Friday, July 3, 2009

The Unhealthy Truth by Robyn O'Brien - Review and Book Giveaway



I've suffered from allergy related issues nearly my entire life. In kindergarten, I ate a black-walnut cookie and almost immediately felt ill (that story here). Additionally, I end up with hives when I ingest certain antibiotics. Given my apparent sensitivities, I count myself lucky that I've never suffered an extreme reaction to an allergen. I'm especially watchful of signs of allergies in my children. This spring I applied some sunblock lotion to my one-year-old son and his face swelled up and turned red. His reaction scared the daylights out of me.

Robyn O'Brien knows exactly how it feels when your child has an allergic reaction. Out of the blue one day her youngest daughter had a severe reaction to scrambled eggs. Frightened about the possibility of more reactions and desperately wanting to find answers to her questions, O'Brien set out to learn as much as possible about food allergies. What she found shocked her:

"As I learned more about food allergies, I came to see our allergic kids as "canaries in the coal mine," warning us of problems that could affect the health of us all, whether we suffer from a specific allergy or not." - The Unhealthy Truth by Robyn O'Brien

Just recently I received a review copy of O'Brien's book titled, The Unhealthy Truth: How Our Food Is Making Us Sick - And What We Can Do About It. Robyn is passionate crusader in the food allergy world and founded AllergyKids to help raise awareness of food allergies in children. Her book details her research into food allergies and discusses the possible links to food engineering and the introduction of food additives and dyes into the food supply as a cause for an increase in childhood food allergies. Taking care to note several sources, she takes on the corporate world and chides the U.S. government for not doing enough to protect our children from toxins, citing that European countries have much stricter food regulations. And she offers helpful solutions for parents who want to make a change to a healthier, chemical free, more organic diet. The book is written in such a way that the average person can understand the basics of allergies and the science behind genetically altered food.

Like many moms, I do worry about what I feed my children. And like most time-strapped moms, I know how difficult it can be to put a healthy meal on the table. It seems far easier to use the pre-packaged, processed foods so readily available. However, some of the revelations in O'Brien's book certainly make me think twice about what I feed my family. I was very interested to learn about genetically modified foods (particularly soy). The corporate/government/medical world inter-relations also alarmed me. I like her 80/20 rule, where parents should aim for 80% of the diet to be healthy and realize that sometimes junk food (the 20%) is inevitable. I myself believe in variety and moderation. Yes, O'Brien is just a mom, not a medical scientist. But, her main goal is certainly a worthy one: to offer information, to empower consumers, and ultimately she hopes American parents make the shift toward a healthier, more organic diet. This is a worthwhile read for all parents and concerned consumers.
The Unhealthy Truth: How Our Food Is Making Us Sick - And What We Can Do About It by Robyn O'Brien and Rachel Kranz. Broadway Books (May 2009); 288 pages; ISBN 9780767930710
Source: Review copy provided by Broadway Books

Related links:
Robyn O'Brien - Author Website
AllergyKids Website
AllergyKids Blog

Win a copy! Thanks to Broadway Books (3) Brimful Curiosities readers will receive their own copy of The Unhealthy Truth.

To enter, leave a comment relevant to this post.

• For contact purposes, if you are a non-blogger or your email is not accessible in your blog profile, please leave a valid email address within the comment section.
• Contest is open to US only
• Contest ends on Monday, July 20th, 2009 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winners will be chosen at random and notified by email
Three ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 4):
1st extra entry: Follow Me! or subscribe by email or RSS reader
2nd extra entry: Blog about this contest then post your link in the comment section.
3rd extra entry: Follow me on twitter (iambrimful) and tweet about the contest.


91 comments:

rhapsodyinbooks said...

This sounds like a really important book, and way scarier in a way than those summer thrillers I read! Please enter me!

nbmars AT yahoo DOT com

Anonymous said...

I would be honored to support your work and sign the book for your giveaway. Your work is so important and your voice so powerful. Would you consider posting your review on Amazon for other mothers to see, as your heart speaks so eloquently as a mother!

With inspired hope,
Robyn O'Brien

Amy said...

Food supply issues are of high interest to me and since I just had a baby, I'm already worrying about feeding him. Have you read the Michael Pollan books?

Deborah said...

