Thursday, May 19, 2011

therapy thursday: death in a drive thru


I recently took a health psychology class, and we had to read a book called Food Rules: An Eater's Manual by Michael Pollan. It's an easy read and gave me a new perspective on my approach to food and what I am putting into my body.

Here's the thing. We like life. We do so many things, whatever it takes, to keep ourselves healthy and alive - working out, getting enough sleep, wearing seat belts and sunscreen, not smoking or drinking too much, having annual doctor visits, etc. But the thing is, we are killing ourselves with food. We go through a drive thru, grab a sandwich, eat it in the car on the way to work, and we think that's progress. That's efficiency.

The truth is, it's killing us. We're overweight, we're fatigued, and we're eating food that can barely be called food because it's so processed and artificially flavored (have you seen how chicken nuggets are made? Warning: it's disgusting and not for the weak-stomached). Despite all of our efforts to stay alive, we are letting bad food wreak havoc on our bodies. Stop it. Think before you eat.

Here are 20 food rules I liked best from Pollan's book:
  1. Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.
  2. Avoid foods that have some form of sugar (or sweetener) listed among the top three ingredients.
  3. Avoid food products that contain more than five ingredients.
  4. Avoid food products that make health claims. - only big food manufacturers have the money to secure FDA-approval. Often products of modern food science that make the biggest claims, which are often founded on incomplete or bad science. Fresh produce doesn't have to boast about its benefits to your health.
  5. Shop the peripheries of the supermarket and stay out of the middle.
  6. Eat only foods that will eventually rot.
  7. It's not food if it arrived through the window of your car, or if it's called by the same name in every language (Think Big Mac, Cheetos, or Pringles).
  8. Drink the spinach water. The water in which veggies are cooked is high in vitamins and other healthful plant chemicals. Save it for soup or add it to sauces.
  9. Eat animals that have themselves eaten well.
  10. Eat sweet foods as you find them in nature. In nature, sugars almost always come packaged with fiber, which slows their absorption and gives you a sense of satiety before you've ingested too many calories. Eat fruit rather than drink it's juice.
  11. Don't eat breakfast cereals that change the color of the milk. These cereals are highly processed, and full of refined carbs, as well as chemical additives.
  12. "The whiter the bread, the sooner you'll be dead."
  13. Eat all the junk food you want as long as you make it yourself.
  14. Eat less. Caloric restriction has repeatedly shown to slow aging in animals, and many  researchers believe it is the strongest link between diet and cancer prevention. We eat more than our bodies need to be healthy, and the excess wreaks havoc, not just on our weight.
  15. Stop eating before you're full. Don't ask if you're full, ask is your hunger gone.
  16. Spend as much time enjoying the meal as it took to prepare it.
  17. Buy smaller plates and glasses.
  18. Serve a proper portion and don't go back for seconds.
  19. Eat meals.
  20. Treat treats as treats.
Now, I can't say that I have followed all of these rules...yet. But just having the knowledge of these food rules has really helped me to simply be aware of what I'm putting in my body. I have been avoiding drive thrus (though I have visited a few times in emergency situations. You understand.). I've been able to eat less, which has actually improved my energy level. I don't snack. I avoid the cookie, cracker and chip aisle at the grocery store. There are so many small changes you can make in your approach to food that can have a significant impact on your health. 


Amanda said...

wow! this is so eye-opening!!!! very good suggestions. i am really really trying to improve my overall health...and already do some of those things on the list. it is just plain scary to think what is in some fast food out there! :/ thanks for sharing this!!

Tessa said...

Thanks for the recommendation, I look forward to reading it and hopefully following it!

The Working Momaholic said...

Really interesting post!

*now following :)


Ashley Borysewich said...

What a cute blog! Following you now :)

I've been dying to read that book, so thanks for reminding me to go and get it!

Lauren said...

This are all rules that really make me really question everything I put into my body.... I need to read this book ASAP.

Katie said...

Great list! I randomly came across your blog and I'm from Columbus too! You look familiar I feel like..? but maybe not! ha ha have a good day!

cal ;) said...

ahhh...i am the #1 culprit of eating copious amounts of fast food.

must. stop.

Selby said...

Great tips!! Thanks for sharing. Very useful.

Amanda said...

I keep hearing his rule, "eat all the junk food you want, as long as you make it," but that's a horrible rule for me! I love to bake and cook...the last thing I need is an excuse to make another cake, lol.

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