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Does anyone remember the original 'Food Facts'? They were pieces of punchy public information produced by the wartime food ministry to help us feed ourselves better by, inter alia, exploiting 'alternative' protein sources. They worked very well (look at me now!) and so it's fitting that Jane Inglis' excellent book should follow in such illustrious footsteps.
In most food books, protein (singular) turns up as 'nature's building blocks' and you'd think it could only be got from meat, fish, cheese and eggs and you could never get too much of it. Inglis first shows us the diversity of proteins (plural) within our bodies before going on to an equally diverse range of sources-from which we never need more than 56 grams of protein a day. We soon discover that we can get this from cereals and vegetables as well as from animal products-a two ounce egg contains only a little more than the same weight of brown bread-and that a mixture of proteins is better than any single sort. The point that growing cereals and pulses actually produces far more protein per acre than does growing meat is convincingly made and leads naturally to a straightforward look at world food-patterns and the likely planetary benefits of a meat-free diet.
Digestion is all about how guts work and how to look after them. Again, it is very sensible. Ulcers, diabetes, cancer and anorexia are all discussed as calmly as are basic dietary requirements and it's especially gratifying to see a page devoted to the irritable bowel which troubles one in three of us. All readers should emerge with less irritated bowels and I can see this book being particularly helpful to teenagers with a growing number of food and health decisions to make.