Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food, gives a list of rules to live by (in the world of food) if you are trying to be healthier. It’s meant to be helpful, not stressful….and also to simplify the process of figuring out what the heck to eat!
Here are the rules:
- Don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.
This means no Tofurkey, hot dogs, Fruit roll-ups…..etc.
- Avoid food products containing ingredients that are A) unfamiliar, B) Unpronouncable, C) More than five in number, or that include D) High fructose corn syrup. Sara Lee’s Soft & Smooth Whole Grain White Bread was Pollan’s example for this rule–it falls short in every way. It actually shouldn’t be labeled “bread,” but somehow the FDA lets it slide.
- Avoid products that make health claims.
If it has a health claim, it’s probably a bunch of *&^%. Stay away (unless, as Petra would like them to do, Wegmans miraculously starts labeling all the benefits provided by the items in the produce department….great idea, but highly unlikely!)
- Shop the peripheries of the supermarket and stay out of the middle.
I know the edge of the Pittsford Wegmans also includes the bakery, beer, and processed cheese—so take the real meaning from this piece of advice…..buy unprocessed food (refer to above rules)!
- Get out of the supermarket whenever possible.
Think Farmers Markets (the Public Market in Rochester…Lots of farm stands lining the country roads in rural areas. Are there any in Buffalo?) and CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture). Did you know you can “subscribe” to a farm to receive weekly veggies? —a much better subscription for your health than those trashy gossip mags you may be reading 🙂
In the end, do a little bit of planning and put in some effort (yes, it takes effort—your health is worth it!). You’ll feel good about yourself and your choices.
My favorite find from this week?
Pasta made out of black beans and water. We paired it with some fancy sauce with no additives, and both things met all the requirements above. It was a little more expensive than traditional spaghetti and Prego…but it was delicious and we were completely satisfied all-around.