Monday, November 30, 2015

Ditching the Drive Thru by J. Natalie Winch : A Review

BOOK TITLE: Ditching the Drive-Thru: How to Pass Up Processed Foods, Buy Farm Fresh, and Transform Your Family's Eating Habits on a Modern Mom's Schedule

AUTHOR: J. Natalie Winch

ISBN/ASIN: 978-1943015061

GENRE: Adult Non Fiction / Food and Healthy Living


FORMAT: Digital / PDF


HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: I thank Laura Fabiani of iRead tours for this review copy.


After an exhausting day at work, hitting the drive-thru or nuking a pre-fab meal is all too often the go-to decision for feeding a family. Cooking a meal from scratch using fresh ingredients can seem beyond the average person’s time, energy, or financial means. But with mounting evidence pointing to processed food and our industrial food system as the culprits behind many of our nation’s health problems—including obesity, diabetes, and cancer—it’s now more important than ever to be fully informed about what goes on your family’s dinner plates.

If you’re ready to take control of your food choices but don’t know the difference between grass-fed versus grain-fed, pastured versus free-range, or organic versus sustainable, read this book to discover:

• How to create your own thirty-month plan to convert your family from junk food to real food, without a revolt!
• Recipes and advice on planning and prepping meals so you can make homecooked a habit for your family
• Instructions for getting the most out of produce using techniques such as lacto-fermentation, dehydrating, and canning
• introduction to the world of farm-direct sales, including tips on locating local farms, seeing through marketing buzzwords, and shopping with CSAs Ditching the Drive-Thru exposes the insidious hold the commercial food industry has taken over the fast- paced lives of the average American and the danger these processed foods and diet plans pose to our health, environment, and emotional wellbeing.

Learn how to break free from the grind and return to a simpler relationship with food from farmers, not factories, and home- cooked meals that are created in your kitchen, not on a conveyor belt.


The cover image was the first thing that drew me to the book. The image of a squished tomato (one that has turned to ketchup) was in many ways an indicator of what this book was about. The book was small, (in PDF standards) and the text was easy to read. I have read a few books about healthy living previously and except for one that captured my heart, most books only succeded in making me even more guilty and apprehensive about what I eat daily. But still, I picked this book up in hopes that it would give me a few tips that are both healthy and not time consuming.


Books - no matter what genre they belong to, will have both die hard fans and people who dislike it for many reasons. No single book works for all people, especially one that tries to change one's habits. Food and Health books are often the most debated about. Each and every food book offers a different perspective. While the basics of healthy eating remain the same, each book differs in its approach in presenting the topic and what the author considers the best way to eat healthy. Also, while it is agreed that too many opinions confuse any normal reader, as someone who wants to make an effort and live healthy, I have the idea of reading the few food and health books that come my way and try to implement the practices that work best for me, given my geographical positioning and eating practices. So I would be justified in saying that there are a few things I learnt from this book, but this didn't have any revolutionary new thoughts, nor practices that are practical everywhere across the globe.

The concept is simple - in today's fast urban world, healthy eating practices have become almost non existent and drive throughs are preferred for both their speed and their addictive taste. Healthy eating, something that was the practice a few decades back, has become something that people need to make an effort towards. Drive thrus are conveniently placed, fast and give immediate gratification to hunger. They require little or no effort on our part but satisfy our hunger. Ditching them, and making an effort to depend more on farms rather than on processed foods and also making sure what we eat does not go through numerous, disgusting 'processing' routines has become the need of the day. This book tells you - yes, you guessed it right - how much you are going to be benefited by making this shift.

The execution or rather the presentation is flashy, with the chapters being chosen and organised carefully. A little back story keeps what would otherwise be a dull book of facts interesting. For readers who are consciously aware of the ill effects of unhealthy processed foods and are willing to make the much needed shift, this book is a good guide. But there is a huge difference between knowing that food is harmful and going in search of healthier alternatives. That needs motivation, sadly. Even though it is good for the body, most people need much more convincing to go out of their comfort bubbles in search of good food. Though the book explains this vital difference between 'good food' and 'easy food' and also points out that the incremental costs (combined with health care) of eating fast foods is much higher than eating farm fresh foods, it presents facts and ideas, but not the motivation required for people to go toward that changeover.

Overall, it is a good book, but one that requires your input to work.

  • Almost nothing about weight loss - that is not what this book is suppposed to be about. But if you follow the tips in here, that might be a very pleasant side effect.
  • The idea that changes may not occur in a few days. It needs a long term approach. Say 30 months.
  • For being clear that sometimes, even the best advocates of organic food go near processed food to save time. This was a practical thing written about in the book.

  • Very specific to the country it was written in, if you actually want to implement what it says. But if you are just reading for the tips and are confident you can find replacement in your local market, this is good to go.
  • Requires patience. Though it specifies that it is for the working mom, some changes need conscious effort and patience to get to doing it.
  • Though it talks about food, there are not very many recipes to take back. The initial push is there. But once you completely let go off salted processed food, just how much of salt you want to add is totally up to you. It is not an all inclusive recipe book. But then no book is!


Thoughtful, gives definitions to new terms in the food industry and manages to change your perspective - a little bit. A good read.

RATING: 3.5/5


J. Natalie Winch lives in southern New Jersey, not far from where she grew up, with her husband, two children, and dogs. When she isn’t mothering, teaching, grading, or making lesson plans, Natalie runs the Hebrew School at her synagogue, coaches soccer, teaches lacto-fermentation classes, writes the occasional entry for her blog Food Empowerment (, and fights the dust bunnies that threaten to take over her family room.


PRICE $6.05 for Kindle, $19.95 for Paperback


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