Here in the United States we love to diet, which is ironic considering how high our levels of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease are. With a society so attuned to the fat, calorie, antioxidant, and carbohydrate contents of our food, and so willing to try new, supposedly healthier options, you'd think we'd all be thin and fit. But as as organicgardening.com notes in a recent post featuring good food guru Michael Pollan, our obsessive dieting culture tends to over-complicate the issue of proper nutrition. In fact, the very words diet and nutrition conjure up a science experiment more than real food, and thus much of our food has succumbed to that mechanized, over-processed ideal.
"Good and evil foods are constantly changing roles," Denise Gee writes on organicgardening.com. "One month, our nemesis is salt; the next, it’s sugar. Now it’s high-fructose corn syrup. We’re all over the map. 'That should tell us something,' Michael Pollan says. 'We’re either eating the ruinous food and feeling guilty about it or we’re eating healthy food and feeling virtuous about it. But I submit to you that that’s a really bizarre way to think about food.'"
So what do we do when in the thick of this very complicated and confusing dilemma? Pollan suggests that we take some advice from thousands of years of ancestors the world over:
"Eat food, not too much, mostly plants. And have a relaxed attitude about food. Don’t be a fanatic."
That's really all you need to know in order to live a healthy, happy life free of dieting and obsessive attention to nutrition. If three short sentences isn't enough to live by, however, here is Michael Pollan's expansion on the above statement.
Pollan's Food Rules
• “Avoid products containing ingredients a third-grader can’t pronounce.”
• “Don’t buy any foods you’ve ever seen advertised on television.”
• “Just imagine your grandmother, or your great-grandmother depending on your age, as you’re rolling down the aisle in the supermarket. If she would not recognize something as a food, it’s not a food.”
• “Shop the perimeter of the store. That’s where the live food lives.”
• “Don’t eat until you’re full. Eat until you’re satisfied. The Japanese have a rule called hara hachi bu, which means, “eat until you’re 80 percent full.” That’s a radically un-American idea. But if we adopted this, and had our children do the same, the positive results would be profound.”
• “If you’re not hungry enough to eat an apple, you’re not really hungry.”
• “Do all your eating at a table. And no, a desk is not a table.”
Want to boost your health and have some delicious plants on hand all season? Sign up for our Organic Gardening Workshop at Common Ground High School on May 5! The workshop is just over a week away, so make sure to call into our office at 203.888.5146 to register.