From the few people I discuss food with, I get the feeling that I’m not the only person who get overwhelmed by what the hell we should eat eat. I have a friend who is always trying some new diet whether it’s paleo, whole 30, or juicing. I have another friend who eats whatever she wants, but works out obsessively almost every day. My sister just told me that she went to a trainer who told her to eat tilapia (or a can of tuna) every morning for breakfast. There’s definitely a disconnect there, and I know I feel it too.
I know I’ve been on a Michael Pollan kick lately, and I’m way late to the party on this, but he wrote a book that specifically addressed what he thinks that we should eat. And he should probably know, since he’s incredibly interested and educated in food. And he’s donate a ton of on the ground (or factory) research on this subject. In a world where I don’t know what to trust to eat, I’m pretty certain I can trust this guy.
In his book, Food Rules, he explains his 3 rules:
What should I eat? Eat food.
What kind of food? Mostly plants.
How should I eat? Not too much.
These rules are easy to remember, easy to follow and he breaks them down into simple sound bites. I wanted to share my most favorite rules with you, and I’m hoping to share them with my entire family too!
-Don’t eat something your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food. (So no gogurts, hot pockets, etc.)
-Avoid foods that have more than 5 ingredients (the more ingredients, the more processed it probably is)
-Avoid foods with ingredients that a 3rd grader can’t pronounce. (Don’t know what xanthan gum is? Don’t put it in your mouth!)
-Avoid foods that are pretending to be something that they aren’t. (Lite? Fake meat? Artificial sweetener?)
-Avoid foods you see advertised on TV.
-Shop around the grocery store and save the middle aisles for the end. (Most of the healthier foods are kept on the outside aisles and in the middle is the holy grail of sugar: cereal)
-Save meat for special occasions. (A lot of Americans need meat in every meal, but not every meal needs meat as the main course.)
-Eat fermented foods. (Try adding more kimchi, pickles, yogurt, etc.)
-Eat animals that have eaten well.
-Eat food grown in healthy soil. (Not all organic farms are called “organic”, try to choose places who don’t douse their foods in pesticides)
-Eat all the junk food you want, but only if you cook it yourself. (People are lazy. If they want to eat cake, they are less likely to eat it if they have to make it.)
-Have a glass of wine with dinner. (OK!)
Not too much:
-Pay more, eat less. (It’s better to pay more in grocery bills than hospital bills)
-Stop eating before you’re full. (Think: “Is my hunger gone?” rather than: “Am I stuffed?”)
-Eat when you’re hungry, not when you’re bored.
-Eat slowly. (He actually recommends putting down your fork between bites!)
-Buy smaller glasses and plates. (One researcher found that switched a 12 inch plate to a 10 inch plate cut food consumption by 22%)
-Don’t go back for seconds.
-Do all your eating at a table.
-Try not to eat alone.
I’ll be honest, it’s tough to know what to eat. But I think these guidelines are really helpful and I hope they help you too!