By: Bettina – Los Angeles, CA
When I began my path to health, I came across a book called “In Defense of Food” by author Michael Pollan. This book revolutionized how I feed myself. In the first chapter Pollan states that everything he has learned about food and health can be summed up in seven little words and these words changed my life: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” Try to think about these words.
Sounds simple, no? By “Eat food” Pollan means to eat REAL food — vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and, even fish and meat. What he also goes on to describe is that “Eat Food” also implies avoiding what Pollan calls “edible food-like substances.”
He gave a few tips on how to go about this:
- (My favorite) Don’t eat anything with more than five ingredients, or ingredients you can’t pronounce. This made shopping really easy for me. As a general rule I try to but items that have less than five ingredients. Simple. Even Haagen Dazs jumped on this wagon marketing their 5 natural ingredient ice cream. These rules don’t mean give up everything you love, they mean just eat the real stuff that your body recognizes as food.
- Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food. “When you … eat something with 15 ingredients you can’t pronounce, ask yourself, “What are those things doing there?” Pollan says. This one really changed my life. Cheetos… my Abuela Maria wouldn’t have recognized fluorescent orange Cheetos as food.
- Don’t eat things that won’t eventually deteriorate. Pollan notes: “There are exceptions like honey but as a rule, things like Twinkies that never go bad aren’t food.” I would add that most of your food should rot in a week’s time.
- Shop on the perimeter of supermarkets. Real food (read: produce) tends to be on the outer edge of the store. Of course, if you have access to a Farmer’s Market or CSA, you are lucky and take advantage of it.
- Leave a little space in your belly. “Always leave the table a little hungry,” Pollan says.
- Traditionally, families ate together at regular meal times. It’s a lovely and healthy tradition. Enjoy meals with the people in your life, break bread (or carrots).
I (heart) Michael Pollan! Thanks for changing my health.