Today's consumers want to know what goes into the foods they eat and the products they use, and they want to make sure what they consume is good for their bodies and not harmful to the earth. To help them, Reader's Digest will publish updated editions of two of its popular books: Homemade: 707 Products to Make Yourself to Save Money and the Earth, in February; and Foods That Harm, Foods That Heal: What to Eat to Beat Disease and Live Longer, in April. These books offer readers resources to make informed decisions about how to live healthy lifestyles.
According to Andrea Au Levitt, the Reader's Digest senior editor who oversaw both books, "Foods That Harm, Foods that Heal is for the food-savvy, health-conscious consumer who wants to expand his or her repertoire of fresh and nutritious foods." It is a guidebook to healthy eating and to the medicinal properties of foods; this edition includes 60 recipes. The first section is a general reference text on how foods affect the body, with detailed write-ups of many kinds of sugars, fats, proteins, and vitamins. The second section devotes chapters to particular foods, from acorn squash through zucchini, detailing their particular harmful and helpful powers. Passion fruit, for instance, supports vision and bone health and boosts the immune system. Finally, chapters devoted to particular ailments explain how various foods and ways of eating them can help or hurt those affected—did you know that alternating fasting and feasting has been shown to help jet lag?
Homemade shows readers how to make all kinds of foods and household products that are usually bought at a store, from beauty and cleaning supplies to cat food. Au Levitt says it "appeals to folks drawn to the maker movement, with its emphasis on thriftiness, environmental friendliness, and natural foods and goods." From common items like ketchup to surprising ones—such as a garlic-based repellent for pesky possums—Homemade contains simple recipes that will enable readers to know exactly what's in the things they eat and use. Au Levitt points to the recipes for household cleaners—even something as simple as a crust of bread is effective at removing fingerprints from wallpaper—as particularly good examples of items that can be easily made at home and "can save you a lot of money and reduce exposure to any chemicals in commercial cleaners." She also says she was surprised to learn, in the process of editing the book, that even lollipops and glue can be made at home.
Both updated books underwent rigorous research and editing. For Foods that Harm, Foods that Heal, Reader's Digest enlisted the help of Fran Berkoff, a consulting dietitian with over 35 years' experience, and Joe Schwarcz, director of the McGill University Office of Science and Society, both of whom worked on the original edition of the book. "Because so much new research continues to be published on the health effects of various foods and nutrients," says Au Levitt, "we wanted to make sure we were reflecting the latest nutritional science in our recommendations."
When Reader's Digest published the original U.S. edition of Homemade a decade ago, it was such a success that it was subsequently published in many other countries. The new edition is packed with new information and four-color photographs. "As the maker movement continues to appeal to younger audiences, we felt this was a good opportunity to reintroduce the book with a fresh look," says Au Levitt.
Reader's Digest will be promoting both books on its own platforms as well as conducting a radio tour. Au Levitt hopes these books will enable all kinds of readers to take control over new aspects of their lifestyles: "It really doesn't have to take a lot of time or special equipment to make your own foods and other household products, so don't be intimidated by any of the recipes."