward to pulling out my 50 pence coin, the cool shaped one, and getting everything I wanted. Some times the lady let me pick a sweet too. It was heaven. At the same time, I was going through the dreaded pea-war. You know what I’m talking about. I sat at the dinner table for hours, refusing to eat my peas. Nasty little buggers.

So, what’s my point? I have developed these relationships with my foods. I viewed my crisps as a treat, something to make up for a bad day. I viewed my veggies as something of a punishment. A great start to a healthy life. lol. But seriously – I am very affected by these memories. It wasn’t until I got to college and started trying things on my own that I realized… hmm… veggies aren’t so bad.

Back to Jenna and books. She recently referenced a book called “In Defense of Food.” Because Jenna is so cool… and when I grow up I want to be just like her… I bought the book. Well, actually… I bought a lot more than one book. But this is the one that has really shaken me. It comes in a more… shall I say, condensed version as “Food Rules” (both by Michael Pollan) which was what I read first. It took maybe an hour, and I was hooked to this way of thinking, this idea of eating. And Pollan doesn’t really talk much about people and their relationships to food, as much as he discuss the need to question. “What am I eating?” Things like “Would Grandma know what this item is?” or “Can you read the ingredients?” With the goal of returning to whole, less processed foods.

The main point?     “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants.”

“In Defense of Food” goes more in-depth than “Food Rules”, and explains some of the problems with the way most people view food.

From Michael Pollan’s website:

“In Defense of Food shows us how, despite the daunting dietary landscape Americans confront in

the modern supermarket, we can escape the Western diet and, by doing so, most of the chronic diseases that

diet causes. We can relearn which foods are healthy, develop simple ways to moderate our appetites,

and return eating to its proper context — out of the car and back to the table.”

It is so interesting and each page taught me something new.

Now, follow me for a moment. It got me thinking about what I eat, compared to what my dogs eat. Now hold on a second, because well… maybe it will help explain what I got out of this book. lol.

I love my dogs. After lots and lots of research I choose a brand of dog food I liked, mixed with some raw meats, and the occasional uncooked veggie (Dogs are omnivores. My little Zuko loves zucchinni… he’ll do just about anything for it!). I am so careful with what I feed them. No french fries, no sugar, no chocolate, no onions. I take so much care in what I feed them, especially my older dog. Why? Because I love them. I want them to be happy and healthy and energetic and live a nice long life. I have done a lot of research about it, and talking with the vet and ya know what? My 15 year old Australian Shepard mix can run with the healthiest puppy.

But I bring home a chicken sandwhich from Micky-D’s, a soda and some french fries and eat it. Did I research it? Nope. Do I know how many calories it is? Nope – don’t tell me. Did I talk to my Doctor about it? hahaha. Nope. I didn’t even read the ingredients! Why is it okay for me to eat such highly processed food, but I won’t feed it to my dogs – who actually have “stronger” stomachs than I do (considering the bacterias present in my body compared to the dogs’ – they can handle a lot more than I can).

And there you have it. I must care more about my dogs than I do about myself.

That’s the kind of thought this book inspires. Self reflection.

If you’re interested in some self reflection, about the way you eat, and the way you think about nutrition, this is the perfect book to get your started.


Giveaway Information

There are three possible entries:

  1. Leave me a comment, and ponder these questions: Do you have a relationship with food? Is it good, bad, indifferent? When did it start? (I encourage discussion, but only the original comment counts as an entry.)
  2. Twitter –    RT: Jessica @webstergirl06 is arguing “In Defense of Food”! – then leave a comment here with the link.
  3. And lastly if you mention this post with a link back to my blog, and then comment with a link to your post, that is one more entry.

That is a max of three entries per person.

I am buying this book, and giving it out because I think it is a great read. Please enter only if you will read it, because I would hate for it to just sit on a shelf.

Continue the fun!

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  1. I have a terrible relationship with food, but in a different way than most. I don't really like food :). Growing up food was a battle I encountered on a daily basis with my parents (them wanting me to try things, me never giving in). It was a battle of wills, and I always won, and therefore never tried anything. In college I had my first tastes of many things, including broccoli, tomatoes, avocado, cantaloupe (note a trend in fresh foods here…), and found I had been missing out on so much. However, even 8 years later I still find my old mindset creep back in and stop me from preparing and trying delicious fresh foods. I would love to read this book and see if it can change my mindset a bit.

