Photo Credit: Shrimp farming in Aceh, Indonesia. Photo by Mike Lusmore/Duckrabbit, 2012 via Flickr.com user WorldFish

Island Press Staff Picks - Food, Genes, and Culture

Is paleo versus vegan the defining question of our time? Photo by Next TwentyEight, used under Creative Commons licensing. Is paleo versus vegan the defining question of our time? Photo by Next TwentyEight, used under Creative Commons licensing.

Today's pick, Food, Genes, and Culture, comes from our Editor, Emily Davis.

9781610914925I’ve begun to consider acquiring books about food and sustainability a personal health hazard. Reading endless research and analysis of our current food system can make you a little paranoid: what pesticides are on that apple? Did the chicken that laid that egg ever see sunlight? What is that hybridized wheat doing to my gut microbiome? That’s why I so thoroughly appreciate Food, Genes, and Culture: Eating Right for Your Origins by Gary Paul Nabhan. In the midst of all the confusion about how food impacts health, Nabhan takes us back to our roots. He examines the science of why food affects different individuals in fundamentally different ways. If you’ve ever wandered onto a nutrition site and been baffled by all the conflicting experiences—few political or religious debates rival the intensity of vegan versus paleo blog comments—Nabhan can offer you a new way of thinking about health. He argues that where and how your ancestors ate laid the DNA blueprint for how foods will affect you. This knowledge cannot only help individuals, but shape our policy approaches to pressing issues such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Whenever my head is spinning from the latest nutrition or environmental health study, I can turn to Nabhan for a little comfort food. Food, Genes, and Culture and all our other hardcover and paperback books are on sale for 50-70% off through tomorrow, September 30.