The First 1,000 Days

The First 1,000 Days: A Crucial Time for Mothers and Children – and the World by Roger Thurow

RJ 216 .T48 2016

“‘Your child can achieve great things.’

A few years ago, pregnant women in four corners of the world heard those words and hoped they could be true. Among them were Esther Okwir in rural Uganda, where the infant mortality rate is among the highest in the world; Jessica Saldana, a high school student in a violence-scarred Chicago neighborhood; Shyamkali, the mother of four girls in a low-caste village in India; and Maria Estella, in Guatemala’s western highlands, where most people are riddled with parasites and moms can rarely afford the fresh vegetables they farm.

Greatness? It was an audacious thought, given their circumstances. But they had new cause to be hopeful: they were participating in an unprecedented international initiative designed to transform their lives, the lives of their children, and ultimately the world. The 1,000 Days movement, a response to recent, devastating food crises and new research on the economic and social costs of childhood hunger and stunting, is focused on providing proper nutrition during the first 1,000 days of children’s lives, beginning with their mother’s pregnancy. Proper nutrition during these days can profoundly influence an individual’s ability to grow, learn, and work – and determine a society’s long-term health and prosperity.

In this inspiring, sometimes heartbreaking book, Roger Thurow takes us into the lives of families on the forefront of the movement to illuminate the science, economics, and politics of malnutrition, charting the exciting progress of this global effort and the formidable challenges it still faces: economic injustice, disease, lack of education and sanitation, misogyny, and corruption.”
– publisher description

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Soda Politics

Soda Politics: Taking on Big Soda (and Winning) by Marion Nestle

TP 630 .N47 2015

“Sodas are astonishing products. Little more than flavored sugar-water, these drinks cost practically nothing to produce or buy, yet have turned their makers – principally Coca-Cola and PepsiCo – into multibillion-dollar corporations with global recognition, distribution, and political power. Billed as “refreshing,” “tasty,” “crisp,” and “the real thing,” sodas also happen to be so well established to contribute to poor dental hygiene, higher calorie intake, obesity, and type-2 diabetes that the first line of defense against any of these conditions is to simply stop drinking them.

And yet soda companies produce and sell the equivalent of nearly two trillion 12-ounce servings of fountain or packaged beverages every year. How is this possible? In Soda Politics, Marion Nestle investigates the extraordinary effort that goes into making soda a ubiquitous part of your normal landscape, whether you live in Seattle or Sao Paulo. She reveals the tactics soda producers use to push their worse-than-useless products on an increasingly obese world: the billions of dollars in advertising spent each year to promote soda sales to children, minorities, and low-income populations, in developing as well as industrialized nations; the lobbying to prevent any measures that would discourage soda sales; the sponsored medical studies designed to make the science about sodas appear confusing; and the strategically donated money to foster goodwill and silence critics.

But Soda Politics does more than just diagnose a problem – it encourages readers to help find solutions. From Berkeley to Mexico City and beyond, advocates are successfully countering the relentless marketing promotion, and political protection of sugary drinks. Health advocacy campaigns are now the single greatest threat to soda companies’ profits. Soda Poltics provides readers with the motivation to take on Big Soda – and the tools to win.”
– publisher description

In Meat We Trust

In Meat We Trust

In Meat We Trust: An Unexpected History of Carnivore America by Maureen Ogle

TX 371 .O39 2013

“The moment European settlers arrived in North America, they began transforming the land into a meat-eater’s paradise. Long before revolution turned colonies into nation, Americans were eating meat on a scale the Old World could neither imagine nor provide: an average European was lucky to see meat once a week, while even a poor American man put away about two hundred pounds a year.

Maureen Ogle guides us from that colonial paradise to the urban meat-making factories of the nineteenth century to the hyperefficient packing plants of the late twentieth century. From Swift and Armour to Tyson, Cargill, and ConAgra. From the 1880s cattle bonanza to 1980s feedlots. From agribusiness to today’s “local” meat suppliers and organic countercuisine. Along the way, Ogle explains how Americans’ carnivorous demands shaped urban landscapes, midwestern prairies, and western ranges, and how the American system of meat making became a source of both pride and controversy.” – publisher description

The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet

The Big Fat Surprise

The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat & Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet
by Nina Teichoz

QP 751 .T47 2014

“In The Big Fat Surprise, investigative journalist Nina Teicholz reveals the unthinkable: that everything we though we knew about dietary fat is wrong. She documents how the low-fat nutrition advice of the past sixty years has amounted to a vast uncontrolled experiment on the entire population, with disastrous consequences for our health.

For decades, we have been told that the best possible diet involves cutting back on fat, especially saturated fat, and that if we are not getting healthier or thinner it must be because we are not trying hard enough. But what if the low-fat diet is itself the problem? What if the very foods we’ve been denying ourselves – the creamy cheeses, the sizzling steaks – are themselves the key to reversing the epidemics of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease?

