Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Non-Fiction: Just Tell Me What to Eat! by Timothy S. Harlan

You can barely turn on a television or open a newspaper anymore without reading about obesity: how its cutting a swath through the health of America. It almost seems that, as a culture, we’re out of control, and we just don’t know what to do. But doctor, former chef, professor, columnist and television personality Timothy S. Harlan offers up some answers in his new book, Just Tell Me What to Eat! (Da Capo).

Boiled down to its most essential bits, the problem is processed foods, says Harlan. The answer: foods that are real and good. This came to Harlan through interactions with his patients.
When I talk with them about eating healthier, they invariably say, “Tell me what to eat.”

Like most doctors, I reply, “Well, cut down on fats and saturated fat and eat fewer calories. Eat more fruits and veggies.” I show my patients lists of serving sizes of different foods …. We discuss the hype -- and pitfalls -- of popular fad diets. In short, I act like a doctor.

It was only after a patient said to me, for the third time, “No, no. Don’t tell me about all that! Just tell me what to eat!” that I finally understood that I need to respond like a chef.
What Harlan does is revolutionary… yet stunningly simple. Just Tell Me What to Eat! isn’t a diet plan or fad diet. It just looks at good, wholesome food and how to prepare it and what it’s made of and how it will manifest inside your body. Some of this is so common sense, it seems almost ridiculous. And yet -- obviously -- these are things that need to be said: look at labels. Think carefully about portion size. Measure your ingredients. Learn about what you put in your mouth.

I anticipate Just Tell Me What to Eat! will be more than just a how-to for many people. Great, easy to follow recipes indicate that this one should be added to many people’s cookbook shelves. If you have more questions than answers about diet and dieting, Just Tell Me What to Eat! is a terrific idea for your next stop.

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