Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants.

Last week, I spent a few days in Redondo Beach visiting my three grandchildren and my daughter, Julie-ann. Three PM Sunday Julie-ann dropped me off at the LA Airport for the flight home. On my way to the gate, I stopped in the bookstore and purchased In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. I figured I’d make good use of the hours in the air.

Instead of the announcement to board the plane, the flight attendant notified the waiting passengers the cockpit window needed to be replaced on the 747 parked at our gate. Unusual, I never heard of a flight delayed because of a cockpit window. They “hoped” to have it completed in two hours by 5 PM. The fight was originally scheduled to take off at 4 PM. At best I had an extra hour to wait. At least I had a book to read.

A safe windshield must be important for flight. I wouldn’t want the pilot to be sucked out of the cockpit, leaving passengers clinging onto their seats for dear life.

United kept us updated every 30 to 40 minutes. Of course, we didn’t board at 4 or 5, either. We boarded shortly after 6 and then sat on the plane for an hour waiting for a final check. Reading helped to pass the time. I watched the movie, too.

Katelyn is snacking on real food…snap peas…yum!

Pollan’s premise for healthy eating is evident in the first three sentences in his book, In Defense of Food: “Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” The opening is brilliant. In the following 227 pages he explains his thesis.

I didn’t agree with everything presented In Defense of Food. But Pollan was right that we don’t eat real food. He is also right in we have managed to divorce “nutrients” from whole food and think it will be as beneficial.

His evolution connection with traditional eating patterns was quite a stretch. Pollan’s expectation is one day people will evolve to derive nutrients from the foods we regularly eat with ingredients like high fructose corn syrup and bleached white flour. Absurd, if you ask me. (He didn’t ask me.) This logic takes a giant leap of faith, even for those who accept Darwin’s theory of the evolution of plant and animal species. According to Pollan, a lot of people would die in the process (survival of the fittest, I guess). Not reassuring, at least to me. People were designed to eat whole foods. We will never “evolve” to be healthy on engineered foods, no matter what Pollan asserts.

Overall, he writes in a manner that is easily understood and debunks “nutritionism’s” take on food. That is you can take parts of food expecting they will be as beneficial as the whole.  (The evolution premise ends up contradicting his main point. Just goes to show you what lengths some people will go to validate their personal beliefs. Oh well.) He says that nutrient content is not as important as the degree of processing. “A whole food might be more than the sum of its nutrient parts.” Amen to that!

Food is nourishing. What Americans eat is mostly not food. Claims on the package stating the nutritional benefits are misleading at best. Worse, is that we are in denial about the foods we regularly eat and the FDA tells us that some real food is bad for you (i.e.: fat is bad). When you eat real food, you don’t have to worry too much about fat or even calories, because you’re eating food the way it was designed for your body. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist, but it’s an obvious fact nutritionists often overlook.

“Eat food. Not too much. And mostly plants.” Simple enough, yet not so easy if you’re used to consuming the Standard American Diet (SAD). In fact, it can seem impossible, especially if you have a picky eater who thinks all green veggies are yucky. Well, you’re in the right place, because getting kids to eat their veggies isn’t as difficult as you might think. To have a healthy family it takes some determination and a commitment to whole foods. With Baby Bites in a matter of a few weeks your picky eater can be on the road to healthy eating. Click Here to read a synopsis of Baby Bites: Transforming a Picky Eater into a Healthy Eater.

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