The following is a list of the books I have found myself reading over the past couple of years. You'll see a common theme, which is understanding the current systems of food growth, production, and distribution (something I learned almost nothing about during my formal nutrition education and training) and the effects of the current large-scale system on a wide range of concerns such as food security, health, economics, the environment, sustainability, and social justice.
They are not in any particular order:
Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines our Health and How to Fight Back, Michele Simon, Nation Books, 2006.
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, Michael Pollan, Penguin Press, 2006.
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver, Camille Kingsolver, Steven Hopp, Harper Collins, 2007.
The Revolution will not be Microwaved: Inside America's Underground Food Movements, Sandor Katz, Chelsea Green, 2006.
Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health, Marion Nestle, University of California Press, 2002.
Plenty: One Man, One Woman, and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally (Published as The 100 Mile Diet in Canada), Alisa Smith and J.B. Mckinnon, Harmony, 2007
Hope's Edge: The Next Diet for a Small Planet, Frances Moore Lappé and Anna Lappé, Tarcher, 2003
Diet for a Small Planet, Frances Moore Lappé. I think my current copy was purchased ~1980. My first copy, purchased in 1975, literally fell apart from use. I finally had Ms. Lappé autograph my second copy, which is held together by rubber bands, in 2003.
I may have forgotten a few books that I have read. I'll add them later if I think about them. Yep, here are two being added that I have also read or seen:
Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser, Harper Perrenial, 2005.
Super Size Me, the movie, Morgan Spurlock, 2004.
Plus I know there are other books in this same vein still to read. However, all these books have overlaps in that somehow a Twinkie has become an easily available, affordable, and tasty "food", while fresh and locally-produced fruits and vegetables play second fiddle (if they are even in the orchestra at all). Something (in fact many things) are clearly wrong with this picture, and the ripple effects from the Twinkie being elevated to food status are clearly becoming visible and are clearly detrimental.
I am still reading and thinking, thinking mostly about how I can continue to impact (i.e., improve) cancer survivorship with an emphasis on food and nutrition. Some of my thoughts leap to the other end of the spectrum, thinking that the best way to help the ever-increasing group of cancer survivors is to focus instead on how I can help with improving awareness and access to affordable, healthy, and delicious locally grown foods, thus leading to cancer prevention and improved cancer survivorship in the future. It is a daunting task to think about the big problem. However, as I am reading, thinking, and meditating, I know a clearer path will be shown for how I may help in this way. It may not be something "big", indeed it likely will be somthing small. However, I'll repeat the quote I used to sign off my very first blog posting:
"No one could make a greater mistake than he who
did nothing because he could do only a little."
• Edmund Burke (1729 - 1797)
Please feel free to share comments about what books you are reading that are meaningful to you!
Diana Dyer, MS, RD