Eat Naked is not about eating without your clothes on. Although, you can do so, if you wish, I suppose. No, it is about eating less processed food, food that still has all its natural ingredients and healthy nutritional elements. The author asks herself (and us) a series of questions about what has changed in out eating style and methods that have caused an obesity epidemic and more and more health problems associated with eating. It does not make sense, she argues, that our food seems to be ganging up on us to kill us. We are still the same human beings that we've been for thousands of years. So, what has changed?
The basic argument she poses is that the way we prepare foods and process them before we eat them has fundamentally changed - and changed to the worse. She makes the argument that we should learn to enjoy naked foods - foods that have not been chemically and industrially rearranged; foods that rely on natural ingredients and natural ways of processing them. The return to us would be that we would be much healthier, and also, as a beneficial side effect, also lose more weight.
Many of her arguments have been made by many others in many other forums. The nice thing about this book is that she collects all of this information into one short book and accompanies it with about forty recipes that contain her recommended approaches to eating. While I have yet to attempt any of these recipes myself, looking them over, there are many that I would make without feeling like I am forcing myself to adopt any strange methods or foods.
I remember when I had the epiphany of how processed foods have become and starting to wonder myself whether this is good and where it is all leading. I was getting heartburn with regularity after lunch. As I hunted down the possible source of this problem, I noted everything that I was eating or drinking and a pattern formed of the heartburn showing up an hour or two after consuming a particular brand of bottled water. Water? So, I looked over the bottle more carefully and noted that there was a list of ingredients. Wrap your mind around that: A bottle of water had a list of eight ingredients in it. Not only that, but almost all of them various chemicals. A quick experiment proved that the source of my heartburn was that particular brand of bottled water and the problem has now been resolved. Of course, that led me now to check the list of ingredients on many things that I purchase much more carefully. I have been noting how many chemicals are in all of our packaged foods and how few natural ingredients are present. Others have noted how high in sugar, salt, and fat are all processed foods and that cannot be good for us either. In my own examination, I've noted that many of the ingredients used are corn-based and corn is not very digestible by humans.
This book confirms many of my anecdotal findings and adds various sources of research to it to suggest that this is the way that we've gone wrong. After all, she asks, why would we want to consume Cottonseed oil - a processed by-product of an inedible substance? Yet you will find cottonseed oil in many foods. Her prescription is to avoid them if at all possible. Go back to eating like our grandparents used to do by buying local ingredients that have been minimally processed; preferably organically grown; and use them to create your meals. A repeated recommendation is to frequent your local farmers market and to purchase organic produce. The organic recommendation comes from the fact that those farmers use much less chemicals in their growing operations and, in the case of meat or poultry, tend to allow their animals to live their lives eating more natural ingredients and more space and natural living conditions than factory-grown animals.
Much of what she writes is intuitive and obvious. The advantage of this book is that all of it is placed in one location where it's easily referenced and the arguments that she makes are coherent and logical. The additions of the recipes and the bibliography allow you to test out her recommendations and challenge her research by going back to the primary sources. As far as I am concerned, her arguments are sound and I will definitely be changing some of my own eating habits as a result. While I have noted that many of her arguments are not original, I was still quite startled to read her chapter on cooking oils and the recommendations against using some of the more available products in the supermarkets. After thinking about it for a while, I cannot fault her recommendation but believe instead that it shows just how prevalent the attitudes of wrongful-eating have been ingrained in us.
All of this is why I believe that this is a book that should be read by many. I am giving it five stars for the clarity of the writing, the call to action that it contains, and even the humor in which she approaches the teaching task that she has allocated to herself. I was even amused and encouraged by her various anecdotes involving her life and previous beliefs. I heartily recommend that you start eating naked as well.