Good Food, Bad Diet

Author Abby Langer wants you to understand one thing right from the beginning of this book: all food is good and all diets are bad…how’s that for a novel concept? With the diet and wellness (disguised, but really diet) industry raking in trillions of dollars, they don’t like this statement. Abby’s goal in this book is to get you thinking beyond a set of rules by one diet or another and look at food from a healthy and nutritional part of your life. Yoyo diets are the worst thing for people’s bodies and Abby will help dispel the myth that we have to look a certain way to be acceptable in our society – usually the reason we diet!

Abby knows what she’s talking about. Her credentials for advocating for less diets and more intentional eating comes from her years in the nutritional landscape: “Abby Langer has been a Registered Dietitian since 1999. Educated at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Loyola University in Chicago, Abby has worked extensively both in clinical nutrition, and nutrition media and consulting. She has won awards for her teaching and has served for three years on her regulatory college’s council.

Although this book puts a big hex on the diet world, Abby does advocate for healthy eating, being at the best weight for our body structure and acknowledging this can fluctuate depending on what’s happening in our lives. A 20-year-old will have different nutritional needs than a post-partum mom or a 70-year-old with health challenges.

Most of us have “self-talk” that have been carried throughout our teenage and adult lives that need to be addressed. How we view our bodies and what we say to ourselves can be fueling the need to present ourselves in a certain way. Abby helps us navigate to a better and healthier self-awareness.

The other façade addressed in the book is that willpower and perfection are myths. When we hold a certain body image up as the ideal, we compare ourselves to a standard that is impossible to maintain for many…but only if we had the same determination and willpower to get to that ideal. And the cycle begins of starting new diets, following an exercise regiment that isn’t necessarily suited to our bodies, and investing in health and beauty products that temporarily provide the allusion of perfection.

Abby then takes us into the world of food taboos that accompany many diets: more or less protein, water intake, gluten products for people who are not celiac, are all fats bad, the enemy carb, etc. All foods in moderation are good for us – excess of anything is not. I can hear a collective sigh from many people as they read this book that here is some nutritional guidance that finally makes sense.

Throughout the book, Abby includes charts of nutritional nuggets. I particularly liked the many terms that manufacturers use to say “sugar” as an ingredient. I’ve mentioned before that the early settlers in Canada consumed four pounds of sugar per person per year. These sugars typically came from natural products like fruit and honey. Today the average North American consumes 120 pounds of sugar per year – and most of the time we don’t even know it. Explains the uptick of many diseases like diabetes. Look for those sneaky “sugar” alternatives companies use in their products.

Sugar intake shouldn’t scare us off eating the things we like…with a little tweaking we can enjoy that sweet food and not feel guilty about it. I tried the Chewy Chocolate Cherry Oat Bar – check it out in our Recipe section. I found this snack to be less sweet than its commercial counterpart and you can mix up the sweetness level as well as ingredients. My son-in-law made various batches for his kids’ lunches and they love it! Check out other wonderful ideas from Abby on her website at 

You’ll want to read this book and we have a copy for you to win in our Giveaway section. Know someone who would benefit from this turnaround thinking on diets? Get a copy at 

Contents and images used with permission by Abby Langer Nutrition

Cover Photo credit: Leonello Calvetti