Friday, 18 November 2011

In defence of food

Yum. Food (she says sounding like Homer Simpson). I love food so much I carry it as a spare tyre around my middle. Just the one though, since I'm now back at the weight I've always been. I'm the same now as I was when I was 20 and I wanted to lose that extra bit then too.

I've been reading Jane's blog posts about dropping four stone (not four actual stones, 56lb) and it reminded me of Michael Pollan's rules in his book In Defence of Food.

I read it and then gave up dieting (apart from a brief and foolish foray in to the Dukan diet which was awful. I just don't like meat enough to do that one). Pollan says (on an ad for the book I clipped from a magazine and stuck to my fridge):


The ad also conveniently lists his The Rules of the Real Food Revolution. My comments in italics:

 1. Don't eat anything your grandmother wouldn't recognise as food. Quorn, for example. What the heck is Quorn anyway? Ugh. 

 2. Eat a wide diversity of species. Pizza is NOT a species. Don't eat anything that's on the 'at risk of extinction' list though.

 3. Pay more, eat less. This absolutely applies to ALL types of meat. Eat good meat or none at all. Free range chicken is more expensive but it's worth it.

4. Avoid foods containing ingredients you can't pronounce. I don't think this means avoiding Szechuan pepper and chorizo. It means things like butylated hydroxytoluene.

5. Shop at the peripheries of the supermarket; stay out of the middle. The cakes, chocolate and junk are in the middle. Run in, grab some Green and Black's 85% plain chocolate, run back out to the vegetables, pulses and nuts.

6. Don't eat anything that won't eventually rot. This means the likes of Twinkies. Sugar doesn't rot (except your teeth). Honey doesn't rot either but I think that's an exception to the rule (in my world). Does chocolate rot? I've never managed to keep it long enough to find out...

7. Avoid food products that carry health claims. I can't think of any examples -  slimming tea? In the UK this sort of thing is quite strictly regulated. I assume it doesn't include blueberries and other such fruit although I'm deeply suspicious of goji berries...

8. Don't get your fuel from the same place your car does. Or, in other words, you don't need chocolate just because the car needs petrol and sandwiches from that sort of a place are just plain wrong.

Grow your own if you can. This year's winter salads (half of them) pictured today.

9. Cook and, if you can, grow some of your own food.  Cook from scratch. Cheap, easy, more delicious. Home made doesn't require additives to keep it 'fresh'. If you've made it you know what's in it (and you've only got yourself to blame!)

10. Eat meals only at tables, with other people and always with pleasure. The BEST bit. Families that eat together stay together. The table in front of the TV doesn't count (except on Saturdays with home made pizza and the X Factor - or is that just us?!)

Sound advice from Mr Pollan. Eat good food, not rubbish. Simple. (Oh and move more - run! - but that's a whole other blog post.)


  1. I like all of this food advice, and wish that I could practice the growing my own bit. I do think that I am pretty much in compliance with the rest of the list, and rarely do any between meals snacking.

    My job keeps me active and on my feet for many hours every day, with frequent bending, stretching, etc., so metabolism gets constant reminding to go, go, go.

    Your winter salad bed looks so delicious!

  2. Great advice! I cook everything from scratch and I particularly agree about if you can't pronounce it don't eat it, but I can pronounce chorizo my husband is Spanish.

  3. Good tips there. I am living for the day when I can eat 'normally' again.... when my gall-bladder is removed...

  4. Great advice.
    My expensive and very comfy walking shoes don't seem to get a lot of excersize at the moment. Running out of excuses. A walk today.
    Thanks for the jolt

  5. I completely and totally agree with all of this and live my life this way. It doesn't seem to prevent me being a stone heavier now than I was until I was fifty but I am not too bothered. I should probably run and drink green tea instead of garden, cook and drink wine but what the hell. I am happy.

  6. Now if only I can live by those rules!

  7. Couldn't have put it better myself!


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