“How to Be a Conscious Eater: Making Food Choices That Are Good for You, Others, and the Planet,” by Sophie Egan, Workman Publishing Company, 2020, $16.95.

How to Be a Conscious Eater by Sophie Egan had me chuckling and nodding my head in agreement and that was just the first paragraph. I appreciated the author’s common-sense approach and moderation. The book was informative and helped me to realize that I was not alone in how I approach food.

Rather than adhering to a specific diet, the author covers how to think about food overall. The book is divided into four parts: stuff that comes from the ground, stuff that comes from animals, stuff that come from factories, and stuff that is made in restaurant kitchens. Through these chapters, Ms. Egan gives readers a general framework for helping them make decisions about food.

Above all, the author encourages the reader to eat more plant-based foods. What is good for the planet is also good for you. This book introduced me to the Environmental Food Pyramid for the first time. It is the inverse to the traditional Food Pyramid. Those foods with a high suggested consumption are low on the impact they have on the environment. For example, both Pyramids recommend lots of fruits and vegetables. While a vegetarian diet has its merits, she does not suggest eliminating any food including meat.

One thing to note is that while organic regionally grown vegetables are great, the best vegetable is one that you will actually eat on a regular basis. Take small steps and grow from there. Good practical advice about making changes that will stick.

There is a lengthy discussion of the pros and cons of meal kits which I had not thought that much about. Also Ms. Egan discusses the nutritional labels on food packages, which I had expected. Not as expected was a chapter on how to read the front of a food package.

At the end of the book there is a list of trusted sources so that the reader can investigate further. There is also a glossary of terms and acronyms that I found useful.

Whether one eats for personal health or the health of the planet (or both), this book is filled with timely information written with good humor that is approachable and easily absorbed.

Check this title out as an eBook through the Sunflower eLibrary with your Emporia Public Library card.

(2) comments


This is news? Seems more like opinion.

rbrooks Staff

"On the Shelf" is a longstanding book review column provided to The Gazette by the Emporia Public Library.

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