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Basic Books

Like the Japanese, We Can Learn to Eat Healthy — and Love It

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Japanese cuisine was not always known for sparkling fresh sushi or tasty ramen noodles topped with chashu (juicy braised pork), nori (crispy toasted seaweed) and egg. Before the 20th century, food was often sparse, repetitive and always plain and unseasoned—in times of scarcity rarely more than rice and pickles—and it was the custom at meals to remain completely silent. Eating was not a joyous or ceremonious event. Today, Japan is a foodie’s paradise with the lowest rates of obesity of any industrialized country. The concept of umami, the meatiness found in seaweed, miso and soy sauce, transformed the cuisine in the early 20th century, along with a national campaign to add more protein to the diet of soldiers and school…

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Review: Gavin Francis Takes Us on a Tour Through the Human Body

in Non-Fiction by

When it comes to thinking about our bodies—well, we don’t know exactly what to think. Whether we’re being bombarded with advertisements featuring crazy-thin models, groaning through the third Cialis commercial in a row, or discovering fresh ways the devices we use every day can slowly kill us, we have to contemplate our bodies in new ways every day. Not everyone has the unique viewpoint on the human body that Gavin Francis presents in his new book, Adventures in Human Being: A Grand Tour from the Cranium to the Calcaneum (Basic Books, October 13). The collection of short stories features personal anecdotes from his time as a surgeon, family physician and ER specialist. Each story is meant to help us explore our…

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