Monday, October 15, 2012

My Top 10 Food Rules For Staying Healthy

Over the past year we've really been trying to change the way we eat in my family. I saw an interview with author Michael Pollan while waiting in my doctor's office one day last year and was really interested by the concepts he shared about changing our health and the way we eat. So a little while later I remembered this and looked up his book In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto. I read through it and everything made sense. I got his book Food Rules too, which is a condensed version of about 60 rules and I try to follow as many as I can. 

Well what are they? I'll share my top 10 with you. 

#1. What should you eat? Food. (If it came from a plant, eat it. If it was made in a plant, don't.)
Two rules I combined into one...haha simple, right? But it can actually be pretty complicated to make healthy choices amid the sea of "edible foodlike substances" as Pollan references them, products that are made by science and not grown in nature. What I do is buy and eat food as close to it's natural state as possible/practical/affordable for our family. So instead of buying condensed soups, I make my own with broth, milk, flour, butter, etc. Much better than canned soup with the chemical preservatives that are added to prevent spoiling.

#2. Avoid Food Products Containing Ingredients That A Third Grader Can't Say.
Processed food are going to contain more of the scientific words you don't recognize so avoid these. Natural foods will be straight forward ingredients you will recognize. 

#3. Avoid Foods Pretending to Be Something Else
Margarine, Soy-based imitation meats (soy dogs, etc), artificial sweeteners, and fake fats. Avoid all these due to the high amount of processing they go through to become the fake version of a real food. Again, keep it as close to nature as you realistically can. 

#4. Avoid Foods Advertised on Tv
Think about it, you don't (typically) see commercials for apples or spinach. Only the biggest food manufactures can afford tv advertising campaigns and they make their money on highly processed convenience foods.

#5. Eat Only Food That Will Eventually Rot
Have you ever seen those pictures of a fast food meal right after it was purchased and then again months/years later? No, well they look the same! 

Yuck! There are tons of preservatives and artificial ingredients added and many nutrients are removed to prevent mold growth in this way. You don't want that in your body, there is no break down and our bodies can't deal with it and get it out so it just stores it as fat in the body.

#6. Eat Mostly Plants/Treat Meat as a Special Occasion Food
This is actually two rules, but they're one for us. We've really been focusing on this lately. In April we went completely meatless for a month, my husband's suggestion, he wanted to see if it would help him feel better. I don't know what he found, but I lost 5 pounds just from making that one change! Since then we only eat meat when we eat out on special occasions. We still feel satisfied and we save a ton of money!! Plus, with so much controversy about hormone treated animals, why risk adding those harmful chemicals to your body. 

#7. Sweeten or Salt Your Food Yourself
I know many people who mindlessly add salt/sugar before even tasting their food. Most processed foods today are already overloaded with more salt/sugar than a normal human would add on their own. Instead, do it yourself and you'll consume a fraction of these ingredients. Ingredients that through chronic over consumption can lead to cardiac disease, diabetes, weight gain, etc. 

#8.Eat Sweet Food As You Find Them In Nature
Sugars found in nature usually come with fiber to make you feel full, unlike liquid form which doesn't, so don't drink your sweets! This might hurt some of you: "There is no such thing as a  healthy soda." Besides not having fiber, soda does a whole host of bad things to your body:

#9. Eat Whole Grain Breads:
"The Whiter The Bread, The Sooner You'll Die" 
To the body, white flour is no different than sugar, it can spike your blood sugar and mess with your metabolism. White flour is the result of stripping the wheat of the nutrients, making it mostly empty calories. Try to use mostly whole wheat flour when baking and opt for whole wheat breads to get the most nutrients for your body. 

#10. Eat When You're Hungry Not When You're Bored
So many times we find ourselves standing in front of the pantry/fridge staring mindlessly. Many of us have grown up snacking all day and always needing something to chew on. Instead of snacking, grab a drink of water (I've read that warm/room temp water keeps you full longer) and then do something active! I have really improved myself with this by not keeping snacky or readily available foods in the house. I don't usually feel like cooking just for a snack so I just wait until the next meal or grab an apple. lol

Bonus Rule:
Wait 3 Generations to Eat Man-Made Foods Created With New Processes 
I love this one. I got this one from another site I love to read, Word of Wisdom Living. Skip shares the example of Crisco, it was originally invented in 1911, but by 2011 most everyone knew the dangers of trans fats in Crisco. With time comes more knowledge so don't be the first to jump on the bandwagon of some new foodlike substance/imitation food/or new process of making some food.

There you are, my top 10 11 food rules. What kind of things do you do to keep your family healthy? What are your food rules?

1 comment:

  1. I'm always searching for meatless meal ideas. We still eat a lot of meat, and I'd like to cut back. What are some of your favorites?


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