Book Summary: In Defense of Food, Part 3

First two summaries found here and here.

This is where the book got good. It talks about HOW we should eat.

Part 3:  Getting over Nutritionism

1 – Escape From the Western Diet

  • It is tempting to get hung up on individual nutrients (like certain fats, or carbohydrates, or antioxidants), but we need to view food as a whole.
  • Stop eating a western diet!  People eating this way are prone to all kinds of disease.
  • p. 143 “Instead of worrying about nutrients, we should simply avoid any food that has been processed to such an extent that it is more the product of industry than nature.”
  • The problem is that industrialization has now invaded whole foods too, so be careful!  Ex: A steak that came from a cow fed a diet of corn, industrial waste, antibiotics and hormones is not a “whole food.”

2 – Eat Food: Food Defined

  • Don’t eat anything your Great-Grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.
  • Beware of things you think she might recognize (like bread) but which is actually filled with ingredients that she would not recognize.
  • Avoid Food Products Containing Ingredients That Are a) Unfamiliar, b) Unpronounceable, c) More Than Five in Number, or That Include d) High Fructose Corn Syrup.
  • Avoid Food Products That Make Health Claims
  • Shop The Peripheries Of The Supermarket And Stay Out Of The Middle
  • Get Out Of The Supermarket Whenever Possible (and shop at Farmers Markets, join CSAs, or Buy Local Produce)

3 – Mostly Plants: What To Eat

  • Eat mostly plants, especially leaves.
  • You are what you eat eats too (you are essentially eating what the animal ate, or what nutrients were in soil of plants, or what was sprayed on crops).  Pg. 167 “For most of our food animals, a diet of grass means much healthier fats in their meat, milk, and eggs, as well as appreciably higher levels of vitamins and antioxidants.  Sometimes you can actually see the difference, as when butter is yellow or egg yolks are bright orange.”
  • If you have the space, buy a freezer.
  • Eat well-grown food from healthy soils
  • Eat wild foods when you can.
  • Be the kind of person who takes supplements.  Those who take supplements are typically more health conscious, better educated, etc., but save your money.  For the most part it doesn’t do much for you if you are eating a healthy diet…that is until you are 50, then it is probably a good idea to take a multivitamin-and-mineral pill and possibly a fish oil pill as well.
  • Eat more like the French, or the Italians, or the Japanese, or the Indians, or the Greeks.  That is, make food a social event, take your time to feel full, and make portions smaller.
  • Regard nontraditional foods with skepticism.
  • Don’t look for the magic bullet in the traditional diet.  Don’t waste time looking for the one food that produces good health.  Just try to eat a wide variety of whole foods.

4 – Not Too Much: How to Eat

  • Pay more, eat Less.  There is a trade-off in eating between quantity and quality.  The better the food, the less of it you will have to eat to feel satisfied.
  • Eat meals.  One-fifth of all eating occurs in the car!  Snacking is a huge problem, and a source of a large amount of empty calories.
  • Do all your eating at a table.
  • Don’t get your fuel from the same place your car does.
  • Try not to eat alone.
  • Eat slowly.
  • Cook, and, if you can, plant a garden.

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