A pleasure for foodies and a fine gift for anyone who prizes a good meal—but maybe not if that person works for General...

FOOD RULES

AN EATER'S MANUAL

What should you eat? How should you eat it? Pollan, doyen of all things food-related, serves up the answers in this jauntily illustrated version of his 2009 book.

Whether Kalman’s innocent, pleasantly goofy sketches (similar to those of Roz Chast) add much to the proceedings will be a matter for the beholder’s eye. Much more serious, even with a few playful moments, is Pollan’s text, which opens with a stinging denunciation of the state of nutrition science (it’s “today approximately where surgery was in the year 1650”). And what should we eat? The author’s answer is simple on its face: food. The answer takes on complexity as his rules elaborate on it: Food, by his reckoning, has fewer than three ingredients of which sugar is not the first, is mostly vegetable and would be recognizable to your great-grandmother as, well, food. Much of the overprocessing, oversweetening and generally over-everything of our current diet, writes the author, is a fairly recent development. Pollan finds good guidance in the grandmotherly saw, “Better to pay the grocer than the doctor,” and he advises paying more for better food and getting away from the problematic Western diet that yields so much obesity, heart disease, diabetes and kindred maladies. He recommends the wisdom in the French Je n’ai plus faim, “I’m not hungry anymore,” as opposed to the English “I’m full.” (You want healthy? Then eat to 80 percent of capacity. Don’t get full.) But Pollan usually avoids preachiness, and he closes with the most welcome admonition of all—to let down your guard every now and again and have some fun with a piece of pizza or greasy fistful of cheeseburger.

A pleasure for foodies and a fine gift for anyone who prizes a good meal—but maybe not if that person works for General Mills or in the advertising biz.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-59420-308-4

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2011

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Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...

THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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Useful but disappointingly commonplace tips.

A SHORT GUIDE TO A LONG LIFE

In a follow-up to The End of Illness (2012), which explored how technological advances will transform medicine, Agus (Medicine and Engineering/Univ. of Southern California) restates time-tested but too often overlooked principles for healthy living.

The author outlines simple measures that average citizens can take to live healthier lives and extend their life spans by taking advantage of modern technology to develop personalized records. These would include a list of medical tests and recommended treatments. Agus also suggests keeping track of indicators that can be observed at home on a regular basis—e.g., changes in energy, weight, appetite and blood pressure, blood sugar and general appearance. He advises that all of this information be made available online, and it is also helpful to investigate family history and consider DNA testing where indicated. Along with maintaining a healthy weight, Agus emphasizes the importance of eating a balanced diet, with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and a minimum of red meat. Avoid packaged vitamins and food supplements, and if possible, grow your own vegetables or buy frozen vegetables, which will generally be fresher than those on supermarket shelves. The author also warns against processed foods that make health claims but contain additives or excessive amounts of sugar or fat. Regular mealtimes and plenty of sleep, frequent hand-washing and oral hygiene are a must; smoking and excessive time in the sun should also be avoided. Agus recommends that adults should consider taking statins and baby aspirin as preventative measures. He concludes with a decade-by-decade checklist of annual medical examinations that should be routine—e.g. blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol screenings, from one’s 20s on; colonoscopies, prostate exams and mammograms later—and a variety of top-10 lists (for example, “Top 10 Reasons to Take a Walk”).

Useful but disappointingly commonplace tips.

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4767-3095-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2013

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