Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

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I want to read In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan.  I stumbled upon a video of a talk that he gave, and it sounds very interesting.  He says that instructions of how to eat are:  “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”  He addressed a few points:

-Eat food, not edible food-like substances.

-Eat things your great-grandmother would recognize as food.  (Or at least someone’s great-grandmother, in the case of something that culturally, your great-grandmother wouldn’t have ever seen.)

-Don’t get your fuel the same place that your car does.

-Don’t eat things that won’t ever rot.  (“Why doesn’t the mold touch a twinkie?  Because they’re not stupid!”)

-Shop around the perimeter of the supermarket.  Food that will rot has to be replenished more frequently, therefore needs to be closer to doors and loading docks and such.

-Whenever possible, get out of the supermarket.  Shop at farmers’ markets, local food sellers, etc.  Focus on where your food comes from.

-The nutrition science field is still very young.  We don’t know everything about a carrot.  We know that carrots are very good for us, so some scientists think that we can figure out what part of the carrot is the secret.  “We think we can extract the secret and forgoe the carrot.”  So they discovered beta carotene, and made it into supplements.  But it didn’t work.  Beta carotene is a very good antioxidant, but it’s not the secret of a carrot.  Right now, the secret of a carrot is just a carrot!

-He also touched on the benefits of grass-fed meat, dairy, and eggs.  I’m hoping to hear more about this in his book.  Another book Mr. Pollan wrote is The Omnivore’s Dillema, which I believe addresses the nutritional and environmental issues involved with consuming meat.  This is a pet issue of mine, because I’m a cultural “farm girl.”  I do not have an ethical problem with eating meat.  Pigs and cows and chickens are bred for the purpose of providing people with food.

-Related to grass-fed meat, he touched slightly on the issue of “cost of food.”  Part of the cost is, of course, the price.  And a hamburger slapped on a refined-carbohydrate bun at McDonalds has a much lower price than a patty of grass-fed beef served on a whole-grain bun.  (Mmm, doesn’t that second burger sound good, though?)  But the rest of the cost of the McDonald’s hamburger is in the taxation on the environment, the cruelty with which the animals may have been treated, and of course, health.  That last one, health, is a real cost of money as well.  If I eat nothing but refined carbs, corn-fed hormone-packed beef, and those “edible food-like substances,” the cost of my healthcare is going to increase dramatically.  And so is the cost of the girl sitting next to me in the waiting room who “eats food, not too much, mostly plants,” and comes to the doctor once a year for her annual exam!  Because of the health insurance system, when the cost of healthcare of the community goes up, our premiums go up.  I’m not opposed to the system, because it means if I am in a car accident and acrue $200,000 of medical bills I won’t actually need to come up with $200,000.  But there is a percentage of people like me, who will not exceed, or even get close to meeting, the cost of our health insurance in actual medical costs during the year of 2009.  I never even get close to reaching my deductible!  That’s a good thing.  As I said, I hope my health insurance is always a waste of money.  But our employers wouldn’t be paying so much in health insurance if it weren’t for the percentage of the population who greatly exceed the cost of their health insurance in medical expenses every single year!  It’s basically a socialist health care system in sheep’s clothing, don’t you think?  Instead of paying taxes for health care, we pay insurance premiums and deductibles.  I just wish that my money was paying for helping people eat real food and exercise to get rid of these diseases, instead of “managing” the disease by treating the people with medical care for the rest of their lives.

Okay, getting off my soapbox now.  🙂  In any case, I’ll be checking this book out from the library soon, and I’m sure I’ll let you know what I think!

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