Tuesday, September 9, 2008

In Defense of Food

At last, a non-baby post!! I've been writing this one in my head for about  a week, and need to get it out!!
I mentioned that I finished this book (IN Defense of Food, Michael Pollan) last week. I really liked it b/c it provided affirmation for many of my eating habits, and gave me some new fodder to think about. I'll leave out all the stuff about the government conspiring to change our eating habits...for that, you'll have to read the book yourself!  
Michael Pollan thinks that our Western Diet is to blame for the problems of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. I think he's pretty much right. So I summarized some key points for you, to help all my friends and family be healthier people.
1) Eat more plants, leafy ones. This is a basic premise of the book, and I do this a lot. It all started when I dated/married a vegetarian. (I've converted him to meat, most recently beef-read on)
2) When you eat meat, it should be GRASS fed. God made cows with 4 stomachs b/c they are supposed to eat grass, not CORN. Yes, I realize that corn is a grass, however, the beef you see at most markets is PROUDLY corn fattened b/c it is cheap and easy to mass produce. This meat is nutritionally inferior to grass fed. Same goes for chickens and eggs. It has to do with a ratio of fats, Omega 6 and Omega 3. Short story, grass fed animals are better for you to eat.
My husband used to get a sick tummy if he ate beef. He claimed it was something about not eating it for 15+ years. Two nights ago, we had stir fry with grass fed beef. He barely even burped afterwards!
3) When you grocery shop, don't buy anything that your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize. (any pre-WWII relative will do).  Processing food and adding weird things to make it less food-like started at the end of WWII. READ THE LABELS OF WHAT YOU ARE ABOUT TO BUY AND PUT INTO YOUR BODY!!
Ways to do this:
a) Shop around the perimeter of the grocery store. Most "raw materials" eggs, milk, cheese, bread, produce, and meat are at the edges. You don't "need" the stuff in the middle of the store. 
b) Don't eat stuff with unrecognizable ingredients. I have a guilty pleasure to confess: Pop Tarts. They contain: xanthan gum. Does anybody know what that is?  Also, avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup--a sweetener that is getting a bad rap lately for good reason.
c) Don't buy anything with more than 5 ingredients in it. The Pop Tarts have more than 30 ingredients!!
4) You may have to pay a little more and spend a little more time preparing your food to eat this way, but the savings in healthcare costs, and long-term health benefits should be worth it to you. Also, you will spend less time in front of the TV, which we all need.  Last night, I spent more than an hour cooking a yummy vegetable curry with dahl from scratch. It was delicious!

Here's to happy healthy eating! Now I need to return this overdue library book.

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