Sunday, February 5, 2012

Thinking About Whole Foods

I have been reading a lot of books about food.  I’ve read books about what hunter-gathers ate, books about people sneaking into poultry farms in the middle of the night and the horrors they saw, books trying to prove how dogs would really rather eat a vegan lifestyle (okay that was just a chapter in a book about raw foods), I also read a clever recipe for how to make raw pancakes (it was actually very good)….The range of books on the topic of food in my public library is quite extensive.  A lot of it is a little nutty.  I have studied in the scriptures extensively on the subject as well-that’s where I started-and I have found some really interesting things.
The most important message I have gotten in all my reading is to eat WHOLE foods.  Not parts of food, but real, whole foods.  An apple is a real food.  We found some salsa that only has whole foods in it.  It’s yummy. 

I have found one book amongst the masses of dwaddle on the subject that has some good ideas.  It’s called, “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto” by Michael Pollan.  He makes some interesting points about how we are more concerned with nutrients (or parts of food) instead of in the food itself.  Here is his succinct, sage advice: “Eat food.  Not too much. Mostly plants.”  That pretty much sums it up right?

Mr. Pollan had some good advice about his first point: “Eat food.”  (Pointing out he means real food, not parts of food or synthetic food).  Here are his points to finding and eating (whole, real) food. 

  1. Don’t eat anything your grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food. He says Go-Gurt is not food and your grandma wouldn’t recognize it. (She would recognize yogurt though).  By the way we all know where our red food coloring comes from that is in all our food right? Red bugs, crushed up from South America. Yummy.  Think red M&M’s, grapefruit juice, strawberry yogurt….
  2. Don’t eat anything incapable of rotting. (like Twinkies)
  3. Avoid food products containing ingredients that are:
    1. Unfamiliar
    2. Unpronounceable
    3. More than five in number
    4. Contain high-fructose corn syrup
He listed “Sara Lee’s Soft & Smooth Whole Grain White Bread” as an example of a food that breaks all of these rules. He listed all 41 ingredients but I’m not going to type them here. It would take up a lot of space. He pointed out unfamiliar ingredients like ethoxylated monoglycerides and unpronounceable ones like azodicarbonamide.  Sounds yummy doesn’t it!  And of course it has high-fructose corn syrup.  Do you know how many food items contain high-fructose corn syrup?  Try checking out your refrigerator and you shall be surprised. (Unless your name is Lara or Misty, you threw those foods away along time ago).
  1. Avoid products that make health claims.
  2. Shop the peripheries of the supermarket and stay out of the middle.  (We’ve all heard that one).
  3. Get out of the supermarket whenever possible. Meaning go to a farmer’s market or grow your own food.
I thought those were some very basic ideas to get our family started on a whole foods way of life.  I’ve been thinking a lot about what Leah Widtsoe said.  I quoted her in my last post.  Summarizing her thoughts she said we should spend as much thought into what we feed our children as we do our prize winning livestock. Coming from the area of the world I live in and the passion around us for 4-H that is a very interesting thought.


crazy4boys said...

I threw out all the HFCS a long time ago too! I'm cool like Misty and Lara!!! We struggle with some autistic-like problems/learning problems in our house and corn syrup feeds that, and has been shown to have horribly high levels of mercury which is dangerous for anyone. Add in all the blood sugar issues, empty calories and such and it's just not worth it.

These are great, basic ideas from which you can base your eating. We're so excited to finally have land so we can grow a garden again...we'll know where our produce comes from. I also like to support CSAs and Farmer's Markets and get my eggs and meat directly from the farmer (if I lived on more land with proper zoning I'd grow/raise my own). And use the Grandma Rule. I also heard someone say if it has more than 5 ingredients it's probably not healthy either.

Great thoughts. I'll have to check that book out.

Amy said...
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Nicole said...

Gotta say, I love that book! Like you, I have read myriad health/psuedo health books in my time. Like you, I keep coming back to the basics: eat real food; keep it simple. (Unless I'm in the mood to really play in the kitchen--then it may not be so simple--but still real.) I find that having a menu really helps keep me on track, esp. when pregnant!
We cannot do HFCS or sugar (other than honey, maple syrup and sucanat) without behavioral issues--myself included! Horrid stuff, that!

Nicole said...

Oops, I meant to say that refined sugars really affect our moods, but behavior (though, for the little ones, it boils down to the same, kiddoes=mood/behavior. LOL).

Twinmomwv said...

This is something I have been striving for lately in our family also. I recently found a website, that challenges you to eat all your meals without preservatives or additives. She has even posted menus including all daily meals plus snack. I have found it incredibly helpful in planning my monthly menu! I was also excited to see the article in this month's Ensign on the Word of Wisdom. I know a lot of people who are jumping on various grain-free diet bandwagons and the quote that ALL grains are good for man was a great reminder for me. The videos touting these lifestyles can be very convincing!

sariah said...

I've been on a health kick the last 2 months. I'm trying to greatly increase the amount of fresh fruit and veggies we eat everyday and cut the sugar. I've noticed that I get less headaches when I cut the sugar and "snacky junk" food. By the way, using has been a very helpful and affordable way to have a variety of fresh produce in the house. Have you discovered them too?