I've been trying a raw food diet lately, which means I don't have any of the additives in my food right now. I have to say that I feel better.

trishalynn0708 said...

Thanks for the chance for this book. I have been trying to feed my family better and this book sounds like a great thing. :)

I am already a follower. and I posted about the giveaway here.:

http://trishasbookshelf.blogspot.com/2009/07/giveaways-of-day.html

lovestoread0708(at)yahoo(dot)com

Suzanne said...

This sounds like a informative read! It's so interesting (and scary) to see what is really in our food! Would love to read this...please enter me in your giveaway!

Thank you,
Suzanne
quzy (at) mac (dot) com

Carlene said...

This book sounds so informative, I would like to read it and pass it on to my daughter. She is having problems with food allergies with my grandson. Please include me in your giveaway.
Thanks
Carlene
iluvreading(at)Verizon.net

Alice H said...

I loved your review. The idea of the 80/20 rule really strikes a chord with me. No sense feeling guilty about every piece of junk food. 80 percent is pretty good! Thanks for the chance - alicedemskehansen at gmail.com

Alice H said...

I subscribe via google reader - alicedemskehansen at gmail.com

bridget3420 said...

I would love to eat organic food all the time but I can't always afford to buy the healthiest stuff.

valerie2350 said...

http://sweeps4bloggers.blogspot.com/2009/07/brimfulcuriosities-unhealthy-truth.html

Beth said...

This looks fascinating! I'm always concerned about food contamination and such, especially after reading Jenny McCarthy's experiences with additives, etc.

BethsBookReviewBlog AT gmail DOT com

Beth said...

I'm a subscriber via Google Reader.

BethsBookReviewBlog AT gmail DOT com

suburban prep said...

What an informative book.
I have suffered from allergies for a great portion of my life. I'd love to know how to put them aside and have a happy and fulfilling life.
Sound like the book for me.

Upper West Side Writer said...

This sounds like a very interesting, informative read; I've been taken a much greater interest in my diet and how it effects my health. Thanks!

lesleymfan(at)gmail(dot)com

Upper West Side Writer said...

I already follow your blog on Blogger--thank you so much!

lesleymfan(at)gmail(dot)com

Upper West Side Writer said...

I already follow you on Twitter (username: uwsreader), and I Tweeted about this giveaway:

http://twitter.com/uwsreader/status/2483837782

Thanks!

lesleymfan(at)gmail(dot)com

Librarian Mommy said...

As a mom to two children with some food allergies this sounds like a must read for me! Thanks!

Simone


sloeffel@pipeline.com

Courtney said...

I'd like to read this. My two kids are really young, and I could learn a few things.

courtneytarver85 at yahoo dot com

Courtney said...

I follow you on twitter and tweeted:
http://twitter.com/quixiotic/status/2489072885
courtneytarver85 at yahoo dot com

TheEclecticElement said...

Ever since I got sick, I have been intolerant to a lot of food.
As of now, I have cut out wheat, dairy, gluten, anything unbleached, processed, culturized. No artificial anything and definitely no HFCS.
Of course it's not 100%, but I know when I eat better, I feel better and when I eat like crap, I feel like crap >.<

Thank you for this opportunity!

TheEclecticElement AT yahoo DOT com

TheEclecticElement said...

I follow and subscribe via email :D

TheEclecticElement AT yahoo DOT com

TheEclecticElement said...

I follow on twitter and I tweeted:

http://twitter.com/TheEclecticE/status/2490423826

TheEclecticElement AT yahoo DOT com

Lisanne624 said...

As far as I know, I don't have any food allergies, but I am concerned about food safety. It's scary what we don't know about what we're eating!

lahlstedt (at) gmail (dot) com

Dawn @Moms Inspire Learning said...

One of my children has food sensitivities, so I have a special interest in this subject.

Thank you for offering this giveaway, and for keeping us informed about other ones. I have subscribed to your blog via email.

ossmcalc said...

Actually, I could use this book for myself. I have lupus and RA and think that many times it is the food that I ingest that make them even more uncomfortable.

Thank you,

Christine

Nelsby said...

Due to some recent (and as yet unexplained) GI issues, I have been doing some experimenting with different foods on my own (eliminating some, adding others). I think this book would be EXTREMELY helpful in my quest!
Thanks!
Aimee
sierranelsby (at) gmail (dot) com

Nelsby said...

