Michael Pollan Inspired: Some Healthy Ideas!

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Last night, my daughter and I went to see Michael Pollan.  He is truly THE most knowledgeable human being on the planet when it comes to food science, nutrition, farming practices, food corporations, and all things food. He is a professor at Berkeley and has just written this new book called “Cooked”.
I loved his book “In Defense of Food” and often take quotes from it when I am teaching.  In it, he says, in order to live a healthier life we need to:
1. Eat “food” (not the frankenfood that has been created by some of these large corporations.
2.  Eat less of it (one of the reasons for the obesity epidemic is because portions have become so large)
3.  Eat mainly plants – he is not vegetarian, but believes we need to consume more plant products and “real” food, as well as eat the best (ethically raised and sustainable) meat/poultry/fish you can afford.
So, in this new book, he talks about cooking our own food, getting back to the table and and taking the time to share our lives together around the kitchen table the way generations before have done for decades.  I can’t wait to start reading this book because it encompasses everything I believe to be true about the issues we now face around the loss of health as well as family values.
That being said, I am not a good pupil when it comes to eating mindfully (he said cooking should be like yoga…when in the kitchen, the rules should be patience, practice and presence).  I also don’t do well with moderation…especially when it involves sugar.
But, something struck a nerve with me.  He said that we, as a nation, would be lighter and healthier if we just ate what we cooked.  I immediately thought that this wouldn’t be true for me (especially after I had consumed far too many rhubarb squares I made yesterday).  However, I really thought about the mindless calories I consume everyday without giving it a second thought (a latte at Starbucks…just because; the Oreo from my pantry that was calling my name when I was having a cup of tea; the handful of french fries from my son’s “after exam starvation attack”).  What if I ate only what I cooked?  Would I lose a few pounds?  Clearly, I bake and cook more than the average person so it won’t be that life changing…or would it?
So, I am going to try with an experiment.  Starting today, I am going to make a promise to try and eat only what I make (barring events that we have to go to that have already been booked).  But, just as you clean out your pantry before you begin a new diet, I need to get ready.  How about a “real food” station?  A place where you can grab snacks without thinking (or before your crazy brain convinces you that you really need a hunk of chocolate instead of an apple).

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So I put together some quick “grab and go” snacks that anyone in my family can munch on at home on en route to their next appointment/work. I used what I had in the fridge and, to my surprise, I had plenty that I would have never grabbed. Snack bags (Ziploc) full of carrots and sugar snap peas, almonds, cherries, home made granola bars (in another post), cherry tomatoes and some coconut water to round it out (It is definitely an acquired taste but it has natural electrolytes so think if it as a healthy version of Gator-aid).

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Then I found a great basket that they could all go in and look great siting on the counter…brilliant!

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Another brilliant moment (imagine, two in one hour!)…I remember buying this cute lunch bag at Winners or Target to carry goodies in that needed to be insulated and kept cold. But like many healthy ideas, it was neatly tucked away in a cupboard behind the chocolate and cookies.

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It looks like a purse (sorry gentlemen) and you would never know it is nicely insulated…and what a great folding fork. I think it only set me back about $15. So, every morning, I am going to grab a few items and carry them with me so, when the hunger pangs begin, I will have an plan of attack!
1 Comment
  • Cindy Hayen
    April 9, 2014

    Cindy Hayenlink06/07/2013 11:06am
    Great ideas Suzie! I totally agree with all of this and am also a fan of Michael Pollan. I’ve been vegetarian since August 2012 for health reasons but mostly because of the unethical way the animals we eat are raised and killed. If we were truly to become more conscious of what and how much we put in our mouth, we would be a healthier nation. You’ve inspired me to try your experiment! (she says as she pops a chocolate almond in her mouth!)
    Reply
    Suzie Durigon06/07/2013 11:16am
    Thanks Cindy! I have been toying with the whole vegetarian thing (maybe flexitarian is a better option for me). I really should eat more plants but eating too much meat isn’t usually my problem. If being vegetarian meant no bread or cookies, then that would be a life changer!

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