In this captivating, vibrant, and convincing narrative, based on a nine-year-long investigation, Teicholz shows how the misinformation about saturated fats took hold in the scientific community and the public imagination, and how recent findings have overturned these beliefs. She explains why the Mediterranean Diet is not the healthiest, and how we might be replacing trans fats with something even worse. This startling history demonstrates how nutrition science has gotten it so wrong: how overzealous researchers, through a combination of ego, bias, and premature institutional consensus, have allowed dangerous misrepresentations to become dietary dogma.

With eye-opening scientific rigor, The Big Fat Surprise upends the conventional wisdom about all fats with the groundbreaking claim that more, not less, dietary fat – including saturated fat – is what leads to better health and wellness. Science shows that we have been needlessly avoiding meat, cheese, whole milk, and eggs for decades and that we can now, guilt-free, welcome these delicious foods back into our lives.” – publisher description

The Meat Racket

The Meat Racket

The Meat Racket: The Secret Takeover of America’s Food Business
by Christopher Leonard

HD 9415 .L46 2014

“The American supermarket seems to represent the best in America: abundance, freedom, choice. But that turns out to be an illusion. The rotisserie chicken, the pepperoni, the cordon bleu, the frozen pot pie, and the bacon virtually all come from four companies.

In The Meat Racket, the investigative reporter Christopher Leonard delivers the first-ever account of how a handful of companies have seized the nation’s meat supply. He shows how they built a system that puts farmers on the edge of bankruptcy, charges high prices to consumers, and returns the industry to the shape it had in the 1900s before the meat monopolists were broken up. At the dawn of the twenty-first century, the greatest capitalist country in the world has an oligarchy controlling much of the food we eat and a high-tech sharecropping system to make that possible.

Forty years ago, more than thirty-six companies produced half of all the chicken Americans ate. Now there are only three that make that amount, and they control every aspect of the process, from the egg to the chicken to the chicken nugget. These companies are even able to raise meat prices for consumers while pushing down the price they pay to farmers. And tragically, big business and politics have derailed efforts to change the system.

We know that it takes big companies to bring meat to the American table. What The Meat Racket shows is that this industrial system is rigged against all of us. In that sense, Leonard has exposed our heartland’s biggest scandal.” – publisher description

Bet the Farm: How Food Stopped Being Food

Bet the Farm

Bet the Farm: How Food Stopped Being Food by Frederick Kaufman

HD 9000.5 .K3725 2012

“In the last half decade, the world has seen two devastating spikes in the price of food, and a third may be on the way. In 2008 and 2010, farmers gathered record wheat harvests, yet more people starved than ever before – and most of them were farmers. How is that possible?

In Bet the FarmHarper’s magazine contributing editor Frederick Kaufman investigates the hidden connection between global food and global finance by asking the simple question: Why can’t delicious, inexpensive, and healthy food be available to everyone on Earth?

You will find his discoveries shocking.

Like a detective intent on solving a mystery, Kaufman travels from the corporate headquarters of Domino’s Pizza and Tyson Foods to Walmart’s sustainability research center, to mega-farms and organic farms and numerous genetic modification laboratories. Kaufman goes to Rome to the meeting of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, and finally ends up on Wall Street and the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, where he discovers the answer to the riddle. His investigation reveals that money pouring into the global derivatives market in grain futures is having astonishing consequences that reach far beyond your dinner table, including the Arab Spring, bankrupt farmers, starving masses, and armies of scientists creating new GMO foods with U.S. marketing and shipping needs in mind instead of global nutrition.

Our food is getting less healthy, less delicious, and more expensive even as the world’s biggest food companies and food scientists say things are better than ever and taht the rest of us should leave it to them to feed the world. Readers of Bet the Farm will glimpse the power behind global food and understand what truly supports the system that has brought mass misery to our planet.” – publisher description

Pandora’s Lunchbox

Pandora's Lunchbox

Pandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal by Melanie Warner

HD 9000.5 .W339 2013

“If a piece of individually wrapped cheese can retain its shape, color, and texture for years, what does it say about the food we eat and feed to our children?

Former New York Times business reporter and mother Melanie Warner decided to explore that question when she observed the phenomenon of the indestructible cheese. She began an investigative journey that took her to research labs, university food science departments, and factories around the country. What she discovered provides a rare, eye-opening – and sometimes disturbing – account of what we’re really eating. Warner looks at how decades of food science have resulted in the cheapest, most abundant, most addictive, and most nutritionally inferior food in the world, and she uncovers startling evidence about the profound health implications of the packaged and fast foods that we eat on a daily basis.

From breakfast cereal to chicken subs to nutrition bars, processed foods account for roughly 70 percent of our nation’s calories. Despite the growing presence of farmers’ markets and organic produce, strange food additives are nearly impossible to avoid. Warner digs deep into the ingredient lists of purportedly healthy foods, and what she finds will change the way readers eat – and how they feed their children.

Combining meticulous research, vivid writing, and cultural analysis, Warner blows the lid off the largely undocumented – and lightly regulated – world of chemically treated and processed foods and lays bare the potential price we may pay for consuming even so-called healthy foods.” – publisher description