This much talk about the obesity epidemic has also prompted heated discussions about the food we eat and its quality, as well as the kind of impact it has on our body and, ultimately, our health. Food author Michael Pollan was asked to speak for researchers at the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and his conclusion was just one: it’s our very diet that is making us sick. Thus, he offers seven simple rules to learn precisely which food is good for us and which is not, as WebMD informs
For starters, Pollan says, our society is too obsessed with dieting and losing weight to pay any attention to the health factor any longer. The more we strive to shake off the pounds by dieting, the more unhealthy our eating habits become. This is precisely why we need to get back to the basics and learn to see what food is good for us and what is not. In this sense, we should always steer clear of food-like substances and eat only real meals, the author advises us.
“When you pick up that box of portable yogurt tubes, or eat something with 15 ingredients you can’t pronounce, ask yourself, ‘What are those things doing there?’” Pollan shares, urging us never to eat anything our great grandmother would not recognize as food. Related to this one is also the second rule of healthy eating, which says we should never consume anything that has more than five ingredients or that is made with ingredients whose name we can’t pronounce, because they’re most likely not healthy.
In order to identify the items that are considered “real food,” Pollan recommends we shop only on the aisles that are on the perimeter of the store. In the middle aisles, the author adds, supermarkets store the food-like substances, while real food is on the margin, near the loading docks, where it can be easily replaced when it goes bad. Speaking of going bad, the author also explains that we should never eat aliments that will never rot. With some exceptions (like honey), all real food eventually goes bad – which makes it so that Twinkies are not real food, therefore should be eliminated from our diet.
Another rule of healthy eating would be to never indulge. No matter how famished, we should never leave the table feeling as if on the verge of bursting, Pollan underlines. “Always leave the table a little hungry. Many cultures have rules that you stop eating before you are full. In Japan, they say eat until you are four-fifths full. Islamic culture has a similar rule, and in German culture they say, ‘Tie off the sack before it’s full’.” the author points out.
Also on the topic of meals, we should all try to return to the traditional family custom of family dishes. Regular meals, where all family members gather around the table at a specific hour – and not in front of the TV – are also extremely important from a dietary perspective. “Remember when eating between meals felt wrong?” Pollan asks. That’s because, back then, we knew that snacking was not good for our figure and health.
The last rule of healthy eating says we should never buy our food where we pump gas. Recent studies show that 20% of the food eaten in the US is served in the car. No matter how much in a rush we are, or how badly we feel as if we’re running out of time, fast food is never the answer, the author concludes by saying.