  2. I love that you are doing this. In Defense of Food has been on my reading list for a while and I need to make the effort to get it in my commuter bag. My relationship with food is OK-I grew up on a farm eating close to the land but have moved toward convenience foods as I grew up and moved away. Maybe this book will provide the motivation I need to clean up my diet.

  3. I love Michael Pollan's column's in the NYTimes, and I try to eat more veggies. But honestly as a married couple, it's hard seeing them rot in the frig. I only grocery shop once every 1-2 weeks and even when I stock up on veggies, some go bad. And then I feel worse. I'm in med school and it gets so busy and I get so hungry that I rely on what's in my bag (aka granola bars, chips, etc) to get me through the day. Try taking a pear along–mashed up–and what to eat that. I wish that I had that wife at home to cook all my meals! I would love to eat better, but it's just so hard sometimes. Nonetheless, I would love to have this be my nighttime read (it may take me a year to finish it, but still I would love to do it!)

  4. I'm dying to read this book! I have a horrible relationship that started like yours – vegetables were always punishment. I've been giving a lot of thought to the way I think about food and choose foods to eat and why and I think this book would really help me think harder about those things.

  5. Yikes, my relationship with food is pretty much I eat, eat, eat. When I'm bored, I eat. When I'm tired, I eat. When I'm emotional in any way, I eat. Most of my life has been spent eating as a celebration or as a way to build relationships. I'd really like to find another hobby!!

  6. My relationship with food has good days and bad days. I've come far in turning it around, but I still have a ton of work to do. I would have to say it started when I was just a kid listening to my mom talk about dieting and weight loss.

  7. Oh my goodness, I have been meaning to buy that book for ages. I have food rules and my SO just bought "Ominvore's Dilemma" for school. I read OD last year and it completely changed our food-buying and eating. I really need to read In Defense of Food.

    Personally, for a long time my relationship with food was that carbs would make me fat. Guess what? Eating weird low-carb food made me even fatter than good old regular carbohydrates. Now I don't worry about carbs/fat/protein. I try to get some of everything in each meal and definitely try to get lots of veggies whenever I can. Infinite wisdom from Mr. Pollan…

  8. I never used to think about my food, but like you, I've been obsessive about what I'm willing to feed my pets (I literally just wrote a post about it on my blog!) for several years. I realized that was a little silly considering I paid no mind to what was going into my body, so I've been trying to be a little more conscious about what goes into my and hubby's mouths. We eat a lot more fruits and vegetables, a lot less meat, and I'm trying to motivate myself to rework my work schedule so that I can visit Farmer's Markets. Unfortunately, we're still dependent on Publix for produce. 🙁

  9. Hi, I'm here via That Wife. I have been meaning to read this book for a while now, I had it on request at the library, but it came in when I was away on vacation. Boo. I have a funky relationship with food. I love, love, love to bake, but usually only do so when I'm stressed. I know it's because I crave sugar when I'm stressed. But other than baking we usually eat ultra healthy. If I were less stressed I'd be more healthy in more ways than one, I suppose.

  10. I do have a relationship with food. I am actively working toward making it a positive one but it has been a rocky road and there are definitely good days and bad days. I think I started as a "regular" kid with a relatively neutral attitude towards food, I liked and ate my vegetables, food was never really an issue. Somewhere around high school, when I was home alone for a bit before the rest of the household came home, I started binge eating on whatever was around. Since then my habits had run the gamut from eating everything to eating nothing and being afraid to eat. Now I am working toward cooking more for myself and not moralizing food, just eating it. I've heard a lot about Pollan's books and philosophies and it's been on my "books to read" list forever, so I would love to have the opportunity!

  11. Hi Jessica,

    Reading your story was like telling mine… I have a VERY unhealthy relationship with food as well. Often as a reward – for example I have no problem eating healthy for breakfast and lunch, but then the period of about 1pm to 4pm is a constant battle not to "reward" myself with sweets and other crap, just for making it through the workday and being at my desk. (And the stupid thing is, I LOVE my job!). Food is always a reward or comfort. Often it's laced with guilt as well. The really frustrating thing for me is that I know what I *should* be eating… I just somehow lack the willpower to do it. I love healthy food and veggies, luckily, but I also love the crap. (Oh McDonalds!!!) I'm interested in this book because I hope it will provide the missing info – enough to make me think twice about the heavily processed, sweet and salty crap. Sigh. Good luck to us both!!

    Also, don't have a blog of my own but I love reading yours!! Keep it up! 🙂

  12. Thanks for doing this giveaway! My relationship with food is pretty indifferent healthwise– I love to try new things, and so I generally eat what I want, but make sure to avoid a few items (fries, sodas, sweets unless I am getting them for free) so I feel a little better about my generally thoughtless approach to food. I'd love to read this book– I'm sure I will be motivated to think a lot more carefully about food when I have children, and it's never to early to start.

