Wednesday, November 12, 2008

In Defense of Food

I highly recommend "In Defense of Food". It's fascinating and, I believe, will slightly rock your food world. It's a modern version of "The Jungle" but instead of uncovering horrible slaughterhouse conditions and lack of regulations, Pollan sheds light on the the underbelly of the food industry, the incredible influence of nutritional science on our food products and calls us out on our lackadaisical attitude toward food.

According to one statistic in the book, the food industry puts 17,000 new products on the market each year. That blew my mind. He also makes the interesting point that as a country, we are obsessed with our health but yet one of the most unhealthy populations in the world. He correlates the amount the average family spends on food (about 10 percent of their income) to how much they spend on health care (about 17 percent) and makes the case that if we spent more on better food, we would spend less at the doctors dealing with chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

The last third of the book is devoted to his personal opinions that he has formed after doing this research. Rather than being snobby and elitist, I found his his tone and "rules" to reasonable and pragmatic. Pollan recognizes that not everyone has access to or the ability to afford organic, locally grown food.

*I love me a good tomato*

We eat pretty well here. Mr. W is an excellent cook. I am a vegetarian and he only eats meat on his sandwiches and when we go out. But reading this book has made me hyper - aware of what I'm putting on my plate. I've been checking labels now and Pollan is's pretty much impossible to find a boxed food item that doesn't have a dozen unpronounceable ingredients and a claim to protect against heart disease or cancer or whatever.

*The Chico, CA farmer's market rocks*

One of Pollan's recommendations is to circumvent the "food like items" that line the grocery store shelves and avoid the pitfalls to your health by buying quality over quantity.

I have a really hard time with this for some reason. I like to eat good food. I like to eat knowing that what I'm putting into my body is good for me. But I'm cheap. I love a good deal.
We have an ok farmer's market here (though nothing like the one my sister has in Chico). It is very expensive, sometimes twice what the grocery store charges.

We also have Greenling. For $35.00 a week, you can get a box of seasonal, locally grown produce delivered once a week. Again, expensive. We spend much less than that a week buying conventional produce that we pick out. You don't know what comes in the box. Apparently you get a lot of okra in the spring.

*lemon cucumbers from Chico*

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants. I'm trying.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sorry Jesus

Instead of going to church on Sunday, I woke up at the crack of dawn to make a drug lab.