“The Unhealthy Truth” and My Three Take-Aways

I recently finished reading The Unhealthy Truth by Robyn O’Brien.  Although I’m a pretty fast reader, it took me awhile because, quite frankly, that whole thing was unsettling and I chose NOT to read it right before bed.   (I opted for some cheesy fiction in that slot.)  Anyway, I carefully read it and digested it and had plenty of time to think about it all.  If you’ve not read it, I would recommend it, if for no other reason than it will make you think.  Even if you finish it, put it down, and haven’t changed your mind about a thing, I think it’s still worth your time.  I am an ever-learner, so I always appreciate other people’s angles (as long as they’re not vicious or oppressive about it.)


Here are MY three take-aways from the book and some changes I’m going to try to slowly implement around here:


1.  Growth hormones aren’t just in milk.  I feel downright silly admitting this, but it somehow never occurred to me that I should be checking my cheese to be sure it was rBGH-free, even though I’ve been checking my milk for years.  Happily, it turns out the stuff my hubby was grabbing at Costco already is… but I’ll be more vigilant in my label-reading now.


2.  I’m annoyed about GMO’s.  I really am.  This whole process of “playing God” with what we grow makes my skin crawl.  We people are famous for this.  When will we learn that just because we CAN do something doesn’t mean we SHOULD?  Even though I cook almost everything from scratch and do not rely on much in the way of convenience foods, I’m also not yet in a place where I believe I can realistically eradicate anything genetically modified from my diet.  That’s not the current goal.  But, by being more aware of what’s going on, I can make more informed choices.  Really, I think if more of us are simply doing that– making informed choices– THAT will be tremendous progress.


3.  And, finally, aspartame.  That lovely calorie-free artificial sweetener.  My kids don’t consume it– never have.  (At least not to my knowledge!)  My husband can’t stand it in soda, but will drink it in Crystal Light form.  Me?  I love diet cola.  I really do.  I don’t drink much of it, but, when I do?  I really, really like it.  I cannot STAND regular cola because I feel like it coats my tongue (probably does, with all that HFCS in it).  I’m fortunate in that I am not one of those people who gets headachy or sick after consuming aspartame.  But, while I’m not ready to jump on the “it’s poison!” bandwagon, I’m going to try to ease it out of my diet.  I like seltzer, so that’s an easy substitute.  I also bought a bottle of this stuff for if I have a “sweet” craving (it’s made with sugar and doesn’t feel as “thick” to me).  We’ll see how it goes.



There is a LOT more to read about in there.  I probably could have skipped the whole last “what to cook for your family section” because, really, O’Brien admits she’s not a cook and she’s not kidding. ;)   But I’m glad it’s in there– for the family who feels overwhelmed and is currently relying on a drive-thru, it could be just the kind of plan they need.   So it’s all good.


There is a ton of information pertaining to food allergies (we are fortunate to not have these in our family) and also artificial colors.  Even the sections that sort of  “didn’t apply” to my family were interesting to me.  It makes me think about how food is affecting all the kids at my children’s school… I wonder how many behavior problems, skin conditions, chronic infections, etc, etc, could be resolved by different choices.  (Notice I said different not better– I don’t think there’s anything to be gained from playing a superiority game here.)


I’ll let you know how it all goes– to be honest, none of the changes I’m seeking to make are too difficult or dramatic, but I’m still happy to taking some baby steps forward.


How about you?  Have you read this book?  Or another fascinating book regarding diet?  Did it inspire any changes in how you approach food?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments.


(There are NO affiliate links in this post, just so you know.  Amazon fired me awhile back for living in CT. ;)  I got the book from the library and would encourage you to do the same!)



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8 comments to “The Unhealthy Truth” and My Three Take-Aways

  • Amazon fired you for living in CT?? Well, that’s intriguing. What’s wrong with CT??

    My eating choices suck, I know, but I’m not feeding kids everyday. Funny, we do a lot for our children that we don’t do for ourselves. Well, at least I did.

    • Well, it’s not really that Amazon has a problem with Connecticut as it is with our governor. Has to do with tax laws and all that jazz– Connecticut’s governor thinks our state should collect sales tax if I act as an affiliate for Amazon. I was super mad the day I found out but, well, I’ve gotten over it. ;)

  • I’m not really the most natural eating person, but I just cannot stand the taste of aspartame. I love my “real” Coke ( ;) ) and the diet version just tastes funny to me. The book sounds intriguing even for someone like me who’s not really all that conscious of what goes into my food.

    • I think you would enjoy the book, Miranda. It’s nice that the author comes at it from a very “average” place– soda-drinking, processed food eating, bright dyed yogurt buying and all. It’s more approachable than some things written by people who just yell at you all the time. ;)

  • Celine

    I love me some local Avery’s Soda. Too bad I can’t afford it as an every day beverage. There is definitely something about local made soda using real sugar and being able to talk to the people making your soda. Plus who can pass up all the wonderful and interesting flavors they come up with.

    I will stick with the “real” soda HFCS and all.

  • So I feel kind of dumb it never occurred to me to check all dairy products for growth hormones…duh. I loathe aspartame. I buy pepsi throwback when available (real cane sugar) but happily drink the HFCS the rest of the time (I assume drink fountains in restaurants are serving HFCS). It’s dumb since I am actively seeking to eliminate HFCS elsewhere. The GMOs… I think if you eat anything made with American made soy you can not avoid gmos. I am not very deeply informed about GMOs. On the surface I am opposed, but we get honeycrisp apples whenever possible. These are not heirloom, so does that make them gmo? I don’t know. Also all the gmo crops that are gmo-ed to be drought resistant and whatnot seem pretty helpful in the 3rd world, but I feel kind of evil saying that gmo food is good enough for the starving but not for my kid. Perhaps if we all stopped eating meat and feeding our non-gmo grain to feed animals we could feed the whole world non-gmo food. But…in similar to my HFCS hypocrite fashion we eat meat. I’ll put this book on my library list.

    • It’s a good book, Heather. If for no other reason than it does make you think about some stuff. As far as the apples– my understanding is that there is a huge difference between the type of cross-breeding that farmers have been doing for generations (to create tastier/bigger/firmer/whatever produce/animals) and actually genetically modifying things. Genetic modification involves forcing things in ways that could never, ever conceivably happen in nature… like injecting pesticide into a cell via a virus. Craziness. (I am no expert and I could be a little wrong in this description– hoping I won’t get lynched in my own comments! ;))

  • [...] over a year ago now, I read a book that made me question my diet soda-drinkin’ ways. I decided that, while I was not yet [...]

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