Since talking with Vashon Island author Jo Robinson about her research into healthy food, I’ve found myself making different choices at the grocery store when shopping for dinner. Robinson’s book, “Eating on the Wild Side,” distills the scientific research on nutritious produce and grains — noting, for instance, that fresh asparagus contains surprisingly…More
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Jo Robinson’s revelations about food weren’t secrets, but they weren’t exactly common knowledge either: Purple carrots are more nutritious than orange ones. Tomatoes are better for you cooked than raw — and blueberries are, too. Dandelions, “the plague of urban lawns,” have eight times more antioxidants in their leaves than spinach.
Robinson, a Vashon Island resident, shares hundreds of such practical tidbits in “Eating on the Wild Side,” her well-received and highly readable new book on selecting and preparing the healthiest foods possible. Arguing that agriculture – not just in recent years, but over human history – has stripped many modern plants of their nutrients, she’s distilled information from sources as varied as the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the 1935 California Avocado Association Yearbook, and a long-classified 1951 government report on the effects of an atomic bomb explosion on corn seeds.
Robinson, who previously founded the Eat Wild national guide to finding grass-fed meat and dairy products, grew up in Tacoma and “imprinted” on Puget Sound. At home, she now oversees “the most beautiful garden plot I’ve ever had” – planted, naturally, with many of the varieties of vegetables and fruits she’s found to be the best-tasting and the best for our bodies. (The book includes recommended varieties for gardeners and farmers-market shoppers, from the historic Ozette potato to new Wild Treasure thornless blackberry.) She will speak at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, June 17, at Town Hall (Cost: $5). Check out her high-profile New York Times piece summarizing her research over here. Here’s an edited, condensed version of our phone conversation from earlier in her tour:More