Thursday, January 27, 2011

It's Not Your Fault by Emanuel Barling, Jr., Esq. and Ashley F. Brooks, R.N.

Having reviewed a book by Manny and Ashley before, I knew basically what to expect here.  These are two very loving and sweet people who have been on the brink of death and figured out how to pull themselves back into health using nutrition.  Neither of them are doctors and neither claim to be.  They do their research well and present it in a manner that makes sense.  They don't normally tell you anything silly, such as that they know more than doctors.  They're coming from a place of having been there and wanting to help others.  Since I know the true spirit that this book was meant in, it makes it a little difficult to review it, since I was disappointed in a few things.

First, this book takes a more in-depth look at the foods that we eat.  We all know that fast food isn't healthy for you, but what about a sandwich from the deli?  Fresh tomatoes from the supermarket?  What about foods sweetened with Splenda?  Surely these are healthy for us!  A sandwich is meat, veggies and grains, right?  Tomatoes are a vegetable!  Nothing fishy about that, right?  Splenda has to be better than sugar!  Everyone says sugar is bad, right?

The premise of this book is to educate the populace on exactly what is in the foods that we purchase and eat.  It's researched well and all notes are included for anyone who wants to check up on them.  There are lists of foods that have 'hidden bad foods' in them to make it easier to cut out some of the foods that are 'naughty'.  Manny and Ashley believe the chemicals, pesticides and preservatives in the foods we consume are what make us overweight and unhealthy.  I have to agree with them to some degree. 

Though the book is well-researched and I know they created it to help others, I had a few problems with it.  I'm NOT suggesting you don't read this book!  The information in there is incredible and definitely worth a look, even if you just skim it.  There are some great ideas for alternative foods rather than the ones that we currently eat.  It really is a fascinating read for anyone interested in nutrition, health, or just attaining a better lifestyle.  So what's my problem?  Though I know they meant this to come across in a loving and helpful nature, it just didn't feel that way to me.  To be honest, I was a little biased throughout most of the book as a comment in the very beginning upset me to a small degree.  Farmers were lumped in with the list of people that are 'poisoning' us.  No, those weren't the exact words and I'm not trying to spark a debate, though any of you are more than welcome to respond.  I'm definitely no farmer.  I'm a gardener.  A hobby gardener.  When you get in the business of growing large amounts of plants for mass consumption, you have one huge problem.  Pests.  Insects and other animals attack your crops.  This is just how nature works.  The great thing about organic gardeners is that they grow on a smaller scale so that they can keep down this problem without having to resort to chemicals to keep the plants and produce safe.  I agree that most farmers have to use pesticides in order to keep their crops safe and that those pesticides are probably not the most healthy.  My problem is that in order for those farmers to sell their crops, they have to make sure they're government regulations are up to code.  I don't feel it's fair to blame them for keep their crops free of pests and adhering to government regulations.  Blame the government regulations, sure, but make sure you have a back up plan for keeping the plants and produce pest free.  My biggest problem with this book is that it comes across as organic propaganda.  'Eat organic and you'll be skinny and healthy!'  That's quite possibly true.  The problem is that both sides aren't presented here.  It's not a fair book because it only shows the upside to eating organic.  Yes, you can easily make your own tomato paste at home.  It's much healthier and takes fewer ingredients.  It's also incredibly easy to do.  What isn't listed is that it also takes hours to do.  Now, if you're a stay-at-home mom or work at home, this could be an ideal alternative for you.  You could be cooking your tomato paste while busy doing something else as well.  This just isn't a feasible answer for most people who work full time jobs and have other responsibilities though.  The response to that is to then only buy organic tomato paste.  Great idea.  One problem.  Most people can't afford to only buy organic foods.  They struggle just to buy chemically  preserved items at the store without resorting to canned ravioli.  I guess what I'm saying is that I don't have a problem with the organic lifestyle at all.  I agree that it's way healthier.  I just wish that it had been a section on how to change your lifestyle and start incorporating healthier eating into your life or even a chapter on how to make organic items at home.  I wish that I hadn't felt as if farmers were being attacked.  I wish that more of that loving 'we've been there and we want to help you' attitude was present throughout the book.  Instead, I found more of a 'we're right and everyone else is wrong' attitude.  I so hate typing that because I know for a fact that that isn't the way this book was meant to be presented. 

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