Thumb for Eating “Food” from Michael Pollan*
food and not food products – If it comes in a bag, box or can, it is
highly processed, avoid it.
eat anything your great grand mother wouldn’t recognize as food.
foods products containing ingredients that are a) unfamiliar, b)
unpronounceable, c) more than five in number, or that include d)
high-fructose corn syrup
food products that make health claims.
– When Whole Grain Lucky Charms starts making health claims,
it’s time to start ignoring health claims. When was the last time you saw a health claim on an
apple? But there they sit, ever so
quiet, in the produce section!
the peripheries of the supermarket and stay out of the middle. – This
is where you find the meat department, the dairy and produce
sections. The middle of the store
is where the processed food products are located, i.e. anything in a bag,
box or can, often seen with FDA approved health claims.
out of the supermarket whenever possible – Seek out locally grown
organic food, picked at the peak of freshness. Join a CSA (community supported agriculture) program. Buy food at farmers markets. Reconnect
with the land and the growers of your food. You will be reducing your environmental carbon footprint and
reducing the use of toxic pesticides and fertilizers on the land. Growing food commercially in this
country consumes 20% of our nations’ fossil fuels (fossil fuel based
fertilizers/pesticides, farm equipment machinery, transportation/shipping,
and processing), MORE than what we put into our cars!
local foods that are in season: Do
you really need to eat asparagus flown in from Argentina and grapes flown
in from Chile in the wintertime?
These foods are “soaked” in fossil fuels…Again, reduce your carbon
mostly plants, especially leaves (and much fewer seeds) - Seeds are
storehouses for omega-6 fats, while leaves are high in omega-3 fats. The average American consumes 10-30
times more omega-6 fats than omega-3 fats. Omega-6 fats are pro-inflammatory, pro-cancer,
pro-arthritis. Omega-3’s do
more for food. – In 1960
Americans spent 17.5% of their income on food and 5.2% on healthcare. Since then, those numbers have
reversed: Spending on food has
fallen to 9.9% and healthcare has climbed to 16% of national income. One can’t help but think that these
parameters are linked together.
less – There is no money in the message “eat less” in our
society. Our agricultural system
for over 100 years has devoted its energies to quantity and price rather
than quality. Dollar for dollar,
you get more calorie bang for you buck in the snack aisle, than in the
meals together, not alone. – We are snacking more and eating fewer
meals together, which leads to over consumption, loss of culture, and a
lack of social family time together.
all your eating at your table. – Your
office desk is not a table. One
fifth of our meals are eaten in the car and now 50% of our eating is done
out of the home.
slowly, consult your gut. –
Your sense of fullness or satiety is a slow signal process from your
stomach to your brain, taking about 20 minutes. Don’t rely on your eyes to tell you when your full. i.e.,
“My plate is empty.” Listen to
your gut. The French are better at
this than us. When researchers
asked French diners how they knew when to stop eating, they replied, “When
I feel full.” When Americans were
asked the same question they said:
“when my plate is clean or when I run out.”
and, if you can, plant a garden - Food marketers have for many years
successfully portrayed cooking as drudgery. It really does not take very long to cook a nutritious meal
from scratch. Reconnect with the land
by growing your own fresh vegetables and fruits. Teach your children that a carrot is a root that comes from
the ground and not a machine lathed “bullet” that comes in a plastic bag!
*Michael Pollan is the author of: “In Defense of Food, an Eater’s
Manifesto” and “The Omnivores Dilemma.”
Both books are HIGHLY RECOMMENDED and are REQUIRED reading for all