BOOKS: Eat Smart: A Guide To Good Health For Kids

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 1992:

Eat Smart: A Guide To Good Health For
Kids. By Dale Figtree, New Win Publishing (P.O.
Box 5159, Clinton, NJ 08809), 1992, 100 pages,
paperback $10.95.
James, the hero of Eat Smart, is a typical young
teen: healthy, active, and totally unaware of his body’s nutri-
tional needs. When he finds himself gaining too much weight,
he tries the obvious solutions. He hides his body in loose cloth-
ing. He tries to diet, and fails.

Frustrated and angry, he loses confidence in himself.
“The strange thing was, the bigger I got, the hungrier I got,”
he says, until finally one humiliating incident in front of his
peers triggers a serious depression. Fortunately his parents
introduce him to a health counselor much like the author of this
book. With her help, James learns to choose appropriate food,
and he gradually regains his sense of self-worth.
While Eat Smart focuses primarily on weight control,
it contains basic information–presented sensitively and with
humor–for young people of all shapes and sizes. Lively and
evocative line drawings illustrate James’ journey of self-discov-
ery. Particularly clever are sketches demonstrating the transfor-
mation of nutrients to energy as a young person might imagine
the process. James learns, for instance, that “we would all
look like jellyfish” without minerals in our diets, and he envi-
sions himself as a large boneless blob.
Following James’ narrative, a question-and-answer
session addresses related health concerns and advocates a vegan
diet. Consumption of meat and dairy products is discouraged
for health reasons, and because, “most animals today are
raised in miserable conditions. Eating meat supports that cruel
treatment.” Elsewhere she expresses concern for the conditions
on modern poultry farms. For neophyte vegan cooks, she
includes a selection of recipes designed to appeal to adolescent
–Cathy Young Czapla
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