I am following your blog.
Thanks!
Aimee
sierranelsby (at) gmail (dot) com

Nelsby said...

I am following you on Twitter (user name: Nelsby) AND I Tweeted about this giveaway: http://twitter.com/Nelsby/status/2537828674
Thanks!
Aimee
sierranelsby (at) gmail (dot) com

Emily C said...

I'm terrified my boys will end up with allergies of some kind. I have a 2 year old and an infant.

Amy B. said...

This would be an interesting book to read, given my son's allergy to milk as an infant.

Thanks for the giveaway!
Amy B.
adennispac@yahoo.com

Amy B. said...

I'm a follower!
Thanks for the giveaway!
Amy B.
adennispac@yahoo.com

Misusedinnocence said...

I'm very concerned about what we put into our bodies. I'm a vegetarian but I know there's more I can do. I would love to read this.

misusedinnocence@aol.com

stampedwithgrace said...

I have one with allergies and would love to read something that might help her!

amweeks said...

This book looks very interesting. As a mom, I encounter the "what to feed my child" decisons every day. Being armed with as much information as possible is the best way for me to make those decisions!

amweeks said...

I follow on twitter & tweeted! http://twitter.com/amweeks/status/2560728600

Kim said...

I'm afraid this book would make me more paranoid than I already am.. but I'd still love to read it! :)

JamericanSpice said...

This is a very good book to have or i can even share with another parent who will need it too.

JamericanSpice said...

I blog here

http://jamericanspice.wordpress.com/2009/07/13/the-unhealthy-truth-by-robyn-obrien-review-and-book-giveaway/

Lisa said...

My family has many food allergies, I think we'll find this very helpful

A Reader said...

I would love to give this to my sister who has to adhere to a GF diet for her family.


Kimspam66(at)yahoo(dot)com

Debbie said...

if I don't win this one I just may have to go buy it. my cousin's baby has been through he... and almost died from food allergies. I would love to learn more and offer suggestions to her

would love to win this one!

dcf_beth(at)verizon(dot) net

Esme said...

have you read the Omnivore's Dilemna

chocolateandcroissants at yahoo dot com

pletchsr said...

I would like to be entered into the contest. I just read the book from the library and want a copy to circulate to all my friends and family..........

pletchsr at yahoo dot com..........
i also twittered it

JenniferB said...

I would really like to read this book I am always wondering whats in the food we eat

JenniferB said...

following on twitter and tweeted
http://twitter.com/jblanton41/status/2697656463

DCMetroreader said...

I've been trying to serve my family less processed, organic food. This book sounds like it would provide additional information to help me with this. Please enter me in this giveaway.


kimspam66(at)yahoo(dot)com

DCMetroreader said...

Listed under current giveaways here
http://metroreader.blogspot.com/

casey aubut said...

This wold be a good book for my family- both my kids have food allergies!
cassandra@aubut.net

Beth said...

I have 2 kids I'm trying to raise with healthy habits/lives and this would be an informative book to utilize.

surprizelady@hotmail.com

Laureen said...

This is such an important topic about which I often feel alone. I struggle against family members, including DH, while trying to provide the best food for my children. Awareness of our food reality is key to change. I would absolutely love to read this book and then kindly pass it on to my unaware friends and family. :) Thanks!

lmarston AT yahoo DOT com

Laureen said...

I follow you on Twitter (MamandeEDS) and tweeted:
http://twitter.com/MamandeEDS/statuses/2733498295

lmarston AT yahoo DOT com

Dina said...

I worry about what we eat, too - would love to read this book! aitmama (at) gmail (dot) com

Vera said...

It seems like everyday I hear about another food that causes cancer, or some other disease - pretty soon there will be left nothing left to eat!

Very interested in reading this book - vvperesk@gmail.com

Sugary79 said...

i would love to read this book. its so important to know what we put in our mouths, where it comes from, and the political and economical forces that affect what ends up on our plates. Movies/books like Supersize Me, Fast Food Nation and even Silent Spring from so many years ago, really are eyeopeners. Sugary79@aol.com

tina said...

looks like a really great book would love the chance to read and learn thanks for the chance eaglesforjack@gmail.com