"Mindless Eating" Book Review

March 4, 2008

First, in regards to the 100 calorie packs I was discussing yesterday, I’d just like to say that Liz Jones reminded me of the impact that all of those packages have on the environment… “the additional packaging involved in producing them lasts for hundreds of years after that brief snack attack!” How true that is! There’s so much unnecessary waste involved when more and more packages are created. So if you need some more incentive to eat natural foods, there you go- fruits and vegetables will contribute to compost and ultimately help the environment, whereas once we’re done with them our pre-packaged foods will have the negative effect of harming the planet!

In other news, this weekend I read Brian Wansink’s Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, and it was incredibly insightful. Full of detailed studies and careful research, he’s included a variety of tips on how to eat less (or more), how to influence others to do the same, and how to deal with everyday obstacles that might hinder someone’s good intentions. In other words, it’s a goldmine for anyone who’s looking to adopt a healthier lifestyle. It’s also super easy to read and understand; none of this complicated jargon that is sometimes involved in books with tons of studies as examples. Reading a book that is written by a reputable author is a plus as well: Brian Wansink is a food psychologist and he’s the Director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab. He’s (in his own words) “conducted over 250 studies, written over 100 academic articles, and made over 200 research presentations to governments and governors, to top universities and companies, to culinary institutes and research institutes”. Wow! That’s pretty impressive. He confesses in his book that he has a love of fast food and doesn’t cut it out of his life. His primary interest is in the pure psychology behind eating and how our cultures and societies differ and affect the way we eat, what we eat, and why we eat. Wansink goes on at length about interesting studies that he has done and gives out bits of information on the research he’s done; it’s an entertaining and enlightening read (and it’s not heavy reading, either- I finished it within 2 days).

Plus, I love the front cover. Any book with popcorn on the front cover catches my interest right away:)

By the way- he suggests that it isn’t at all necessary to become mindful of what we eat. Rather, he says, “We want it [the environment] to help us mindlessly eat less than mindlessly eat more.” That makes the whole task seem a lot less daunting if you don’t like the idea of having to pay attention to absolutely every food decision you make! Check out his book at http://www.mindlesseating.org/. If you’re anything like me you’ll find that tons of what he says totally applies to you too. Enjoy!

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