Saturday, May 21, 2011

Rule #1: eat food.

Traveling always gets me thinking about food. Recently, a few things have got food on my mind:
- while in Florida over Easter I tried to say I didn't want meat at my wedding, thinking that omitting one type of food for one meal would not be that big of a deal. i was very wrong.
- a friend is traveling and asked me how to eat well while staying in a hotel without a kitchenette.
- last weekend I went home where my grandparents have a professional chef cooking in their house (hi B!) who cooks real whole meals with lovely fresh ingredients procured that day (at Whole Foods).

Anyway, point is, food is not something that we use to fuel our life anymore. Rather, it is something that Americans have to really spend some time thinking about. Ben has been reading a lot of Michael Pollan lately. Yesterday he was reading The Omnivore's Dilemma and kept laughing out loud. He's so cute! I digress. Anyway, Mr. Pollan has another book about the rules of eating and it is succinctly called: Food Rules. While I don't think I've ever read the whole thing i've skimmed it, read some articles, and seen the author on Oprah so I do know that his first rule is to Eat Food.

Sounds ridiculous, right? But consider your last meal or snack. How much of it was real food and how much was strange ingredients that you can't pronounce. Maybe it was even in bright colors that we don't find in nature. I've seen people without a real food in their house! Rather poptarts, snack bars, canned soups, and anything else that comes from a package fills their cabinets. It almost seems as if the middle of the grocery store where the processed foods are kept is growing while the periphery that contains fruits, vegetables, and dairy is shrinking. Ben thinks that our country is in a food crises because we do not have a strong food culture telling us what real meals we should eat (chai tea vs koolaid). Instead we're searching for anything that the television and our fast-paced lives tell us to grab. Because a lot of the things we're ingesting are not even real food we cannot know what they are doing to our bodies. We are not made to eat these things. Hence diabetes, cancer, obesity, etc etc etc that plague us.

In his book, A Life Worth Breathing (more on that soon!!), Max Strom writes:

The taking in of food is something we often take for granted, to the point where we completely forget that the food items, whether animal or vegetable, were recently living beings that now no longer live in order that we may life...Now it is all too common to use reductive terms for food in an unconscious way of disconnecting from it: A cow becomes a steak, a calf becomes veal, a chicken becomes poultry, etc. We procure our food from neon-lit markets and forget that all of these things exist due to the miracle of creation." 

So be conscious and present in your eating. If you're focusing on your meal and being present in each moment (like your yoga teaches you!) you cannot overeat. I think it goes even further than that. We eat things like Doritios (where is that neon orange color coming from!?) every single day as fuel for our bodies and our brains because we are just shoving it in our mouths without thinking. Or else, we're over-thinking it and instead of grabbing an apple and some carrots we're eating slimfast shakes and nutrigrain bars. We're so weird!!

Now, I know I could say a whole lot more on this subject. But I don't like preaching (hah). If you're at all interested, go out and learn more about real food on your own. Read about it. OR, just try to eliminate any processed and most packaged foods- shop on the outside of the grocery store or try to buy 75% of your food from the farmers market. New Orleans has such a good farmers market on Saturdays (and other days but Sat is when I go) where you can get dairy, meats, fishes, breads, sweets, vegetables, fruits, herbs, flowers, sweets, grains...  You may, at first, get headaches as your body adjusts to the withdrawal of all those chemicals. But if you stop eating the refined sugars and sugar-chemicals (dextrose, blahblahblah) you will find that real food is sweet on its own (corn, peas, apples, bananas...)

But also, remember to be gentle on yourself. Extremes are never good. And, notice that I said nothing about desserts here. If you love sugar bake it into whatever form you want- just don't go to the store to buy things with huge amounts of sugars in and you can't tell what is actually in it anyway. You know i'd never say to stop baking ;)

Gotta run- no time to spellcheck or read this through-  mosquitos are harassing me in my living room! 

1 comment:

  1. Love this! I have all of Pollan's books on my to-read list and I can't wait. I try to eat as much fresh food as possible and I avoid processed food for the most part, but when I'm living on my own it will be a lot easier to control what food comes in and out of my own kitchen!

    Gret topic for discussion!