Food for thought

One of the books I’m currently reading is Michael Pollan’s “In Defence of Food”.  I’m not afraid to say that this book is freaking me out!  I’ve been listening to my sister-in-law for the last few years talk about organic and vegetarian food.  At 1 point she was a vegan and we all had nut loaf for Christmas that year, I think I’m beginning to understand why she became so militant about her food choices.  She’s let up a little over the years, she’ll now eat some organically raised meats but the basics are still there.

There is no way that my husband and I will become vegetarians, we just love a good steak too much.  But I’m on page 125 of 201 of this book and when I got up this morning I didn’t know what to have for breakfast – I’m at the “I’m going to freak out everyone who’s reading this book” part now.  Michael Pollan is a great writer, he’s a journalist and is very good about checking facts and giving them to you in a way that is actually interesting , and somewhat horrifying.  I saw an interview with him on Oprah and that prompted me to start reading his books because what he was saying was making total sense to me.  His motto is “EAT FOOD, NOT TO MUCH, MOSTLY PLANTS” , he doesn’t advocated NOT eating meat just making the connection to meat a more thoughtful one.

Where I am in the book right now is the part where he’s telling us that the governments have allowed the change of the crops and that our staple crops like wheat do not have the same nutritional content that they did in the ’40’s.  That to get the same minerals and nutrients from an apple today, you would have to eat 3 of our apples to equal nutritional value of 1 in the ’40’s.  Grocery stores are only stocking 1 or 2 varieties of certain vegetables and fruits instead of the different types that existed years ago which now I suppose we call “heritage”.  I’ve just passed the part where he tells you that if  your cereal is telling  you its high in fibre you should be aware that it’s probably been added to it, not because the base ingredients came with it.  It’s also a bit of a bait and switch because while they’re toting that it’s high in fibre they’re not telling you the things that should be in it and are not.

Apparently, todays people are the weirdest combination of malnutrition and fat.  Studies are being conducted to prove connections to missing nutrients and obesity.  There is a doctor conducting a study to prove the theory that our food is less nutritious and that the body will keep eating to get the nutrients that it’s lacking, thereby eating tons of extra calories and never getting enough nutrients.  I’m thinking there could be something to this.  He’s also saying that because we’re not getting the nutrients that we are having problems fighting off certain diseases. 

Then there was the guy on Bonnie Hunt last week, David Zinczenko, who’s written a book called “Eat this Not that” he’s written a new one called “Cook this not that”  about what choices to make in your daily life.  He had some basic fast food things taken to a lab to be analyzed for their content and then told us.  I am NEVER eating in some of these places again (some we don’t have here in Canada). The facts that stick in my mind are, that all beef products go to a central processing plant that all fast food places buy from, where the meat is rinsed in ammonia.  That explains why you always feel so bad after eating in those places, not to mention the tons of salt, sugar etc and they bleach chicken to make it whiter. He then told us about the Oreo Shake from Baskin Robins, where you would think there would be 5 or 6 ingredients there were 79 and you can’t even pronounce some of them. One of those ingredients is what they make suntan oil out of.   All these ingredients are aimed to make us addicted so we come back for more.  Maybe that palm oil rumor in Tim’s coffee is true?

As I’ve said before I’m changing the way that my husband and I eat, as are quite a few people who we know.  I’m always surprised these days when I see what some people still eat even though they have been warned about certain things.  Now I’m not perfect, as we speak there is cake mixes in my cupboard and I’m sure a lot of things that we’re not supposed to eat, however the bulk of what we do have in our cupboards is whole grain, whole wheat, legumes, and fresh fruit and veg.  After reading this book, I’m sure there will be other changes to our diets. 

I’m thinking that I’m going to have “meatless tuesdays” so dinner will become a vegetarian meal, with the farmers market starting up soon that could be fun.  I’m going to try to follow what Michael Pollan has suggested, the good news is that the effects of damage from junk can be reversible.  I’m hoping this might help my weight issues as well, between making these small changes to my diet and yoga and swimming for physical and then trying to implement green solutions to our home and cottage we might actually make it to our old age with a modicum of problems.  Then again we might walk out the door tomorrow and get hit by a bus so there will be room to wiggle in this new plan.

Eat food, not too much, mostly plants,


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