Hello everyone, I hope you are enjoying the first few signs of spring! I’m writing to you this week to recommend a quick, informative read that will give you great tips on how to live a healthier life just by heeding this simple phase.."Eat Food, Not too Much, Mostly Plants". It sounds simple enough, but in the growing world of increasingly factory made foods, getting to the real foods that will serve you well is not as easy as you might think. This is what Michael Pollan sets out to explain in his book In Defense of Food - An Eater’s Manifesto.
He explains how foods have begun to morph more into processed versions of real food. As food science emerged and fad diets took off, it seemed like a great idea to get more foods, at cheaper prices, with longer shelf lives, and are available in abundance at most grocery stores. However, as food science expanded, our country became increasingly fatter and suffered serious health consequences.
Today, when you look at a loaf of bread, it bares little resemblance to the bread our ancestors made with flour, salt, yeast and water. Much of these processed foods were considered the answer, and government agencies encouraged farmers to grow crops more quickly, and with the aid of chemicals, so they would be able to be shipped longer distances without spoiling or becoming stale. Food scientists were also busy creating foods that would increase cravings to boost sales. Additionally, diet trends began to emerge, creating wonders like fat free cookies and chips containing olestra, which would pass through your body without being digested, and sugar being added in abundance. So here are a couple of suggestions he makes that will help you navigate the world of fake foods, and get back to eating the way your great great grandmother would have eaten.
The first, which I have mentioned in a past article, is to try to buy mostly organic produce. These tend to have more nutrients because they are grown at an unaccelerated rate, allowing them to absorb the natural nutrients available when the roots have time to reach more deeply into the soil. Also, he suggests that you buy your produce from a local source. Even if your local farm is not 100% organic, the freshness of local products will still beat the produce coming in from farms hundreds of miles away. Best of all, you could try creating your own small garden. Somehow, everything tastes more extraordinary when you were the one who nurtured it from seed to plate.
Another suggestion you might appreciate, is to enjoy a glass of wine with your meal. This has one caveat, however, and that is one glass for women and two glasses for men. This is a much healthier option than to drink only twice a week but have a few glasses. It also mentions that part of what keeps people in France healthier, is that they eat more slowly and have smaller portions. Additionally, they often have meals in the company of other people, which adds to the enjoyment and tends to slow down the eating as well. Also, listen to your hunger signals. Many people in France and Japan have the philosophy that one should eat until they are 80% full. Unlike many Americans who figure, if it’s on the plate it is one portion, so I should eat it all.
If you then apply this philosophy to your eating, you will notice that there really is not much need for snacking other than boredom or pleasure. Really listen to those hunger cues before you mindlessly poke around your cabinets for something yummy. Also, if you make your own meals you can be in charge of the meat, to veggie, to starch ratios. Your veggies should take up half your plate and meat portions should remain small. Also, try to steer clear of the packaged rices and other starches which tend to be loaded with sodium and lots of other unhealthy ingredients.
So, I hope you will check out the book. It really sheds a lot of light on how Americans have become so unhealthy, and how you can buck the trend. Your body will thank you for it!
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