Sunday, February 17, 2008

Day 17 - What Mr. Pollan Started

This little experiment of ours is based on an NPR interview with Michael Pollan about his book In Defense of Food. We picked up a copy of the book immediately, but I sheepishly admit that I only started reading it today--and I was actually listening to the audio book version on loan from the library while I made my version of tuna salad (every vegetable I can think of, a little vinegar, and enough stone ground mustard to stomp out any actual taste of tuna). (The urge to jump into a project without thinking it through entirely is one of my most predominant qualities, and probably explains the insanity of a month without buying anything new right at the Christmas gift-giving season and a few jobs that I went into not having the faintest idea of what the job was about. Details just get in the way of some of my best/most memorable ideas.) Even in the middle of this little experiment of ours, his book made me think.

Why don't we eat food any more?

We eat carbs, protein, complex carbs, fiber. dairy products, oat bran--I may be going out on a limb here, but I think my grandparents actually ate things like eggs, potatoes, apples, spinach, corn, beans--actual foods--rather than the nutrients, and I would bet my car that not one of them ever had a discussion about trans fats or omega 3 fatty acids (they would probably have probably thought they were new breeds of cattle or a type of automobile). They got nutrients by eating foods, not vice versa. I think they even got to enjoy food for the taste of it.

The whole point of his book is summarized on the front:

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

I think that's pretty hard to argue with, but 17 days into this little experiment, I can definitely say this has been a harder concept to follow in today's America than I ever dreamed. We have an entire industry built around "convenience foods," which are so named because nutritious food is not all that convenient. We are spending far more time thinking about food--planning meals, making lunches ahead of time, planning healthy snacks, counting the days until I can eat cinnamon bears and drink diet Pepsi (maybe even at the same time)--than I would have ever dreamed possible. And while I've become insanely boring, I feel great. Now if only one could have interesting conversations about broccoli....

1 comment:

Rachael said...

are you, by chance, a gemini? just curious. I've been told that's one of the traits - to become completely obsessed with some idea that crosses one's path and jump in wholeheartedly.

Not that I, with my 35 skeins of sock yarn, 3 sock books, STR sock club last year, and size 0,1,2 & 3sizes of both two circs and magic loop would know anything about doing something like THAT. ;-)

Or maybe it's just who I am and I can't blame it on my 'sign' - not that I really believe in that stuff, but some of it seems awfully coincidental.


You know you've reached a whole new level of gardening when you receive a wholesale catalog.....