I have a long history of tinkering with myself. I became a vegetarian and animal rights activist around the age of 11 and then around 16 I gave up trying to change the world and had a cheeseburger. Since then I’ve gone through periods of eating meat and not, eating organic and not, eating local and not. As Charlie and I discussed on Episode 25, I am currently back on the eating healthy bandwagon. It’s only been a week or so but I feel like it’s different this time. I feel like this is something I am going to be able to stick with. Of course we will have to wait and see how well I will do this week while on vacation. That little ice cream stand and all the sangria may be my downfall.
Of course this difficulty in keeping it up just kind of proves my point. It is sad that eating in a healthy and natural way is so difficult to do in our current culture. You really are going against the grain, although increasingly there are more and more options for people trying to eat in a more natural way. One person who had done a huge amount to help change people’s attitudes is the author Michael Pollan. In his book The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Pollan explores the question of what we should have for dinner by tracing the food we eat from field to plate. The book is a great exploration of the industrial food complex and it’s alternatives and while it makes a very good case against factory farms and high fructose corn syrup it didn’t really answer the question of what we should. For that question Pollan wrote the book In Defense of Food and then simplified it even more. Food Rules took the basic concept of In Defense of Food (Eat food, not too much, mostly plants) and broke them into very self-explanatory rules. Rules like “Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food” and “Don’t eat breakfast cereals that change the color of the milk.” These rules are not restrictive and outline ways that people can incorporate eating in a natural and balanced way without moving to commune and living off the land. Food Rules is a rather small book so it was enhanced even more when Pollan collaborated with Maria Kalman to produce and illustrated version. I recommend any of Pollan’s books, actually for just plain reading enjoyment my favorite book of his is the beautifully written and informative A Botany of Desire. But if you are looking to change your eating habits and maybe help the earth a little I do recommend you check out In Defense of Food and Food Rules.