Food Rules

i had a talk with a few people this morning about nutrition and afterwards i thought, “oh, i should totally share michael pollan with everyone.” if you haven’t heard of Michael Pollan, you’re missing out. he’s a food writer (not to be confused with blogger) and he’s really pretty fascinating. he’s written several books but the ones i’ve read are The Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defense of Food, and Food Rules. i even have a hard time tearing Georgia away from Food Rules 🙂

to be honest, The Omnivore’s Dilemma was a little too scientific for me, In Defense of Food was a very interesting read and Food Rules is an easy ready with just what it promises- food rules. the thing i really like about Michael Pollan is that his main theory or mantra on eating is simple- to be a conscious eater. i was shocked to find out he is a meat eater. *i’m not saying being a meat eater is right or wrong; i was just a little shocked that he is a meat eater. he says, though, that he makes a conscious decision about the meat he eats- for instance, he only buys grass fed beef. eating healthy has gotten really complicated so he tries to break it down and make it easier for everyone

anyway, here are some of his Rules from the book that i like:

* don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food- ie- twinkies!
* avoid foods that have sugar or sweetener listed as one of the top 3 ingredients
* avoid food products containing ingredients that a third grader can’t pronounce
* avoid food products with the words “low fat”, “fat free” or “lite”- i know many people don’t know this one but often times a product that is fat free is loaded with sugar and is actually worse for you than the regular- ie- salad dressings
* eat foods made from ingredients that you can picture in their raw state or growing in nature
* if it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t
* it’s not food if it’s called by the same name in every language- ie- Big Mac, Cheetos
* treat meat as a flavoring or special occasion food
* eat animals that have themselves eaten well- this is a good one! think about it. if your animal has grown up on preservatives and chemicals, that’s what you’re ingesting. organic meat is expensive but if you have some meatless dinners, start eating tofu occasionally, you can better afford the expensive meats, milks, and eggs
* don’t eat breakfast cereal that changes the color of the milk- i really hate them because i love fruit loops and cookie crisp!
* “the whiter the bread, the sooner you’ll be dead”- this is simply a reminder to try to eat whole wheats and grains rather that the white stuff
* eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself- i’m a big believer in this one. when you bake brownies, cookies, bread or whatever, you have the liberty to make some healthy changes
* don’t get your fuel from the same place your car does
* cook
* BREAK THE RULES ONCE IN A WHILE- this is the best one; if you constantly limit yourself and stress about food, you’re going to be miserable and you’ll never stick to it.

these are only a few of his “rules” in his book but i thought these were some fun ones to share. i’m not a big believer in diets, certainly not fad diets like the Atkins, but i am a big believer in eating what you want but making some healthy changes. switch out all of your regular pasta for wheat pasta. limit your intake of red meat by making spaghetti, tacos, etc with ground turkey or meatless crumbles. learn to like tofu. add spinach to your smoothies (no, this was not a typo). make sure your snacks are fruits and nuts. get your carbs!! do not follow a low carb diet- these are not healthy. however, keep in mind that fruits, veggies and whole grains are the carbs you want to get.

i love to cook, especially bake, and i love to eat but i really try to make a conscious decision about the food i ingest. you must have food. food is your fuel. you’re no different from a car- cars need fuel but if you put all crappy gas in them, eventually they’re going to get sluggish and not work as well. same goes for you.

feel free to share any great tips you have or ask any questions!

4 thoughts on “Food Rules

  1. {trey’s obligatory comment about hotwings in 3…2…1…}seriously though…  I love to cook so those things are fine when I know what goes into them.  But quite often, workdays especially, I’ll grab something quick.  And sometimes I’ll bring stuff from home that is preprocessed.  I’ve noticed if they are low fat/low sugar, they often contain lots of sodium.  As a for instance, boca (or morningstar maybe) makes these little faux-chicken patties.  They’re only like 100cal each, but are packed with sodium.  I suppose my question is this:  if you’re not hypertensive, are exercising regularly, and drink plenty of water (the word HYDRATE still haunts my dreams) is it ok to have a lot of salt if you’re trying to watch calories?  It just seems that with some of the “quickie” type things like frozen lunch stuff or whatever that you just cant win… cut the salt, the calories increase… cut the calories, the salt increased… cut the fat, and it’ll make your stomach implode… etc etc etc What do I do??

  2. the biggest concern everyone should have about a high sodium diet is blood pressure.  if your blood pressure is high, the first thing you should do is go on a low sodium diet.  assuming blood pressure is ok, sodium can cause you to retain water.  water retention will, in turn, show up as weight on the scale.  it is not, however, fat.  if you’re losing fat, you’re losing fat.  you can lose fat and still not lose a lot of weight due to water retention.  always buy low sodium items when they are an option.  never add table salt to foods (you get enough elsewhere and you can always use other seasonings).  drink lots of water and exercises and you’re doing the best you can.  unfortunately we have no control over the sodium content when we eat out.  be conscious when you can and don’t let it worry you too much otherwise.

  3. in regards to water retention: the best thing to do to help rid the body of excess water is to drink water.  it will flush the system.  another thing is to eat foods high in potassium (potatoes, tomatoes, bananas, oranges, cantaloupe and spinach) and foods with a high water content (such as watermelon, onion, celery and cucumbers)

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