Monday, May 5, 2008

In Defence of Food

I've just finished the extremely enjoyable read, Michael Pollan's In Defence of Food. It links so nicely to my favourite read of 2007 - Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.

Pollan provides some one-liner tips to help us follow his seven word mantra: Eat Food. Mostly Plants. Not Too Much. I'll just throw a few at you to whet your appetite, so to speak:

Eat Food: Food Defined
* Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognise as food.
* Avoid food products containing ingredients that are a) unfamiliar, b) unpronounceable, c) more than five in number, or that include d) high-fructose corn syrup. We are currently using What's in Your Food as a guide to help us with this one.
* Get out of the supermarket whenever possible. He's a big supporter of farmer's markets and community-supported agriculture co-ops (CSAs).
Mostly Plants: What to Eat
* Eat mostly plants, especially leaves. He's not a big fan of the shift towards a grain-based diet. Interestingly, I caught a brief interview on TV last night with the author of Going Against The Grain, who posits a shift away from grains too.
* Eat well-grown food from healthy soils.
* Eat wild foods when you can. I'm feeling mildly smug about our meat consumption of wild venison, goat & pork - because Michael Pollan says it's ok;-)
* Eat more like the French. Or the Italians. Or the Japanese. Or the Indians. Or the Greeks. "There are of course two dimensions to a traditional diet - the foods a culture eats and how they eat them - and both may be equally important to our health." I often comment to Brings Home the Bacon that I like us to "eat like peasants". There seems to be some wisdom in this desire.
* Have a glass of wine with dinner. Who can argue?
Not Too Much: How to Eat
* Pay More, Eat Less. He is definitely quality over quantity.
* Eat Meals. More smugness here - family meals are a very important part of our family culture.
* Consult your gut. Apparently Americans judge when they're full by whether their plate is empty or TV show finished, rather than listening to their internal hunger signals. I suspect Kiwis are much the same.
* Eat slowly. He promotes "deliberate and knowledgeable eating promoted by Slow Food..."
* Cook and, if you can, plant a garden. Feeling very affirmed by this guy;-)

Go and see if your local library has a copy - highly recommended read!