When I first saw this book with the interesting title "Eat Naked," I thought it would probably be just another diet book with just a clever title to hook you into buying it. However, I was completely wrong and this book turned into one of the best reads I have had in a long time.
Right up front, the author states that the book is not a diet book. The ideas in this book create a lifestyle for the long term. While there are recipes and cooking tips in the 2nd half of the book, the 1st half of the book is what got my attention. This is pretty much the basics of eating naked.
The author makes a lot of sense when she talks about how eating food that is highly processed with all the "extras" like flavorings, preservatives, colorings and additives are contributing to America's poor health, excess weight, low energy levels, and a host of other health challenges that face us every day. Changing your lifestyle to eat naked means that you are committing to eating foods that are whole, unrefined, organically grown, fresh, unprocessed, and grown locally when possible. Then she goes into a lot of detail on the various food groups you eat showing how naked foods really are better their processed equivalents. I learned a lot of interesting facts that I had not even thought about.
The author points out that your body knows what it needs to be healthy. When you eat mostly naked foods, your body will find its natural equilibrium and you won't be tempted to overeat. Your cravings will diminish and you won't feel deprived or starved. When you are truly nourished, your body can find its natural, optimal health and the pounds you want to lose will go away on their own accord. In other words, you are not looking at calories or dieting. Sounds great to me!
From here, the author goes into some great overviews of some of the bad things we eat. Things like hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils, trans-fats, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, sodium, and even soy are covered. What I liked about this part of the book is that the author brings the principals of why these kinds of foods are not good into language that anyone can understand. These additives extend shelf life, bind food, enhance flavor, and alter the nutritional makeup of the food it is in. This is good for the company processing and selling this stuff, but is not good for the health and nutritional integrity of what we are eating.
From here, the author covers the science of the different naked food groups. She covers topics like naked fresh produce, naked meat, naked dairy and eggs, naked fish, naked fats, naked grains/beans/nuts/seeds, naked beverages/sweeteners/condiments. Each of these groups has its own chapter where she goes into lengthy details that cover issues like organic versus non-organic, ethics of meat and fish farms versus letting animals roam freely, raw versus pasteurized, good fats versus bad fats (its not like you were always taught), inflammation in the body caused by foods, and many very interesting factoids that kept me interested through the whole book.
As an example, the author has a section on eggs. Our family eats a lot of eggs, and we like to buy the jumbo eggs at the store. Did you ever wonder about jumbo eggs? Do they come from big chickens? I discovered that extra large or jumbo eggs come typically from chickens who are forced to molt by being starved for several days. When hens that have been force-molted start to lay again, they lay fewer eggs but the eggs are bigger. This is a terrible practice, and I will not buy these kind of eggs again. When you buy your eggs, try to get them from a local farmer and ask the farmer if he molts his hens. This is just one of the many interesting factoids you will find in this book.
The second half of this book covers how to transition to a naked diet (it is not cold turkey), shopping for naked food, and cooking naked food. There are many great sounding recipes covering the making of your own condiments, salads, soups, entrees, breakfasts and desserts using naked food ingredients. The author discusses how to find sources for your new grocery list.
I could go on and on, but the bottom line is that this is an unusual book about food that emphasizes pure and natural foods that would be considered green and more healthy for us and the planet. The author presents a lot of interesting facts about food that I never knew - and I thought I was well versed in healthy eating. The nice thing about this author's attitude is that she doesn't tell you that you have to quit your current lifestyle cold turkey and do what she says. She actually advocates moving slowly from your current diet to a naked diet so it is not such a shock. How you do it is completely up to you. She gives you the basics to help you make your decisions intelligently. To her, there is no one right approach. Each of us is different and make changes in our own way and at our own pace. The important thing is that you know where you are headed and that you take the next doable step. If you persist, you will be eating naked and over-processed foods will be a thing of the past.
Now excuse me while I go check all the food labels in my house and clean out all my cupboards. I need to make a new shopping list.