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Jul 292009

By Ashley Phillips
Green Right Now

The Denim Diet: Sixteen Simple Habits to Get You into Your Dream Pair of Jeans by Kami Gray claims to be a “no-nonsense guide to a smaller you and a healthier planet.” While I would not go far to say that it is a guide to a healthier planet, it does provide a glimpse into an environmental approach to dieting.

This book would appeal to people who are unfamiliar with the benefits to eating organically, a great source for the newly green.

Gray explains what it takes to be certified as organic by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). It is also notes that just because food is labeled as “all natural” or “100% natural” does not necessarily mean that it is, because the term “natural” is not yet regulated by the Federal Drug Administration. Anything can be labeled as natural. Go beyond the label to look at the actual ingredients, Gray advises.

Since most people avoid organic food because of the cost, she also provides some money-saving tricks, like buying fruits in season and freezing them and buying store-brand organic foods, which are less expensive.

We have all heard the debate between good carbohydrates and bad carbohydrates. By now, most of us know that white is bad and wheat is good. Author Gray provide green reasons for eating wheat: Whole grains have not yet been processed, so instead of using the Earth’s resources to process them, we use our body’s energy to process whole grains. Better for the environment, and our health. Even better, the term “whole grains” has been defined by the FDA. All three parts of the grain must be present in the same relative proportion that they naturally exist in to qualify for that label. So consumers can trust this information on food products.

When most people think about environmentally conscious eating, they assume that eating meat is totally out. This is not true with The Denim Diet. Gray explains that there is a way to be an “ethical omnivore”. You can choose high quality meats without added chemicals, grass-fed beef (which don’t require antibiotics and aren’t fed grains that they can’t digest well) and fish that are more eco-friendly (varieties that have not been over-fished or caught using environmentally destructive methods).

The Denim Diet offers some eye-opening statistics that have the potential to sway some of those who are not concerned about the environment. But overall, the book is more focused on careful, healthful eating and will appeal to those who are curious about what they should be putting into their bodies — green or not, so they can still fit in their jeans.

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