Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Library Foodie Finds

I love cookbooks. I read them like some people read mystery novels, trashy romance, or the newspaper. I have to hold myself back from purchasing every alluring cookbook that piques my interest. The best way to deal with my bibliophile tendencies is to check books out at the library to see if they're worth owning.

Here's a few reviews of some of the books I picked up today:

The Baby Food Bible by Eileen Behan; My take so far, from skimming through the book is that the author is well-meaning (she mentions the ubiquity of food advertising as a deterrent to eating healthily), but ultimately ignorant of critical factors in nutrition. Of the recipes I saw, many include white flour (a nutrition "expert" should be well aware that no one needs white flour in their diet, much less a baby), cheap industrial oils like "margarine", which the author does not explain is high in dangerous trans-fats, and the recipes call for processed foods like "vanilla cookies or graham crackers". Yikes. The author also dismisses concerns about phytic acid found in nuts, seeds and whole grains and the link to nutritional deficiencies. I don't see the point of reading the book any further. The Baby Food Bible is going back to the shelves of the Minneapolis Public Library, where hopefully new moms wishing to read about infant nutrition will not find it.

Cooking for Baby by Lisa Barnes: Aesthetically this is a beautiful book. The importance of homemade, real food is stressed. The author doesn't include any dishes with wheat until the toddler recipes. She does mention that babies need fat, and points out that this includes saturated fats, not only vegetable oil fats. Then she says saturated fats should be limited after the age of two. It's hard for me to get past an erroneous comment like this, yet overall the book presents beautifully photographed meals made with real meat, veggies, whole-milk dairy foods and some whole grains. Most recipes do not contain anything processed. You could do much worse!

Ending the Food Fight by David Ludwig, MD, Phd: I've been seeing this book, which is a guide for feeding overweight kids healthier food that is low on the glycemic index, at every natural grocery store I shop at. I knew it might be about the supposed benefits of a low-fat diet, and it partially is. The author gives similar recommendations as the USDA's food pyramid; ie. lots and lots of grains (which according to this cardiologist cause weight gain and raise blood sugar, contributing to diabetes and metabolic syndrome, the very syndrome that Dr. Ludwig is trying to cure).

The book does a good job by informing readers that food manufacturers literally hire child psychologists to figure out how to cause kids to nag their parents for junk food. He suggests kids fill up on lots of veggies and few sweets, hich I think is good advice. If a child was mainly eating processed food products before this diet, I can see ho the diet Dr. Ludwig advises would be of great benefit. However, I believe he is really missing the mark by not coming right out and saying that refined foods aren't good for us, and that lots of processed grains, and other foods that are very high in carbohydrates, could be contributing to the weight gain many kids are suffering from.

I am sharing this post with Food Renegade's Fight Back Friday!


  1. Oh definitely! I got hooked on the Hip Chick's Guide to Macrobiotics when I got it from the library. Now I own 2 copies :-)

  2. Oh I'm SO glad for this post! I've just started researching making my own baby food for my little one on the way.

  3. congrats on the baby- the best book that I have found thus far on feeding a baby is Nina Plancks "real food for mother and baby", the caveat is that there are no fun pictures and recipes.