Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Food, Health, Life & Michael Pollan

I have, for the last I-don't-know-how-long (would have to ask my BFF Yvonne) been interested in farmers' markets, local food and fostering community where I am. The benefits for me have been huge. I've had the privilege of weeding raspberries, trimming fruit trees, helping prepare farm dinners, click here eating local eggs that came in all different colors and sizes, pulling potatoes and onions from just outside my back door for breakfast, managing a farmers' market, eating amazing local food at a local restaurant click here and knowing all the people who who were a part of all of it, and feeling like I was a part of it, too. That is community.

I have lived in San Francisco for ten months now. And guess what?! I'm back shopping at the farmers' market, wondering how I can get one started at the beach in the Outer Sunset, growing my own food in the backyard (well, actually, Mr. Green grows it, truth be told) and enjoying the bounty of a CSA that I will visit soon. I'm starting to meet farmers, hoping for a yard-share, and enjoying all the food/farming banter and amazing information on Twitter.

Obviously, there is something more to this than just food. Part of "healthy" for me is this connection to the dirt and the people who work it. I'm not sure I really want to be a farmer, but I can sure as heck organize an awesome farm dinner with a live band and more guests than you can feed if your a farmer who wants to have one! And, I don't mind spending the day pulling weeds or pressing apples into cider, either.

This is not what this post was supposed to be about. . . I'm going on vacation tomorrow, back to Idaho to visit, and I'm reminiscing. Smiling face goes here.

Here's what I really wanted to say. . . If you want to be healthy, there are some pretty easy and basic food rules to follow. I didn't make them up. Michael Pollan did. He's a pretty smart guy and he lives near me over in Berkeley. Who knew?!

The Food Rules Are:

1. Would your grandmother recognize it as food? If not, don't eat it.

2. Don’t eat any foods that have more than 5 ingredients or that your 2nd grader can’t pronounce or have high fructose corn syrup.

3. Shop the perimeter of the store only – stay out of the middle.

4. Stop eating before you are full.

5. Cook your own food.

And finally, and probably most importantly:

6. Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.

These words are quoted from a radio interview with Michael - the program was called It's Your World - that was rebroadcast on KQED here in SF last week. click here

I'm pretty sure they are from his book, The Omnivore's Dilemma, which I have read, but don't recall word for word. It a good book. I recommend it. click here Actually, I recommend anything by Michael Pollan.

Do I follow all these rules? Heck no! I seldom stop eating before I'm full. The food would have to be mediocre and why eat that?

As for the rest - Sans a 2nd grader, I am becoming an avid label reader. Now I read labels in the store instead of when I get home. It's a bit to late to return that chutney laced with high fructose corn syrup and three things I can't pronounce if I've already eaten two bites and just happen to turn the jar around out of curiosity while I eat a third. I do put things back on the shelf. A lot.

My grandmother wouldn't recognize half the stuff I eat as food. Although I truly believe that if I explained it to her, she would say, "Oh! Well that's interesting. Can I taste it?"

They keep the garlic salsa that I like in the middle of the store and even if I had the bushel of tomatoes, I'd be too lazy to make it myself.

We do cook our own food more often than not. When I "landed" last fall I ate in a lot of restaurants. Who wouldn't? This town is full of great food! I'm kind of over that now - ten pounds up and down later. Although I'll still travel across town to eat at a food cart. Especially the Sexy Soup Cart or the Magic Curry Cart!

I know you've heard this all before. I'm going to say it again, anyway. It's fun to cook together. Last night we made 4 kinds of homemade pizza, crust and all. It's delicious! Way better than any crap we could have had delivered. We chopped, we grated, we assembled. And let me tell you what, I didn't stop eating until I was Full.

There is an opportunity, tomorrow, to be a part of an interview with Michael Pollan. . . here's the tweet:

erinelyRT @TakePart Got questions 4 Michael Pollan? Join us on FB for a live chat with him Thursday July 2nd, 3pm PST#foodinc

It will be a fun opportunity to hear what he has to say about farming, local food, the movie, Food, Inc. and whatever is on the minds of the twitterverse.

Join in. You don't have to be on twitter to participate. I won't be there typing questions. . . I'll be in the car on my way to Idaho.

I'm hoping to meet Michael in person soon, anyway. . .


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