Several weeks ago after I shared here author/activist Robyn O’Brien‘s TEDx talk, she graciously contacted me and offered to send me a copy of her book (with Rachel Kranz), The Unhealthy Truth: One Mother’s Shocking Investigation into the Dangers of America’s Food Supply–and What Every Family Can Do to Protect Itself.
The title accurately sums up the book. Basically, an ordinary over-achieving woman (another blond from Texas!) has kids, discovers that her youngest has a food allergy, starts a non-profit, and sets off to
learn more about change the food supply. What she discovers–and shares in the pages of this book–will rattle the nerves of pretty much every American who has looked askance at stuff on store shelves.
If you’re versed in what ails our food system–and parents of food-allergic kids come to learn this the hard way, then much of what she presents will seem familiar. Peanut allergies are spiraling out of control. Soy allergies are increasingly common. Aspartame creates memory lapses. Genetically modified foods are problematic. Synthetic food additives (like Red #40) can create behavioral problems in kids. Yet O’Brien (@unhealthytruth) has created a sufficiently engaging memoir to make this content chilling again–especially if you recognize elements of your own family’s experience in it. For folks new to the information, some of the content may be terrifying.
What I especially appreciated about the book is that in it O’Brien lays out an achievable, modest set of goals for families to embrace a healthier diet free of chemicals and other nasty things. Her suggestions are practical, manageable and doable–even in places where National Big Box “Organic” Chain Stores don’t set up shop. Keep in mind that this isn’t a preachy, Michael Pollan-style book excerpted for Saveur. This is a book written to inform ordinary Moms and Dads. And that, frankly, is the group that we most need to reach on this topic, our crippled food system.
Actually, the only negative thing that I can say about the book is this: Not enough people have read it–yet. It should be a staple among the suburban set, a call to action passed from new parent to new parent. But maybe this blog post–and the growing groundswell of support for the ideas expressed within the book’s pages–will help change that.
• Food Allergies Stir a Mother to Action (New York Times)
Red, White & Grew promotes the victory garden revival and other simple, soulful and earth-friendly endeavors as patriotic acts in an age of uncertainty. Interact with founder Pamela Price on Twitter and Facebook. Currently she’s documenting her experiences as a secular homeschooler at SlowBurbs.com.