Sunday, January 10, 2010

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants."

Delving deeper into these words of wisdom from Michael Pollan, based on his research for the novel In Defense of Food, I ordered and have been reading his new pocket-sized book of 64 guidelines to getting off the Western diet, Food Rules.

With the fridge getting empty and cabinets becoming bare, I did a small shopping trip today at the co-op. Based on Pollan's original words of wisdom, let's see how I did:
  • 4 clementines
  • 1 bell pepper
  • mixed salad greens
  • cilantro
  • 2 organic, fair trade bananas
  • 1 dozen eggs - veggie fed, no antibiotics, no animal byproducts and from a local farm
  • 32 oz bottle of skim milk - from a local farm
  • organic dried mango slices
  • organic dried black turtle beans
  • long grain brown rice
  • garlic hummus tahini - kosher, no preservatives, vegan, and from a local town
  • salsa - fresh veggies, spices and apple cider vinegar
  • raw honey (a gift for a friend)
Pretty much everything on my list is considered a whole food. For the two items made from multiple foods (hummus and salsa), both have very short ingredient lists that are whole foods and spices.

As I mentioned earlier, the 64 rules in Pollan's book are suggestions for a way to give your body what it needs in proper quantities while moving away from the Western diet, which is loaded with processed foods. Pollan tells readers not to try and follow each and every rule, but to at least choose one rule from each section of the book. Below, I've listed each section of the book (he switches the order of his original rule to fit the format of Food Rules), with one rule I followed from that section during my shopping trip.

Eat Food: #14, Eat foods made from ingredients that you can picture in their raw state or growing in nature.

Even though the hummus and salsa are not individual food items, both are made from ingredients that you know exist in nature - tomatoes, peppers, onions, sesame seeds, garbanzo beans, etc.

Mostly Plants: #24, Eating what stands on one leg [mushrooms and plant foods] is better than eating what stands on two legs [fowl], which is better than eating what stands on four legs [cows, pigs, and other mammals]. Chinese proverb.

The bulk of my shopping was all vegetarian, with only 3 animal byproducts: milk, eggs and honey.

Not too much: #44, Pay more, eat less.

It is true that eating organically costs more than eating traditionally grown foods, and that it is often hard for people to afford a totally organic diet. Shopping at a small co-op can also increase the price slightly, since smaller quantities of an item are being purchased to sell. By shopping at a co-op, though, I have ownership and trust those doing the overall purchasing of products for my store to choose only the best. We also have a very large selection of local produce and some packaged foods. I make choices about which items I will pay more for to get organic quality. My next best option is to support the smaller, local farms. As you can see by my grocery list, it was not very lengthy, but the quality is high.


Christina said...

I like #14! Can't say I'd be able to picture any ingredient of a Dorito in nature!

That Chinese proverb is awesome!

The more I learn about stuff like this, the more I realize that our moms really raised us differently. I never felt different growing up, or felt like we ate differently, but I'm really glad we were raised in our households. Just knowing that they always put forth that effort to feed us quality, home made meals from local fresh products instead of popping in a frozen pizza or driving through a drive thru is awesome and started us out right!

live pura vida said...

I keep thinking about that more and more, too. Look at what we'd bring for snacks to the beach, even - fruits and veggies! My mom always stopped at Eddie's produce stand (where all the produce was from NC and he could tell us every farm and town it came from) and we'd get peaches, beans, etc. to munch on while out for the day. It's funny to look at it now and realize what we did every day is considered the fancier/pricier way of living now. It shows how badly our food system has deteriorated in this country.

Eating in Costa Rica has taught me a lot, too. Once a week grocery shopping and all fresh, local foods. Some of the poorest countries have the richest examples that we should follow.