Book Review: Unjunk Your Junk Food

Admit it.  Most of us who consider ourselves slow-cooking enthusiasts, well-intentioned as we might be, well-stocked with staples as we are, sometimes buy (gasp) and eat junk food.  Homegrown and homemade may be the new food fad that's here to stay.  But we're all short on time. And many of us will never entirely give up cravings nurtured in childhood like the occasional cookie (if this post sounds a bit confessional, it is), especially if that cookie involves chocolate.

The book Unjunk Your Junk Food meets most of us right where we are:  rolling down the grocery aisle with five minutes to spare before our 3-year-old has a meltdown.  We know it's not ideal, but something processed and packaged, salty or sweet, will be thrown into our cart. 

Nutritionist Lisa Tsakos has teamed up with creative health and wellness advocates Andrea Donsky and Randy Boyer of to offer a real-life solution to America's junk food craving.  It's not another eat-your-vegetables book.  Instead, the book suggests so-called cleaner versions of the leading brands in everything from fruity kids' drinks to chips to candy.  It also defines common processed food ingredients and calls out some of the worst health offenders such as trans fats, artificial sweeteners and certain preservatives.

Why are trans fats so scary?  What's the alternative to candy with artificial colors? What really makes us crave all that chocolate?  The savvy grocery shoppers who put this together answer those questions and more.  They suggest ways to break the sugar habit, and list the more than 50 different pseudonyms used for sugar on food labels.

The book has a "worst ingredients chart" to clip and take along on shopping trips. But I'm inclined to take the entire book along.  It has colorful graphics and easy-to-read notes about all sorts of junk food that can help you learn to understand ingredient labels.  Get your copy of  Unjunk Your Junk Food here and learn more at at