Marty Martindale

An Indispensable Guide for
Health-Conscious Food Lovers

By Sheldon Margen, M.D., and the
Editors of the University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter.

“Americans today have a greater variety of foods to  choose from than ever before – largely because of advances in agricultural methods, food storage and shipping,” says Margen. These improvements increase the cost of the produce we buy, thus making it wisest to know what we need and why. This way, you will experience your food for its maximum taste and nutritional value.

Wellness A to Z is a handsome, sturdy (popular priced) reference work for consumers of food. More than a handbook, this 640-page volume is not intended especially to serve those finicky about their food, but as an identifier, with simplifying charts, imaginative serving suggestions and clear, artful photography celebrating the beauty in food. This book has a forthright text book style, but it is not a book you want to shy away from.

  • The Contents are divided into four parts, each with color-coded page edges, plus an Appendix:

Eating for Optimal Health, findings on foods and disease prevention.

A guide to vitamins and minerals

Food groupings with beautiful pictorial identifiers

Major portion of the book, individual foods A to Z, Almonds to Yogurt

Appendix: How to Read a Food Label, a Cooking Glossary, Herbs & Spice Directory plus an easy-to-read Index

Section 1 discusses broad food groups, carbohydrates, fiber, antioxidants, cholestral, antioxidants, minerals, etc. A handy Guide to Phytochemicals lines out each and possible health benefits.

Section 2 breaks down each of the above, what each does, recommended levels, tips & facts and which foods you can find them in.

Section 3 discusses food families: vegetable families, fruits, poultry, seafood, dairy and ends with photographs of each family.

Section 4, the bulk of the book, with some 467 pages, is

color-coded orange, the foods themselves, A to Z. In Almonds, followed by Amaranth, the book supplies a brief history of the nut, a Nutrition Chart, Nutritional Profile, an In the Market section, where the types of almonds are described with pictures. The information follows with choosing the Best, “Preparing to Use,” and “Other Almond Products.” Serving Suggestions include using almond butter you make, almond meal for breading and in stews or chils, almond milk, toasting them for pasta dishes or pesto and stuffing fruits. These are not recipes but advice for your imagination.

More serving suggestions for other foods include, under Olives, making an olive paste with zest, olive oil and fennel seed and adding chopped olives to pilafs and baked rice dishes. In Pears A to Z, how about making pear butter, baked-stuffed pears, baked pears with various cheeses. Oysters A to Z, comes up with baking them with a crumb topping, poaching, grilling with barbecue sauce and stirring into almost-cooked risotto. Cooked chick-peas (garbanzos) bring the suggestions for: stuffing celery stalks with chick-pea puree seasoned with glack pepper and lemon juice, sprinkle the peas on pizza, add to stews and pasta sauces or make a soup by combining bean puree with buttermilk and ground coriander. The Sweet Potatoes section suggests including some in a white potato salad, add the shredded to meat mixtures, include in stews, add some to mashed white potato and combine some mashed with Parmesan to fill raviolis.

Anyone who believes a person is basically what s/he eats will appreciate having a copy of Wellness A to Z on hand throughout the year.

Marty Martindale

About Marty Martindale

Foodsite Magazine and Marty aim to help the cooking-challenged avoid dependence on others due to lack of cooking knowhow. We concentrate on quick breakfasts, portable lunches and “good-4-u” night meals. With readily available web translation, the magazine explains separate foods, a little of their history, their nutrition, suggested “go-withs,” serving ideas and links to foodsites with recipes.

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