i’m so late to jump on this bandwagon, but i just finished reading michael pollan’s in defense of food (he also wrote food rules and the omnivore’s dilemma). initially, it read a bit textbooky to me, but about half way through, i started getting really into it. what i like about this book is that it’s not preachy and he’s not telling you exactly what you should be eating. it’s more of a guide to helping you make the right choices. pollan tells you what to look out for and what not to be fooled by. there’s a lot of useful and important information in this book, but there are a few lessons that have stood out to me:
1.) though the french typically eat fatty foods, they have lower rates of heart disease and diabetes than americans (or western dieters) because the portions are smaller and they don’t go back for seconds.
2.) always check the ingredients. if you can’t pronounce it or recognize it, then it’s best to steer clear.
3.) people of all cultures around the world have managed to have completely different eating habits and lifestyles and stay much healthier than westerners. for example, mountainers in switzerland consumed a mostly meat diet and showed no signs of tooth decay. people in the hebrides existed mostly on seafood and oats. what they had in common was that they were eating real, fresh and nutrient-rich foods.
4.) foods that go out of their way to make health claims are not as healthy as they claim. “low-fat” or “no fat” usually means an extra boost of sodium, sugar and/or other additives.
5.) the best foods at the supermarket can generally be found on the outskirts (fruits, veggies, yogurts, milk, eggs), while the worst are usually sandwiched between these aisles (potato chips, cookies, artificial fruit juices, sugar-packed cereals).
6.) we should be eating real food. period.
at times, pollan’s advice can be hard to follow (i.e. buy a whole hog, chop it up into pieces and freeze them). but the overall message is quite powerful and yet so simple. common sense! and sadly, not so common.
highly recommended read for anyone who is looking to better their diet.