The Enlightened Eater's Whole Foods Guide: Harvest the Power of Phyto Foods


290 pages
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-670-04363-X
DDC 613.2




Reviewed by Sarah Robertson

Sarah Robertson is the editor of the Canadian Book Review Annual.


In this lucidly designed book, the author of the bestselling The
Enlightened EaterTM (1994) examines the disease-fighting capabilities of
“phytochemicals,” recently discovered compounds found in plant
foods. She devotes individual chapters to the “phytofoods” that form
the basis of the Mediterranean diet: fruits; vegetables; whole grains;
legumes; soy; nuts and seeds; herbs, spices, and oils; tea, red wine,
and chocolate. The recipes that supplement each chapter—from Apple
Cheese Quesadillas, to Lentil Salad with Feta and Herbs, to Chocolate
Almond Biscotti—are meant to be both healthful and appetizing.

Schwartz, a Toronto-based dietitian and nutritionist, is a longstanding
critic of fad diets and “techno foods” such as Olestra (the recently
withdrawn fake fat). The Enlightened Eater’sTM Whole Foods Guide is
replete with caveats about “functional foods” (processed foods
fortified with phytochemicals and phytonutrients) and supplements:
profit-hungry natural health and pharmaceutical companies have
introduced these products into the marketplace “well before science
has truly evaluated [their] effectiveness.”

Schwartz provides invaluable food safety tips, sample menus, and
detailed but accessible explanations of the latest scientific research
(her bibliography is, to say the least, impressive). Importantly, she
never loses sight of the fact that research is fluid (witness the
evolving scientific consensus on beta carotene) and often contradictory
(witness the soy debate). It may not convert Atkins devotees, but
Schwartz’s balanced, refreshingly hype-free study of the health
benefits of whole foods deserves a wide audience.


Schwartz, Rosie., “The Enlightened Eater's Whole Foods Guide: Harvest the Power of Phyto Foods,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 16, 2024,