Friday, August 01, 2008

In Defense of Food

Towards the end of vacation I found myself out of reading material. I had already finished the two books I had brought with (which, ironically in the past, I've packed maybe 5 books and not managed to finish one so this time I went lighter with 2 and finished them all LOL!). Anyway, there was a great little book store in town, so I stopped in and picked up In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. I had been wanting to read it ever since reading Omnivore's Dilemma earlier this year but hadn't been able to get ahold of it yet, so I decided to treat myself and just buy it.

I am SO glad that I did buy it. I managed to finish the book just as we were on the commuter train coming home. First of all, the book is not as hard to read as Omnivore's Dilemma (OD) - it is thinner and more concise I think. Now, I LOVED OD a lot. But my dh is not an avid reader and even though that book inspired me to change some of our eating behavior, it wasn't something I could pass on to him. However, In Defense of Food (IDoF) is something I think he could certainly read. Because again, this book is really about how to chance your eating habits. The catch phrase is "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." And for me, as I read his book and all he had to say just made a lot of sense and clicked in my head.

Pollan offers some advice on what to eat. The rules are not specific - for example it doesn't say eat 2 red vegetables a day, 3 green ones, only carbs on Tuesday and no fat at all on Friday, blah, blah, blah. Well, they aren't even rules per se so much as they are guides. And it all pretty much revolves around "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." And so, I'm trying to change our diet a bit this week. Not radically - I don't want a mutiny at dinner time LOL! However, in some sense, we already started shifting our diet last fall with my dd's dietary issues - we began then to incorporate rice, beans, more fruits and veggies, etc, etc. And so, in that regard - thanks to my dd - we began to eat much healthier in the fall than we ever were before. But, we still eat lots and lots of junk - too much. So this week, I've been tightening it up again since being home.

Even more fruits and veggies. Less meat. More cooking from scratch. Trying out a few new recipes. Still not perfect. Not even close to perfect at all. But I feel like we are getting closer. And I know our diet will never be perfect. I still love my coca-cola. My kids will probably always want to eat goldfish and cereal that is less than ideal. And yet, knowing that we won't be 100% perfect certainly isn't a reason to not try to eat healthier (which I sometimes have the mindset that if I can't do it all the way, I shouldn't even try).

The best thing, is so far, everyone in the house is responding well. We almost always have meat every night. We have had meat only 2 nights this week and it has been small portion sizes ... one night my dh made a stir-fry and used not even a pound of meat in it total. And then we had spaghetti and I made meatballs for the sauce. I have probably missed meat the most! I have always said I would NEVER become a vegetarian - that I am a steak and potatoes girl and I NEED to have my meat LOL! But, really, I don't. At least, I don't need to eat it every single night. And so now I am on a quest to be a "flexitarian" (yeah, I never heard of that word before last week but it means "A person who adheres to a diet that consists of non-animal based foods, but occasionally indulges in meat." from wikipedia). Although we might have more animal products than even a flexitarian allows for - but we are trying.

I don't expect to wake up tomorrow in perfect health at all. I don't expect to lose weight. I don't plan for all our problems to disappear. But, I do think that if we eat healthier, in general our bodies will work a bit better. Maybe not right away. And maybe not even enough for us to feel it. But at the same time, I can't imagine how this will hurt us.

So with all that said - go, go and pick up IDoF. Read it and enjoy it!

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