the joy of strength training

Gubernatrix

December 20th, 2010 at 4:13 pm

Food

» by in: diet

 

Roasted vegetables

Mmmm, food. I love food! Talking about it, shopping for it, eating it (I am not such a fan of cooking it, but I make an effort).

I finally got around to reading Michael Pollan’s In Defence of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, having heard snippets from it for a few years. I’ve even quoted from it in this blog, without having actually read the thing.

Well I can tell you folks, it is worth reading the book. Even if you think you know what it’s all about and what Michael Pollan’s take is (as I assumed I did). This is the sort of book I would recommend to anyone; not just foodies, fitness freaks, serial dieters or fitness professionals.

Pollan has really put his finger on the issue behind our relationship with food, our growing obesity and unhealthiness, our food neuroses and our search for solutions in the shape of fad diets or bad science.

What I really like about this book, though, is that it is easy to read. Pollan isn’t trying to make a scientific point or unveil some new discovery, so he doesn’t have to trot out study citations (you can find a study to support almost anything these days) in order to sound convincing. He’s just trying to put us back in touch with what we already know instinctively as human beings but have buried under the weight of modern conveniences.

And, refreshingly, he doesn’t scaremonger. In fact, he’s doing the opposite – reminding us that good food is good food, as it always was. Butter = lovely! Eggs = great! Red wine = good for you!

The modern hunter-gatherer

We don’t have to kill our own meat any more, or dig up our own roots (although you can if you want to), but we should be spending a lot more time hunting for the right foods and gathering from different sources – rather than going to one big supermarket and throwing it all in the trolley.

How is the food made? Where did it come from? Who owns the farm, where is the farm? Do they farm organically? How far did the food travel? What has been added to it? What were the animals fed on?

Just as a hunter might teach her son how to track animals, we must teach our children how to read labels and understand where the most healthful food can be found – whether that is at a local farmers’ market, your own garden or the organic section at the supermarket.

A better understanding of where our food comes from and under what circumstances it was made will lead us to better health, a more sustainable lifestyle and a greater sense of community from understanding the food chain.

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  • 1

    Well, we COULD kill our own meat, and boy do I miss doing it! Do you have any idea how good FRESH venison is with eggs?

    Merry Christmas to you Sally! Well-written, as always!

    Justin_P on December 20th, 2010
  • 2

    Yes, that’s what I meant. Plenty of people hunt here; my last landlord in Cornwall was a keen hunter. In the UK it is traditional to go hunting on Boxing Day – don’t know if you have this tradition in the US?

    My sister and brother-in-law slaughter and cook a goat every year for Kurban Byram, a religious festival. In fact, my brother-in-law gets paid to go round and slaughter the neighbours’ goats if they don’t want to do it themselves.

    Oh and Merry Christmas to you too!

    gubernatrix on December 20th, 2010
  • 3

    Hi,
    This is a really nice post. Thanks for sharing this information.

    Karen Sibert on December 27th, 2010
  • 4

    Love food, including the cooking bit. In fact, fascinated with the skill of certain chefs.
    For me, food = love. Not just any food, the good stuff.
    As an example, this week i got some fillet steak and some brisket, pricewise at the very different ends of the scale. Sardines and cod same thing. It doesn’t have to be expensive. But both delicious and healthy with a balanced diet.
    Another point is so much enphasys is placed in 5 a day, people actually struggle. When it can be so easy. Eat a piece of fruit as dessert at lunch and at dinner, and the rest comes easy. Eat power foods eggs and liver, fish and you’re laughing. In my mind, society needs to re-learn how to put a meal together so it becomes second nature.
    I was raised knowing were food comes from (I don’t claim to know every single piece of veg, where it comes from, climates, etc, but the basics are certainly there), and have killed to eat. Not the most pleasant thing in the world first time round but as your focus is ending that life in the most painless and distress-free manner you can to the animal, it becomes second nature and helps you 1)be grateful for what you eat 2)be more respectful about life in general.
    Now, i’ve started my own little allotment in a small portion of the garden, not big, enought for a few plants and varieties.
    I want to make sure that my child who is now 2 knows that potatoes, veg, tomatoes, meat, fish doesn’t come from the biggest nearby supermarket’s shelves (which used to be called hypermarkets when supermarkets were more the size of your tesco express, and i’m not even that old!!).
    I want her to know that local markets, butchers, fishmongers bring things to us, from (hopefully) local farms, we’ll go and visit local farms for potatoes and some meat (especially lamb, and rump steak is as good as sirloin from any of the supermarkets). Not only that but there is a skill and knowledge that simply doesn’t exist in the attempted equivalent at the supermarkets nor do they have similar variety for instance in fish. And then track those to the source: the farms, the ports..
    What re-inforced this was hearing children not knowing what a tomato or a potato is, and grown ups never have experienced much in the realms of fresh food – unless it comes from the freezer :). One of my colleagues eats takeaways most days! Another he eats mostly frozen food.
    I feel sad society (very generalised) has got where it is, but on the other hand its encouraging there is a lot of talk about people to try their hand at composting and growing some small things in their gardens/yards/varandas/indoors.
    Bring us back in tough with the earth and what actual life is all about. Exercising and keeping healthy would most likely be a lot easier since it’d be already doing some effort for your sustenance. 😉

    Pedro on February 10th, 2011
  • 5

    True words, Pedro.

    gubernatrix on February 10th, 2011
  • 6

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