Help me find a well-researched book on the organic food movement
May 8, 2012 7:28 PM   Subscribe

Looking for a thoughtfully-researched book about organic food and/or breast cancer as a Mother's Day gift

Long story short, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer last year and is happily transitioning from the acute treatment phase to the monitor-for-recurrence phase. She loves non-fiction books and recently, after some comments from her oncologist, has been on an "organic" kick, if not in practice ("The milk is so expensive!") at least in interest. I know that she's watched Food, Inc. and a few other documentaries in that vein recently. I'd like to get her a book or two for Mothers' Day somewhat related to the topic; if they touch on research on how agricultural practice and food processing correlates with/ might affect cancer incidence, even better.

Here's the thing- while my mom is *exceptionally* intelligent, when it comes to inspirational/ self-help/ sensational scientific claim sorts of things, I'm not sure she uses her critical thinking skills before buying in. I often get phone calls where she says things like, "I read about this man who lost a gazillion pounds in 4 weeks on a juice fast! What do you think about that for me?" even though she's diabetic and has gone to numerous nutrition education groups throughout the years. She must know by now that I'm going to say, "Mom, I don't need an MD degree (which I have, and might be why she's asking???) to know that plan is stupid, and neither do you." Nope, if Dr. Oz or the like says it, it must be true!

I know nothing on the topic of the organic food movement and don't have time to read any of these books before choosing one to gift. If the gift is coming from her *doctor daughter*, my mom will not pause to critically evaluate the claims inside. So I turn to the well-read minds of MeFi to recommend a book that is fair, critical, and well-researched as well as entertaining, and one that I won't be groaning about giving her when I get around to reading it myself! Thanks for the help!
posted by alygator to Science & Nature (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My first thought was the book (and / or movie) Living Downstream but I haven't read it and don't know whether it would be too on-the-nose about her own experience. It's not about organic food as such, but it is about the connection between cancer and the chemicals to which we expose our bodies.

Best wishes to your mom.
posted by gauche at 7:36 PM on May 8, 2012

Michael pollan's book on food--can't remember the title offhand--has been very well received.
posted by elizeh at 8:02 PM on May 8, 2012

End of Illness was pretty good and written by an Oncologist
posted by bkeene12 at 8:18 PM on May 8, 2012

Here's what I would recommend. None of them specifically address correlations with cancer incidence though.

Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.

Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma or In Defense of Food.

Mark Bittman's Food Matters.
posted by diogenes at 12:33 PM on May 9, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for all of your suggestions! I went with the 2 Michael Pollan books, which had looked like good contenders on my initial search too. The consensus clinched it. Hope she enjoys them!
posted by alygator at 10:07 PM on May 10, 2012

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