“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
– Michael Pollan
|Book cover via MichaelPollan.com|
Food is a big deal around here. We love to cook; we watch cooking shows on TV; our idea of a date meal is to go to a high-end grocery store and buy expensive ingredients to make our own gourmet supper. So you would think that we wouldn’t fall into many of the nutritional pitfalls that plague most American families: fast food, overly processed food, grazing in front of the TV. Somehow we still struggle with those, and both my husband and I think that now is a good time for a change. (And of course we’d both like to lose a few pounds before the dreaded shorts/ swimsuit season arrives.)
Michael Pollan is a food writer and journalist who advocates a “back to basics” approach to nutrition. His book Food Rules is a quick list of wisdom that he’s compiled in his years of research into the connections between food and overall health. He has 64 rules total, but the book only takes an hour or two to read. Each of these rules falls into one of the three categories in the quote above: eat food, not too much, mostly plants.
As Pollan points out, saying “eat food” is not as simple as it sounds. We live in an age where science has largely replaced home cooking, and your great-grandmother would not recognize most of the items listed as ingredients on your Twinkie. Eating food means buying food with recognizable ingredients, cooking food at home instead of going through the drive-through, and avoiding food that “has the same name in every language.” That’s simple, but it’s not easy. If eating real food was effortless, we wouldn’t have microwavable meals, Pop-Tarts, and “meal replacement shakes.”
After reading through Food Rules, I announced to my husband that our family is going to stage a food revolution. We already sit down to a family supper every night, but my sons and I are going to do the same for breakfast and lunch, too, every day. We’re not going to graze in front of the TV, and any pre-packaged foods must pass the “great-grandmother” test. The penny-pincher in me is not willing to purge my fridge and pantry of all margarine, salad dressings, etc. but it’s a rule that I’ll follow from now on. Part of this journey will be revising some of my cooking strategies, too. I’ll share those strategies, recipes, and ideas with you as I go. And I’d love to hear tips on how to do this while following a reasonable budget. The only reason I ever buy margarine (for example) is that it’s cheaper than butter, so sticking to my goals and my budget will be a challenge. Let the challenge begin!
Let’s connect on social media too: