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After reading the book In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan, our family has decided to eat whole foods. No, we’re not deciding to exclusively shop at high-end yuppie supermarkets–we are following Pollan’s simple dietary rules: 1) Eat food, 2) Not too much, 3) Mostly plants. What do I mean by “food?” Anything your great-grandmother would recognize, not what the American food system tries to force-feed us (Go-Gurt? Velveeta? Vitamin C-enriched Froot Loops?). A few corollaries guide us as well: a) if it lists health claims, it’s probably not healthy, b) if it has ingredients you can’t pronounce or can’t find in your cupboards, it’s probably not healthy, c) always eat at a table, preferably with others, d) no, your desk is not a table.

For the complete (and very convincing) details and research supporting this philosophy, you should you read the book yourself. Here’s a few of the ways our lifestyle has changed in the last month:

  • We’re really cutting down on processed foods and cooking from scratch with real ingredients, including making things like tomato sauces, soup, and the occasional batch of French fries.
  • I now bake all of our family’s bread. Have you seen what they put in an average supermarket loaf, including the “whole wheat” varieties? Many more posts will be devoted to this, as it is quickly becoming something of a hobby for me.
  • We have joined a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). many of these supply fresh vegetables, but we will go to any number of farmer’s markets for that. This CSA supplies us with a monthly share of chicken, lamb, beef, and pork. All the animals are grass-fed and finished (meaning no feed lots) and are humanely cared for without growth hormones or antibiotics.
  • We are greatly expanding our garden from last year. Many more blog entries will be devoted to our efforts in this area, too.

Our switch (which happened in late January) has had at least one additional effect: I’ve lost 4 1/2 pounds! Cutting out most soda and mindless snacks has probably been the reason, but that also ties in with Pollan’s sociocultural principles of responsible eating as well. And have I been hungry? No way! I’m eating homemade sourdough bread, lots more fresh vegetables, drinking whole milk, etc., etc.

I’m loving this.

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