Popular food journalist Michael Pollan has proposed that our focus on “nutritionism” (a focus on individual nutrients rather than whole foods) is the basis for America’s health problems. Through his years of qualitative research, he has suggested the following rules of thumb for eaters like you:
- Eat food. Don’t eat anything your great-great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.
- Avoid food products that come bearing health claims. They’re likely to be heavily proccessed. Fresh fruits and vegetables don’t have them because they don’t need them.
- Especially avoid food products containing ingredients that are a) unfamiliar, b) unpronounceable, c) more than five in numbers – or that contain high-fructose corn syrup.
- Get out of the supermarket whenever possible. You won’t find any high-frucctose corn syrup at the farmers’ market.
- Pay more, eat less. Better food may cost more, but that’s because it has been grown with more care. Buying local and organic benefits your health and your community.
- Eat mostly plants, especially leaves. By eating a plant-based diet, you’ll consume fewer calories and more vitamins and nutrients.
- Eat more like the French. Or the Japanese. Or the Italians. Or the Greeks. Eat according to the rules of your traiditional food culture – it’s generally healthier.
- Cook. And if you can, plant a garden. “The culture of the kitchen…contains more wisdom about diet and health than you are apt to find in any nutrition journal or journalism.”
- Eat like an omnivore. Biodiversity in what you eat means more nutrients, better health, and less monoculture in the fields.