Real Food

It’s important to eat real, whole food as often as absolutely possible. We will never be able to know exactly what every food or combination of nutrients does for or against us. Nature works in complex ways. And because none of these nutrients exist in a bubble we can’t definitively test them.

Eggs are a perfect example. Science found the cholesterol in them, we all freaked out labeling them as artery clogging and birthing the egg white omelet and then … lo and behold we found the nutrient it contains to solve that issue. Naturally. It’s not an exact science we need to trust that we were built to work in harmony with the earth we were put on. The more we mess with that intension the greater risk we face of knocking our bodies out of sync. (Since the beginning of the Low-fat “health” craze, health disease statistics have actually risen. .. fyi)

By the same token, Fresh is mostly best. Holds the integrity of the food and everything in it. Frozen, similar concept.

In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan

I have recently finished reading a book that talks to this topic directly. Michael Pollan is a journalist with very distinct opinions about the position of traditional American agriculture and its influence on the way we eat. In Defense of Food speaks to this point of “nutritionism”, which Pollan defines as “the widely shared but unexamined assumption” that “foods are essentially the sum of their nutrient parts.” He is concerned that the more we try to pinpoint each nutrient and chemical in our natural foods and recreate it in our processed foods, the more we miss the point. Pollan seems to believe that the more we mess with nature the unhealthier we actually become.

I think that makes a lot of sense in part because I believe in the context in which I live. The environment that surrounds me and I are deeply intertwined. We were all intended to work together and as we progress through scientific breakthroughs for disease we need to continually take responsibility for our natural part in the equation. We have gotten lazy and tried to take the short cut to health relying on pills and supplements to nourish us.

Pollan speaks briefly to our culture of eating and compares it to others around the world. The French and Italians savor their meals and eat the same foods they have made for centuries. They are a healthier people for it. Somewhere along the lines the majority of Americans have gotten to appreciate food only when rich and glutinous. All along missing the joy in simple flavors brought together in beautiful harmony to form delicious meals.

There are so many factors that surround eating and Pollan touches on them with his personal style of political annoyance et al. The amount of time we spend eating, the effort and money we put into feeding ourselves and our move away from mealtime as family time and how all of this effects the changes in our diet and ultimately our health.

Personal “Nutritionism”

Certainly while I was dropping pounds I read all about which trendy miracle nutrient could make all my dreams come true. Fiber, B12, Omega-3s. All of them are essential and for years we didn’t think about them because we ate food where those things appeared naturally. We think about them so much more now because we have to add them back in our foods. We make meals practically out of thin air (mostly corn and soybeans as Pollan educates.) and so in order to try and meet the needs of our bodies we stick nutrients in things they don’t naturally appear in. Fiber in cereal bars, calcium in oj, omega-3 fats in bread.

I have to say eating those things was a great beginning for me. Jump started my efforts without changing my lifestyle of non-cooking too much. And as I continue my balancing act, I will have a place in my diet for some of those nutrients outside the foods they originated in. We are lucky to that point. We are able to take control of our diets with the knowledge of years of research and intellectual brain power. Always keeping in mind that it is not an exact science.

But now that I have grasp on the important things my body needs I am changing the way I get those things. It really is a lifestyle change to eat so many fruits and vegetables, but its important for my team. They take time to prepare, they cost money and they require a certain bit if creativity at times. But when I am filling up on such a variety of foods, my body and my psyche line up.

Give and Take

Breakfast: 2 eggs, some hashbrowns with Tabasco, rye toast with jam… coffee.
There is nothing too interesting about hashbrowns. Judging by the Norwood’s Café’s motif (including a signed and autographed picture of George W. sitting in the both behind me in late September 2001), I am guessing these used to be frozen, but are essentially real potatoes. I appreciate their lack of flavor. Potatoes don’t have much on their own so I know they haven’t been salted and are very lightly fried. Spicy foods raise your metabolism hence the Tabasco. Again there is plenty of sugar in the jam.. So moderation is key here.

Yoga: 30 minutes concentrating on stretches for comfort during meditation, shoulder stretches and brief spine loosening movements.