I’ve heard that if you ever visited a slaughterhouse and watched animals actually being butchered, it would be enough to stop you from eating meat, possibly, for good.
There is a lot of the same type of genuine, shock value in reading Eat This, Not That by Rodale Press (2011 Edition).
The book advertises itself (right on the cover) as the “No-Diet Weight Loss Solution” but that’s not perhaps the most interesting or informative reason to get the book. As with former editions, what Eat This, Not That does, is offer literally thousands of easy food swaps at restaurants, fast food joints, at the supermarket, and even choices just for children, that can save enough fat, sugar, calories, and a whole lot of other things your body neither wants, nor needs to really make a difference. without sacrificing taste, or making you feel hunger pangs.
In our culture a little junk food, fast food, and chain restaurants must inevitably fall. For example, my husband and I have a country home, and more often that we’d like to admit, we’re hungry on that 2-2 1/2 hour drive there and back. The choices are usually chain restaurants or fast food joints. That’s all there is, so the decision comes down to picking one that will be the least harm to our health and diets. and once that is decided, selecting foods from the menu that will be tasty but responsible. What’s great about Eat This, Not That, is that it shows you healthier (if not exactly healthy) choices in the most popular chain restaurants and fast food establishments, so you can go into these places, “armed” with information. Each choice is shown in full color, with lots of additional information about the food, the restaurant, and things that you really should avoid unless you want gut-busting fat, sugar, sodium and calories as a side-effect.
For sheer entertainment value, I enjoyed reading about the 20 worst foods in America (in popular chain restaurants). These are all so bad, you wonder why anyone would choose them and eat them. Alas, the food industry really doesn’t care if you get fat, or get diabetes, or high blood pressure, or anything else that could harm you. And it’s your choice to go into these places and eat a gut-busting meal. But the hopeful news is that armed with information, you can do less harm and enjoy a decent meal, too.
Another thing I have food surprising, and very helpful, is that the book shows you that merely thinking you’re making a lean choice, doesn’t mean you are. As I perused the book, I often picked what I thought would definitely be the leaner, healthier choice — the one I’d be most likely to choose to be “responsible” when I had to eat fast food, and was shocked to discover that the grilled chicken sandwich or salad or whatever, really isn’t the one that is the leanest choice! For example, at Boston Market, the Rotisserie Chicken Salad Sandwich tops 1,040 calories, 60 g fat, and 1,780 mg of sodium, but the Beef Brisket, Green Beans and Dill Potatoes meal (which I thought for sure would be much heavier and more caloric) comes in at just 480 calories, 27 g of fat and 560 mg of sodium. The restaurants and fast food chains voluntarily provide the nutritional information, so you can be assured of what you’re getting. Another thing that is very helpful are the “liner notes” that tell you how food is prepared (e.g. the Outback bathes everything in butter, but you can ask for it “light style” and save a ton of calories and fat). And I love the “Weapons of Mass Destruction” that could put you off your feed, forever. Now that you know Uno Chicago Grill Mega-Sized Deep Dish Sundae packs a wallop of 2,800 calories, 136 g fat. and enough sugar to eat 18 Breyers Smooth and Dreamy Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Sandwiches, would you really order it and eat it all? Really?!
Eat This Not That also “rates” the restaurants and chains overall from A to F (you can see a list of the ratings for free on the Men’s Health Web Site)
Making informed choices doesn’t end at the fast food joint, it is just as confusing at the supermarket, too. I was shocked that some of my favorite “go to” foods, even the “lite” and “diet” and “reduced sodium” kind, are seriously bad for your health. Low sodium is not the same as reduced sodium. Reduced fat is not the same as low fat. Maybe I shouldn’t eat prepared foods, but I often do when I’m tired or too busy (or lazy) to cook. Diet foods that I thought were low calorie, had a lot of other things, like fat, sugar and sodium, that really make them unhealthy. Many of these are fairly low in calories,but the sodium content in most if not all of these prepared meals is astronomical. If you suffer from high blood pressure, these meals are potential killers in a cardboard container. And there are other hidden gut-busters as well. A Lean Cuisine Sweet & Sour Chicken entree, for example, is only 300 calories, but it has almost as much sugar in it as a package of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (no wonder we’re getting fatter without realizing it). Ironically, when it comes to candy bars, however, Reese Peanut Butter Cups come out as a winner in the healthier candy bar contest, with 210 calories and 19 g of sugars.
While I’m still planning to use prepared foods for convenience, I have been shocked into realizing that what sits on the grocery shelves, luring me into a comfort zone of “health,” can also be sabotaging my efforts. And when it comes to grocery shopping, there’s a section just for parents and kids about how to make better choices, with advice such as “eat the rainbow” (of colors: fruits and veggies).
Although there are a lot of chain and fast food places represented in Eat This Not That, not all of them are in the book. But there are enough popular ones represented, so you can get a reasonable chance of finding something to eat that won’t bust your diet to bits when you go out to eat in these places. While the supermarket choices represented may not be items you eat, the information starts to hit home, that you can, and must, read labels carefully. Hopefully you don’t eat a lot of prepared foods and eat too much fast food, but when you are going to indulge, you can at least use Eat This Not That to help make a better, if not good, choice.
Eat This, Not That is a must-have for every household, and especially for parents. I love this book! Get two” one for your home, and one for your car.
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