When it comes to our philosophy on food, we have a few inspiring influences to introduce you to…
As a starting point, we think no one spells it out with quite such clarity and simplicity as Michael Pollan, in his little book entitled ‘Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual’.
Michael is a journalist – not a scientist or nutrition expert – and that’s probably why he’s been able to create such an intelligent, easy to use guide, consisting of a series of concise, straightforward, yet memorable rules (or ‘personal policies’ as he prefers to call them) for eating healthily and happily.
The book builds on the basic notion that we should EAT FOOD. NOT TOO MUCH. MOSTLY PLANTS.
Our favourites from among the 64 listed ‘rules’ include:
- Avoid food products containing ingredients no ordinary human would keep in their pantry - Ethoxylated dyglycerides? Calcium proponate? Ammonium Sulfate? If you wouldn’t cook with them yourself, why let others use these ingredients to cook for you? These chemical concoctions are mostly used to extend shelf life, make old food look fresh and get you to eat more.
- Avoid food products that make health claims – it’s much more likely to be processed and a product of modern food science rather than a real food. The healthiest foods don’t boast about their healthfulness.
- Avoid food products with the words Lite, Low Fat or Non fat in their names – yep, that’s right, the low fat revolution started in the 70′s about the same time that we all started becoming a lot fatter – it doesn’t work! Sooo much better and more satisfying to eat just a little of the real thing.
- Avoid foods pretending to be something they are not - i.e. margarine pretending to be butter, soy based mock meats, artificial sweeteners, fake fats and starches.
- Shop the peripheries of the supermarket and stay out of the middle – thats where all the good stuff is – fruit and veg, meat, dairy – with some exceptions though, like most flavoured or diet yoghurts.
- If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t!
- Have a glass of wine with dinner – and that means A glass of wine WITH dinner -not saving them all up for a binge session on the weekend!
- Pay more, eat less - there’s no escaping the fact that better food, both in taste and nutrition, costs more. Choose quality over quantity and food experience over mere calories – we certainly do in our household!
- The banquet is in the first bite – enjoy your food and eat more slowly – no other bite will taste as good as the first!
- Cook! - Cooking for yourself means you take back control of your diet from food scientists and food processors, and guarantees you are eating real food and realistic portion sizes.
- Break the rules once in a while - what matters is what we practice on a daily basis, and there will always be special occasions when its ok to throw the rules out of the window. Obsessing over food rules and nutrition is bad for our happiness!
In an age of ever more elaborate diets and conflicting health advice, this little gem of a book could easily replace them all. Its refreshing to know that you don’t need a science or nutrition degree in order to work out what’s good for you … just some traditional cultural wisdom and a little old fashioned common sense.
Stay tuned for more rules in coming posts!
(The lovely featured image for this post on the home page, is an Emily Robertson illustration designed for UK retail giant Marks & Spencers!)