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Formerly Known As Food

How the Industrial Food System Is Changing Our Minds, Bodies, and Culture

Kristin Lawless

St. Martin's Press

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ISBN10: 1250078318
ISBN13: 9781250078315


336 Pages



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If you think buying organic from Whole Foods is protecting you, you're wrong. Our food—even what we're told is good for us—has changed for the worse in the past 100 years, its nutritional content deteriorating due to industrial farming and its composition altered due to the addition of thousands of chemicals from pesticides to packaging. We simply no longer know what we’re eating.

In Formerly Known as Food, Kristin Lawless argues that, because of the degradation of our diet, our bodies are literally changing from the inside out. The billion-dollar food industry is reshaping our food preferences, altering our brains, changing the composition of our microbiota, and even affecting the expression of our genes. Lawless chronicles how this is happening and what it means for our bodies, health, and survival.

An independent journalist and nutrition expert, Lawless is emerging as the voice of a new generation of food thinkers. After years of "eat this, not that" advice from doctors, journalists, and food faddists, she offers something completely different. Lawless presents a comprehensive explanation of the problem—going beyond nutrition to issues of food choice, class, race, and gender—and provides a sound and simple philosophy of eating, which she calls the "Whole Egg Theory."


Praise for Formerly Known As Food

"We take 'food' for granted. But Kristin Lawless has done a thorough job of describing how so much of what we eat doesn't qualify as 'food'—and the terrible, sometimes catastrophic effects that transition has had (and will have) on our bodies and our planet. A stirring call to action to improve the awareness and ultimately health of all of us."—Mark Bittman, author of How to Cook Everything

"This insightful book provides critical, transformative, and scientifically supported opportunities to restore our society’s health."—Dr. Binoy K. Singh, Associate Chief of Cardiovascular Medicine, Northwell Health, Lenox Hill

"In this revelatory survey of the dangers of the industrial food system, Lawless offers crucial tools for navigating it safely. The best ones have nothing to do with shopping advice: she asks us to think holistically about food, why it can't be separated from other struggles for justice, and what it means to demand transformative change."—Naomi Klein, author of No Is Not Enough and This Changes Everything

"Lawless takes us where few food critics dare to go. She shows how society can prioritize the time and other resources for all to eat well, from breastfeeding to healthy old age, over the corporate interests of Big Ag and Big Food."—Selma James, author of Sex, Race, and Class

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Kristin Lawless

KRISTIN LAWLESS (previously published as Kristin Wartman) is the author of Formerly Known As Food and an independent journalist focusing on the intersections of food, health, politics, and culture. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Newsweek, VICE, Huffington Post, and Civil Eats, as well as in academic journals, such as The Black Scholar, Critical Quarterly, and The New Labor Forum. Kristin is a Certified Nutrition Educator and works as a nutrition consultant with doctors in New York City. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son.

Carin Backoff