Monday, May 25, 2009

Thoughts on "In Defense of Food"

This book by Michael Pollan follows up on his previous "The Omnivore's Dilemma". Basically he says that any of the world's myriad diets suffices for human health -- except the Western diet, with its emphasis on refined foods and not much diversity from wheat, corn and soy.

I like his rules for being sure you're getting real food in a store:
  • never buy anything with more than 5 ingredients in it (more than that and likely the manufacturer (not the farmer!) is replacing some of what they've refined out of it)
  • shop the outside perimeter of the store -- most of the manufactured stuff is in the center aisles of the store
  • never buy anything that makes a health claim (does the humble carrot make a health claim? -- not!)
  • get out of the supermarket whenever possible -- shop the farmers' market or your garden
  • don't eat anything your great grandmother wouldn't recognize as food
  • avoid foods whose ingredients are unfamiliar or unpronouncable
  • avoid foods that include high-glucose corn syrup
I've been doing more and more of the above over the past ten years. I might have ten items on my pantry shelves that violate the ingredient rules.

I found out long ago that rearranging the food pyramid -- aim for ten servings of veggie/fruits a day, keep grains to five servings or less -- was the only way I could manage my weight and gain a feeling of well-being.

Variety is not only the spice of life, but it's the very stuff!

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