Have you ever heard of Michael Pollan. He writes books about food and our relationships with food. One of the biggest problems we as humans have getting fit and healthy are related to our relationships with food. We either like it to much or not enough. But as he states in “In Defense of food”
Food. There’s plenty of it around, and we all love to eat it. So why should anyone need to defend it? Because most of what we’re consuming today is not food, and how we’re consuming it — in the car, in front of the TV, and increasingly alone — is not really eating. Instead of food, we’re consuming “edible foodlike substances” — no longer the products of nature but of food science. The result is what Michael Pollan calls the American paradox: The more we worry about nutrition, the less healthy we seem to become
So what does this mean for us. Well we need to get smarter about what we eat. Do we really eat as well as we should? He wrote 12 commandments that for me say it all:
1. Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.Anything that comes in a package would probably scare her. Yes I remember that we live on an island and that most of our food comes packaged. But stick to staple items like, rice, flour, grains, beans etc. Stay away from foods with colorful names like “fruit roll up” or “froot roll up”, there isn’t any fruit here.
2. Avoid products containing ingredients you can’t pronounce.
If you start looking at the nutritional information at the back, you will start to realize that you have no idea what certain food are actually made of. If its a chicken breast, it should say “chicken breast” and that is all.
3. Don’t eat anything that won’t eventually rot.
Living on an island always makes this exciting, most things arrive rotten. But certain breads, especially my favorite growing up, seems to live eternally. I remember when I was little four days later it would start to get green and moldy, that is no long the case.
4. Avoid food products that carry health claims. If it was healthy it wouldn’t be necessary to tell you.
5. Shop the peripheries of the supermarket; stay out of the middle.
This is one of the best tips, if you go around the supermarket you will hit, fruits and veggies, meats and dairy. in the middle you will find boxes of things filled with sugar, fillers, and preservatives.
6. Better yet, buy food somewhere else: the farmer’s market or community supported agriculture.
In some places this is more difficult especially on islands, but there are more and more farmers markets here on the island.
7. Pay more, eat less.
Spend more money on better food.
8. Eat a wide variety of species.
Eat pork, chicken, fish, shellfish, and then embrace the veggies, go crazy try something different. I know how hard it is especially if you have kids. But no one said this was going to be easy.
9. Eat food from animals that eat grass.
This one is hard, but grass fed food is better, and if not fish your own fish or go down to the docks and get some.
10. Cook, and if you can, grow some of your own food.
Cooking and feeding your family is one of the great pleasures that one has. Ok, to be honest maybe not every day. But if you can’t do it every day, try to make it a tradition to cook as many meals as possible at home, with the help of your kids, partner, roommate friend, or family. There is something so wonderful about preparing and sharing food.
11. Eat meals, and eat them only at tables.
Sit when you eat, and NOT in front of the TV.
12. Eat deliberately, with other people whenever possible, and always with pleasure.
Love what you are eating. Enjoy every bite. This is my personal opinion, but I think that when you feel guilty as you are eating you are sending mixed signals to your body and you don’t assimilate food correctly. Really chew each bite, enjoy the flavours, eat slowly and enjoy the company. Food is fuel but it is also a pleasure. Make it a wonderful habit.