Book Review: How Not to Die

hownottodie

I just finished reading How Not to Die, a book that uses scientific research to help explain how we can avoid dying from common diseases by improving our diet. Each chapter in the first half is dedicated to one disease or ailment: heart disease, lung diseases, digestive cancers, breast cancer, etc.

In the beginning of the book, Dr. Greger says he himself is not pushing some sort of vegan / vegetarian agenda, but all the evidence clearly points to plant-based diets as the answer to being healthy. Through reading the rest of How Not to Die, you’ll find this out yourself in a lot of detail, with footnotes and all. In fact, it seems like every other sentence has a footnote referencing a research study, which makes this information extremely convincing.

Although the book is quite dense, Dr. Greger’s writing is super clear and he explains even complex concepts well and in plain English. He also includes a lot of stories from his time working in hospitals and stories about his family, which make each chapter much more memorable and digestible.

Even though I consider myself to have above average knowledge of nutrition and health because I try to read about it, I still learned so much from reading How Not to Die. I have never highlighted so much text in a book before.

I didn’t just learn things related to food, but random facts about the human body. For example, eating fenugreek (a spice) can make your armpits smell like maple syrup! Can someone tell my boyfriend? I don’t think his deodorant is strong enough. JK.

I also learned about funky experiments you can do to check different aspects of your health, such as boiling red cabbage and pouring the liquid into the toilet after you pee to determine the pH!

Dr. Greger has a website called NutritionFacts.org where some of the content from the book can be found, along with more videos and podcasts. The cabbage pee test is on there too.

Project Meal Prep | How Not to Die

My favorite part of How Not to Die is the second half, which has simple little recipes and recommendations on what you should eat, such as the Daily Dozen. There’s even an app for that haha.

Some recipes are also on the Dr. Greger’s Pinterest page. I took notes and will be making some of them too, which I’ll post on my Instagram.

If you are at all interested in knowing how to live a long life while being as healthy as possible even in old age, I highly recommend reading this book. Getting sick isn’t just a thing that just happens to all people eventually for no reason, you can actively prevent it if you know how. Additionally, there’s so much wrong and misleading information put out into the world, a lot of it by food companies and food / drug industry leaders whose only motivation is to make money, and part of knowing how to keep yourself healthy is knowing the truth.

Lori’s Kitchen Nightmares

Project Meal Prep | Lori's kitchen nightmares
A terribly edited photo of my face superimposed onto Gordon Ramsey’s face

We’ve all had mishaps in the kitchen:

using the wrong ingredient

burning food

burning our fingers

cutting our fingers

Here are some that were particularly memorable for me:

1. Rubbing chili peppers into my face

I didn’t rub actual peppers into my face… it’s more like I was cutting peppers, washed my hands once, and then rubbed my face. It burned so much, I might as well have rubbed the seeds directly onto my face.

Washing your hands once is definitely NOT ENOUGH to get the spice off. Really, I should have been wearing gloves.

This happened to me twice, which shows how much I learned my lesson.

The first and worst time was with a Scotch Bonnet pepper, which is on the 3rd highest level of spice (on the same range as Habanero peppers). The second time was with a Serrano pepper.

I went crazy both times and tried anything to make the pain stop. I found the most relief in submerging my face into a bowl of iced milk and sticking my face under the tap running cold water for like 20 minutes.

Moral of the story: Wear gloves when handling hot peppers.

2. That time my mixer broke

“That mixer” being my Kitchenaid standing mixer, which is a couple of hundred dollars.

I forgot what I was making, but it required me to knead or mix for a while, so I left the mixer on and suddenly it stops. The motor feels hot, and when I try to turn it on again, it just makes a weird noise and doesn’t move.

I called Kitchenaid and they said you aren’t supposed to leave the mixer running for more than 4 minutes or something. I had to buy a new mixer, and was kicking myself about what I did.

Moral of the story: Don’t leave your mixer running for too long.

3. Melting a plastic spatula in the toaster oven

I pre-heated my toaster oven and walked away. Several minutes later, there’s a lot of smoke and a strong chemical smell coming from the kitchen. I had just moved, and for some reason there was a plastic spatula in the toaster oven!

There’s melted plastic inside the oven, and I’m worried I’m going to get cancer from inhaling all the fumes. To add to the chaos, my fire alarm also went off.

Moral of the story: Check if the oven is empty before turning it on.

4. Dropping one layer of a cake

Not too long ago, I had a second attempt at baking a layer cake. I was too impatient to wait for the cake layers to cool completely before frosting, so the frosting was melting a little.

I was carrying the frosted cake across the kitchen, and suddenly the top layer slid off the cake — due to the slickness of the melted frosting — and fell onto the floor.

Baking a layered cake requires quite a lot of time and effort, so I was on the verge of freaking out.

Moral of the story: Just freaking wait for the cake to cool completely before frosting.

5. Eating a rotten watermelon

One time I ordered groceries from a grocery delivery service called Instacart. In the “special instructions”, to make sure I got a good watermelon, I asked the shopper to pick the heaviest one.

Well, she did. It was really heavy. However, when I cut it open, it looked weird. I took a small spoonful of the juice, and it was the most disgusting thing I’ve ever tasted. I could have thrown up. The watermelon was rotten! I had temporary watermelon trauma afterward, where even thinking about watermelon made me feel sick.

Moral of the story: The heaviest watermelon is not always a good one!

6. Butter, butter, everywhere

This happened before I became a vegan. I was making pretzels by hand, because my mixer broke (see nightmare #2).

The recipe for the dough required you to blend a stick of butter with the dry ingredients, using your hands.

For the first few minutes, I was freaking out because there was just butter all over my hands and everywhere, and it seemed like it wasn’t ever going to become incorporated into dough. I told myself to just keep kneading and to believe in the recipe. Eventually, after 10-15 minutes, I actually had a smooth dough.

Moral of the story: Just keep kneading. And sometimes you don’t need a mixer. I mean, what did they do in the olden days, before electricity?

Do you have any particularly memorable kitchen mishaps?