Wednesday, March 6, 2013

First JC Food Co-op Book Club

Yesterday, I attended the first meeting of the JC Food Co-op Book Club at Tachair Bookshoppe.  This month's book was Mark Bittman's Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating.  I had downloaded the book on to my kindle a few months ago, so it was a happy coincidence when I found out that it was the first book for discussion.

I have to admit that I was a bit nervous about meeting and talking about a topic as sensitive as personal eating habits with strangers (though I do recognize the irony in that statement since I blog about my eating habits all the time!). But it actually turned out to be worthwhile experience.  It was refreshing to meet and speak with people who are as interested in food as I am.  I also learned more about the Jersey City food community and the food co-op, who organized the event.  And all while sipping Good Earth "Sweet and Spicy" tea, which they serve at the book shop, and has now become my new favorite tea!

As for the book itself, Bittman advocates "sane eating," that is a diet of that focuses on mostly plants, but with some meats as an accent or flavor, and minimizing processed foods.  This is similar to the diet I have already been following since I began to lose weight last year, so it hasn't changed the way I eat.  But one thing I did learn from the book was how political the way we are taught to eat is.  For example, take the "4 Basic Food Groups" that many of us learned as children, which later evolved to the "Food Pyramid" and now to "Choose My Plate." Perhaps it was my own naivete, but I was somehow under the impression that some learned health professionals or dietitians were developing these models as the way we are supposed to eat.  But rather, as Bittman highlights, these models were largely driven by the agricultural industries.  Learning about this aspect of food education has made me question what we know about food and nutrition and how many common misconceptions there are about food.


Have you read Food Matters?  Is there something from the book that changed how you thought about food?

Special thanks to the Jersey City Food Co-op and Tachair Bookshoppe for making the book club meeting possible! I highly recommend anyone in the Jersey City area to check them out!

Note:  I have not been compensated to make this review of any of the products or businesses discussed here. I just really like them.


mollyjade said...

Marion Nestle's book How to Eat goes into detail on all the messed up ways the agricultural industry and the food industry have influenced the USDA's guidelines. It's ridiculous to have the same organization represent both nutrition standards and the food industry.

Cheryl said...

Molly, I agree! I will have to add that book to my reading list.

Rose said...

Do you have a copy of this book? Sounds like an interesting read.

Cheryl said...

Rose, it is an interesting read... but unfortunately, I only have it on my kindle.

Michele said...

Hey Cheryl, it's Michele from the book club. Thank you for writing such a nice post about the last meeting! Marion Nestle, btw, is like a rock star in food issues. I've got her book, Food Politics, and although I haven't finished it (it's like a million pages), it's really fantastic. We'll def do one of her books too. Maybe How to Eat. :) Hope to see you at the next meeting! The Barbara Kingsolver book has been surprisingly great. They'll be lots to talk about!

Cheryl said...

Thanks, Michele! I can't make the next meeting, but I hope to be able to make the May meeting!