I honestly think that 75% of the reason we eat so unhealthy in this country is because we are genuinely confused.
Nutrition is a very intimidating topic for most people- doctors and patients alike, because there is a lot of conflicting information and hype in the mainstream media. Is it soluble or insoluble fiber that lowers cholesterol? Which one is better, low carb or low fat? How many servings are in one large apple? After asking these questions for so long, we’ve come to believe that nutrition is merely about nutrients, but it can be so much more than that. Foods are far more than the sum of their nutrient parts and can be far less complicated if we take a step back and appreciate them for what they are: food. Before the days of Pop-Tarts® our ancestors didn’t worry about serving sizes or nutrients, they just ate food. If we simplify the way we think about food and eat real, whole foods that come from a farm rather than a factory we can reverse the downward spiral of chronic disease in America.
At the end of this post I will leave you some links to some of my favorite youtube videos and lectures about nutrition. Ironically, my favorite nutrition advise comes from an investigative journalist, not a nutritionist! Michael Pollan has authored several best selling books including two of my favorites, Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual and In Defense of Food. The nice thing about Pollan is that he makes nutrition so incredibly easy to understand. For example, Pollan starts by giving the advise “Eat food. Not too much, mostly plants.” He goes on to elaborate on what he considers actual “food” and what he calls “edible food-like substances”, but he really does a beautiful job of enlightening without intimidating the reader.
I highly recommend Food Rules– don’t worry, it’s a pretty quick read (for most 45-60 minutes straight through), but this book will surely prove to be invaluable. Here’s a few of my favorite food rules out of this book:
1. “Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.” Grandma would know what broccoli is, but I’m not so sure she would understand what a fruit role up is..
2. “Avoid food products containing ingredients that a third-grader cannot pronounce.”
3. “Shop the periphery of the supermarket and stay out of the middle isles.” Fresh stuff is on the outside, and (for the most part) all the junk is in the middle.
4. “Eat animals that have themselves eaten well.” This is a HUGE issue today- Almost all of the meat in grocery stores is raised in dirty, crowded pens, fed food that no animal should be eating, and been drugged with various hormones, antibiotics and food additives. In the mean time, take my advise and eat meat sparingly, but when you do, spring for the good stuff.
5. “Stop eating before you’re full.” The point of eating is not to get full necessarily, but to not be hungry. There’s a subtle difference, but it comes down to eating until your about 80% full, or as the Japanese say “hara hachi bu”.
6. “Don’t get your fuel from the same place your car does.” ‘Nuff said!
7. “Do all your eating at the table” and take your time! Americans eat too many meals in a hurry and on the go, which robs your body of both time and digestive enzymes it needs to actually digest that food. Approximately 80% of your digestive enzymes are secreted in the cephalic phase of eating, meaning that time you’re thinking about eating (while cooking or waiting to be served). Without that mental prep time you don’t have the enzymes to actually use the nutrients you take in!
Remember, ultimately we all have the power to affect change in the food system every single day. When you support your local CSA, farmers markets, and farms not only are you getting high quality, wholesome food, but you are stimulating the local economy and helping that farm stay in business. If enough people show that they have an interest in healthy food some day we will evoke the change we want to see. You vote with your fork every day, people. What are you voting for?
Here’s some of my favorite youtube videos about nutrition~
Getting healthier every day,