  13. I have an odd relationship with food I think. I get cravings to eat healthier, so I do…for like a week, and then I revert back to my old habits of eating mostly starches. I'll make a deal with myself, if I feel I've been "good" all week I'll allow myself to cheat, which usually leads to a spiral down into more bad eating. I've always been this way, while I'm now making a conscious effort to change it, I'm still struggling.

  14. I have actually been wanting to read this book since I initially saw it on ThatWife's blog a while back. It looks really interesting and my husband and I have been trying to get all our produce at the local Farmer's Market, but I would LOVE to be entered into the drawing to win this book!

  15. I definitely have a bad relationship with food. I, like you, thought vegetables were a punishment. was always so skinny in high school and even college because I was a track and cross country runner. Because of my high metabolism I ate horribly and was still able to be really skinny. Lots of carbs, no veggies, little fruit and A LOT of junk. I gained a lot of weight when I was pregnant with my first child because of my horrible diet. I wasn't able to lose all of the weight before I got pregnant with my second. I ended up not gaining that much with my second pregnancy.

    Right around the time I had my second child, Jenna started talking about eating local food and grass-fed meat. My husband and I watched "Food, Inc" and between her and that documentary, changed our eating habits entirely. We now strive to eat as much as we can from local farmers and only eat grass-fed meat. We are lucky that we are in Wisconsin and have soooo many great small farmers and excellent farmer's markets. I still really struggle with eating vegetables though 🙁 We try not to eat items that are highly processed with ingredients that we don't know. Through this diet change only (no time to exercise with a baby and a three year old!), since mid July, I have been able to lose 14 lbs! I still have a lot of weight to lose from my first pregnancy but I'm confident I'll be able to do it.

    I would love to read this book. It has been on my list to buy since she talked about it. Thanks so much for hosting this great giveaway!

  16. I have an ever-changing relationship with food. I was raised with the basics, drink milk every day, relatively well rounded meals (although now seeing how much white bread, white rice, and excess starches we consumed) and snacks. I never thought about organic foods, and really felt like it was unnecessary. Then something changed, I started developing an interest in gardening and health, not wanting to continue struggling with weight and just wanting to be more socially conscious. I'm intrested in reading this book to see if it lives up to the hype.

  17. My relationship with food. I tend to believe I have a good one until it comes to sweets.

    See my mom was a dietician, so I was raised with all the concepts of eating your greens, meat, calcium, etc. It's something pretty much imbeded in me and I do love to sit down at the table.

    I hate it that we tend to eat on the coffe table at home because we let the dinning table get covered with papers and the computer or there is something he wants to watch on TV and that's not a fight I have the energy to take.

    Anyhow, I love food. I believe in cooking, enjoying, savoring. I'm not a huge fan of very fried things and I believe in excercising before dieting.

    But as I sad I have a weekeness and that's sweet. Gourmandise 100% (it's a french word that has no translation in english, neither gourmet nor gluton, it's about eating something for the pleasure of it, not the need of it savory or sweets). Put a sweet in front of me and I will eat it. I wish I could lower my sugar intake because I'm sure it will create problems down the road but I seem to have no will when it comes to it.

  18. My relationship with food: I have the best intentions, but find myself overwhelmed and slipping back into prepared foods and fast food more than I like to admit. I am part of a CSA, I frequent farmer's markets, I have a summer vegetable garden. I want my kids to love healthy eating, but I take the "I just don't want to know" approach to eating out, etc. I need – and WANT – to change this. After your review of the book as well as Jenna's review, I'm intrigued and would love to win a copy to read!

  19. I have a much healthier relationship with food than I used to. I used to come home from school, sit in front of the computer and eat so much. Feeling stressed or a bit depressed? Just some justification to eat more. My relationship with food has become healthier after losing 25-ish pounds through weightwatchers and having my food intolerances worsen. I do still have slip-ups when I'm feeling particularly stressed or anxious or when I'm somewhere where there is lots of candy, but it is much better than before. That being said, I love food and creating things with it. 🙂

  20. My relationship with food is sporadic.

    I really like to focus on getting produce, spices and some random oils such as olive oil or a spray of canola. I feel like cooking is so relaxing. Snacking though can be a problem. I found that taking my food with tea helps out.

    I love knowing more about food because I believe that what goes into my body is what I am.

  21. I think I used to have a fairly poor relationship with food, similar to yours in that sweets were a reward, etc. I tried recently to lose some weight and become healthier and I think I've done a pretty good job (lost 20 pounds!) and eat much more healthy, fresh foods. I still love bad-for-you things though…and maybe acceptance is the way to go sometimes? I'd love to read this book!

  22. Really interesting post. I think we ALL have a relationship with food – and that the relationship changes throughout our life. I used to think eating french fries – even 1 – was completely forbidden. I hope I'm thinking of food in a healthier way now for my kids. Thanks for the chance to win this book!

  23. Like many women, I have a terrible (and increasingly poor) relationship with food. I love food (trying new things, cooking), but the biggest issue is that I use food to comfort myself BIG TIME. Which then means that I feel fat and sad for eating, which then means I want to eat something else for comfort. Terrible cycle. But great giveaway!

  24. My relationship with food isn't healthy. I just plain eat too much. My portion sizes are too big. And, I eat when I'm not hungry….just to eat. 🙁 I could sure use this book!

  25. Mostly my relationship is healthy with food. However, I do eat a bit too much sweets and when I feel lazy I tend to go for fast foods or easy meals. However, I love having my own garden, buying at the farmers market and making all my meals. I think it would be interesting to read this book and convert more to organic items or change my ways even more.

  26. As soon as my emotions go – so does my relationship with food. When I'm happy – I eat a lot. When I'm sad – I can barely eat for days. Not healthy.

  27. I've been wanting to read this for a while, so I hope I win! My relationship with food? I think it's okay. I love to eat good, yummy food, but I kind of suck at planning out meals, so I know I eat way too many processed foods.

    Thanks for having this giveaway!

  28. I do the same thing with my dogs! I buy them this special good dog food and then I eat junk. Just last night I ate so much at dinner out with friends I have been sick since then. Why? Because it was my "night out." You see, I know better, I have been on weight watchers for 6 months! I should have stopped eating when I was full – oh and why did I have to eat Nachos? Ugh! I am definitely interested in checking this book out for a different perspective.

  29. I so have a relationship with food. I keep trying to tell myself that food will not make me feel better, but that connection just doesn't get remembered when I feel the need to eat (not actually hungry). I've been really trying lately to just first question whether I'm really hungry or not; or, just thirsty. I'm getting better, but I still have a long way to go. Then onwards to eating better food for my body because I know we eat to nourish, not feel better. One small step…:)

  30. My relationship with food is very guilt based. I am just now at 24 learning to eat a small portion of the bad processed junk i love so as not to deprive myself of the craving, and supplement with the good food. this makes me crave the junk much less often than when i used to cut it out cold turkey.

    I would LOVE to win this book to continue developing my knowledge of how to eat.

  31. I would love to read this book. I'm a vegetarian myself, but I would love to have an even better relationship with food. I find cooking very therapeutic, but I know that I could be using better ingredients. Thanks for hosting this awesome giveaway!

  32. I'm an emotional eater, and have always been, as long as I remember. I went on a trip with my dad when I was 14, had a terrible time due to a lot of family issues, and came back 7 pounds heavier from that one week. Intro to my struggle with weight and food for most of my life so far. I want so much to eat better. Your comment about your dogs stuck with me, because I bet we spend more money on our dog's food than on our own! Feeling like I'm responsible for her health and her experience on this earth motivates me to take care of her the best I can. But, I'll buy cheaper food for myself because it's quick, easy, or on sale….no matter how unhealthy it is. I would say my relationship with food is pretty poor.

  33. I LOVE food. It is an event for me. One of my biggest hobbies is going out to eat, trying new foods.. It is my favorite part of traveling and vacations.

    However, I over eat like most people, and eat tons of sweets. But ironically I also LOVE vegetables and all sorts of "healthy" foods. I just need to work on finding that balance. I think this book looks really interesting and informative! Thanks for the drawing. This is definatly one I will have to read either way.

  34. Everyone has some relationship with food that changes over time. I'd say that my current relationship started 10 years ago this month. That is when I committed to being a vegetarian. I stopped eating meat. I started testing the waters of a multitude of other foods I'd never tasted or heard of. It was a great experience that has brought me to my current position of a semi-reformed picky eater. I thinking about what I'm eating much more than I did before. I still succumb to poor, easy, convenient choices at times… but I relish in time spent creating a good from scratch meal for my family and friends. I taught myself to cook while exploring this new world of vegetables and grains and I learned that the art of cooking is very lovely.

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