You definitely are what you eat
Author Michael Pollan’s book answers the question what should we eat in order to stay healthy? We Americans have been many bad eating habits. In Defense of Food; an Eaters Manifesto, Pollan argues that what we see as “nutrients” are actually just chemicals put into our foods.
No matter who you are, you need food. But what we have to think about is the kind of foods you put into your bodies. Pollan states, “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” Remember, we are what we eat.
In today’s society, we are always on the go. This means most Americans stop at fast food restaurants, eat on the run, or sit in front of the television and eat alone. This is in not healthy for us. It is no longer natural food that we are eating, but food that is processed. This is an unhealthy way of getting the nutrients our bodies crave.
What we need to remember about eating healthy is to rely on our common sense, tradition, and what our mothers and grandmothers have taught us. Chasing the latest fad nutrient is not the way to achieve good nutrition. Fad nutrients are usually unhealthy for a person. These diets do not always lead to long-term weight loss. They also promise dramatic results for a short time and the weight will be gained back once a person is off the diet. Certain foods are avoided to help provide the rapid loss of weight. This can result in poor nutrition. Eating natural, whole foods makes for the right balance.
When we eat more greens, it is healthier for our bodies. This principle is the same for animals who eat greens like grass. Because of this, the animal is eating healthier and will have healthier fats like Omega 3s, and fewer saturated fats in their milk, eggs, and meat. They will also contain higher levels of antioxidants and vitamins. If you look at an egg yolk that is a bright orange, you are seeing the beta-carotene because of the fresh green grass that animal has eaten. So when a person goes to a market, purchasing pastured animal products would be the way to go. Or, if you are a hunter, game animals would be another healthier alternative because they generally have less saturated fats and more Omega 3s. This is because they live on a diet of plants, not grain.
Another wise choice to healthier eating is to have a garden. Your garden offers fresher vegetables than you can get at a grocery store. It would just cost you an hour or two per week to maintain your garden. You know exactly what goes into your soil and that means you know exactly what goes into your body. The benefits are endless. A garden can promote mental stability as well as be personally fulfilling. How satisfying would it be to just have to walk out your door and pick a succulent head of broccoli? You’d be able to cook it for dinner, while smelling the wonderful aroma and seeing its beautiful color. It’s so fresh; it’s still alive. This is what you can call food.
Pollan’s book focuses on a study of Aborigines who had been made sick by a western diet. They then divided their stay between coastal and inland locations. They split their time over a duration of seven weeks. During the stay on the coast, their diet consisted of birds, kangaroo, seafood, and grubs. Because they wanted more plant foods, the tribe moved inland after only two weeks and their diet expanded to yams, figs, bush honey, turtle, and crocodile. Amazingly after only seven weeks in the bush, their health showed impressive improvements. All of them lost weight, averaging eighteen pounds, and their Omega 3 fatty acids increased dramatically. The conclusion of this study showed the prevalence of Type II diabetes lessened.. If the Aborigines decided to go back to western lifestyle habits, it would be safe to say that their health problems would return. Just because we are eating unhealthy now, does not mean we cannot reverse the damage that we have done to our bodies. We as individuals need to make the decision to change.
Because we live in America, one of our rights is freedom of speech. Michael Pollan has used that freedom in writing his book, In Defense of Food. This gives the people an opportunity to change their eating habits, to start eating healthier, and possibly live longer. His book allows people to make their own judgments and decisions. He favors food choices that will enrich our lives and help us understand what it means to be healthy. He gives us facts that most of us at one time learned, but we have forgotten.
Many people rely on spending a good portion of their money on vitamins to stay healthy, but Pollan sees this trend differently. Generally people who do take vitamins are healthier, but it could be because they are better educated and more health conscious. Taking supplements might have nothing to do with being healthier, but it can’t hurt us.
By reading this book you will develop a better understanding of why it makes sense to eat well and make better choices about what we put in our bodies. Choosing organic foods and eating more greens will help make us stronger in mind and in body. It might even give us a different outlook on how we look at food.
The book, In Defense of Food, was full of wonderful ideas and gave me a new perspective on how to look at food. Food does not have to be boring, and it does not have to be unhealthy for you. Eating healthy can be fun, exciting and rejuvenating.
When I first started reading the book, I found the information overwhelming, and I felt the author was repeating the same ideas over and over again. In a sense he was because he was stressing the importance of eating healthy and eating more greens. He stated, “People don’t eat nutrients; they eat foods and foods can behave very differently from the nutrients they contain.”
Overall, the book was very informing and offers many reasons to go green and stay healthy. I would recommend this book to those who care about what they eat or to those who want to learn more about the ways food and nutrition work. If people read this book, it will help them to make healthier eating choices. It might even help them live longer.
Subsistence hunting has been a big part for many Alaskan people. The Alaskan natives have survived for thousands of years on the foods that have been available to them. It has provided the full nutritional value that is needed to stay and maintain good health. Subsistence foods are rich in iron, zinc, Vitamin A, and it has the essential fats, proteins, Vitamin B-12 and Omega 3 fatty acids. All help reduce the risk of heart disease. Growing up in an Alaskan family, we understand the difference from store processed foods and fresh foods made in our own cabin. Pollan’s book confirms what many of us know about a subsistence diet.
- Voley Blog