According to the World Health Organization’s estimates, one third of the world’s population is overweight or obese. This staggering statistic points to the need to address a problem which is now going beyond just the United States.
Michael Pollan is an author, journalist, activist, and professor of journalism at UC Berkley who has written six books, all addressing, in his opinion, how our relationship with what we eat is broken. He states, “Instead of food, we are consuming “edible food-like substances” – no longer the products of nature but of food science.” His advice is solid: Eat real food – vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish, and meat. Pollan offers 7 Rules for Eating that are good solid rules to live and eat healthfully by.
- Don’t eat anything previous generations would not recognize as food. Would they recognize a portable yogurt tube or a toaster pastry?
- Don’t eat anything with more than five ingredients, or ingredients you cannot pronounce.
- Shop the perimeter of the store where real, basic food tends to be. Think about it…these foods are near the loading docks where it can be replaced frequently by fresh foods when it goes bad.
- Don’t eat anything that will not eventually rot. It should be a bit disconcerting that foods like Twinkies never go bad. Can something like that really be considered “food”?
- Leave the table when you are no longer hungry, not when you are full. Stop eating before realizing and regretting that you “ate too much.”
- Eat around a table, not a TV. Eat at regular meal times. Eat and only eat. Take time during a busy day to eat/refuel.
- Don’t buy food where you buy gas. Most foods there are not “foods of nature but of food science.”
This advice is simple, understandable, and not made harder than it has to be as is the case with a lot of nutrition information. These rules are simple. The hard part is changing lifestyle habits in a culture of too much food eaten too often. That is where one’s readiness to change becomes key. We should all remember that good health trumps good food.
Fran Matteson, MS,RD