In one of my classes this past semester, a professor of mine mentioned a book titled "In Defense of Food", by Michael Pollan. He talked about how the book followed foods from their origins, through food manufacturing, and to our plates. The book seemed interesting, but I knew I was never going to have the time to read it. While on Netflix the other day, however, a documentary popped up with the same title, and I got probably a little too excited. I sat down to watch it and was surprised when Pollan mentioned seven tips and tricks on how to eat your way to a healthier lifestyle. The biggest tip that stuck with me the most, however, was the idea to, "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants".
This mentality combats what is called the "Standard American Diet". Let's face it, in America, we eat a lot of processed food, a lot of meat, and our foods contain a lot of words we can't pronounce. The portion sizes are also a lot larger than most other countries, and by the time the food reaches our plates, it is disconnected from the original food supply. This, in turn, makes it harder for us to realize what exactly we're eating, making us more prone to overindulge. At the same time, the least healthy food is always more accessible and convenient for the hectic on-the-go lifestyles we lead, whether it be pre-packaged or waiting for us at a drive-thru.
I love Pollan's quote because it is a simple rule that is easy to remember when you're thinking about what to eat for the day. You should try not to overindulge in too much of one thing, and always eat plants. As mentioned in an earlier post, eating a variety of fruits and veggies daily is recommended by the USDA and it nourishes your body. Similary, eating more than one serving of meat a day is proven to increase your risk of certain cancers and potentially diabetes. Confused about what Pollan means when he says "eat food"? Simply put, he mentions you should avoid "food" your great-grandmother would not recognize as food. In their past lifetime, food was significantly less processed and there were no ingredients that couldn't be pronounced. Today, the food industry focuses on mass-production which puts out items that are edible, but may not have a significant nutritional value.
All in all, this documentary was a great reminder to be mindful of what you are eating. I would greatly recommend watching it if you want to learn more about health issues such as obesity and cardiovascular disease, how certain foods affect the body, and the food disparity the Unites States faces in primarily lower-income communities.
Inspiring others to lead healthier lifestyles, one recipe at a time.