I am currently getting ready to take a course to become a Certified Healing Foods Specialist, offered by Immunitrition. I am super jazzed about it and can't wait to learn more about healing foods, like fermented foods, superfoods, and how to choose the most nutrient dense/nourishing foods for my family.
I am sure I will be learning lots that I can share with you here on Oh Lardy! In preparation for the class we have a fair amount of reading and I have been getting that done the past few weeks (in addition to getting the website up and running, finishing up summer activities before my daughter's school starts and trying to maintain my home! LOL!).
As I was looking over the assignment list, I will admit I was surprised to see the book Food Rules by Michael Pollan as one of the assignments. Don't get me wrong, it's a wonderful book, outlining 64 rules that you should follow to avoid fake food and do your best to eat healthy. However, it is fairly ‘beginner' as far as real food goes and I think people taking the CHFS class would generally be pretty far along in their ‘real food journey'.
As I reread the book (which is a super quick read), I was so glad it was on our reading list! I was reminded of how practical, no nonsense, common sense Michael Pollan‘s rules really are and was so glad it was on our list and that I was able to revisit some of the rules presented there. I even had a laugh at the dedication page (which I did not read the first time around)…”For my mother, who always knew butter was better for you than margarine.” Hahaha, love that!
If you haven't read Michael Pollan, I really suggest you do. When I was just starting my journey into real food, I devoured his first two books, Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food. Food Rules came out after his first two and is simply a list of rules (based on the research for his two previous books), a short guide to eating healthy. I think it provides really valuable information, especially for people just starting out on their real food journey.
His writing really opened my eyes as to what is actually in our food and how we can find real food to nourish our bodies. His tagline, of “Eat Food, Mostly Plants, Not a lot” is so simple but really nothing short of brilliant. Eat Food (real food, not fake, processed foods), Mostly Plants (we could all stand to add a signifiant amount of produce back to our diet) and Not a lot (well, duh, we shouldn't be overeating regularly).
This book is almost something you'd keep in your family room, your guest bedroom (try to drop hints on eating healthy with visiting relatives!) or even your bathroom for reading (we all have books in our bathroom, right?).
Some of the rules are:
- Don't eat anything your great grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.
- Avoid foods with more than five ingredients.
- Eat animals that have themselves have eaten well.
- Shop the peripheries of the grocery store and stay out of the middle.
Some are fairly humorous:
- “It's not food if it arrived through the window of your car.”
- “It's not food if it is called the same name in every language (think Big Mac, Cheetos, Pringles.” Hee, hee!
My favorite part, however, comes in the introduction. He talks about two links between your diet and your health. One is that populations that eat a Western (or SAD) diet full of processed food, added fats and sugars and refined grains (and very little fruits, veggies and whole grains) invariably suffer from so-called Western diseases (type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and cancer). It is so hard to avoid these foods, foods that make up the average Western diet, as they dominate our grocery stores.
Our great grandmothers would not recognize the ingredients in breads, spaghetti sauces, yogurts, ice cream, etc. because it is not really food. It is really eye opening once you start reading ingredient labels and start focusing on feeding yourself and your family FOOD!
The second is that populations around the world who eat a traditional diet for their culture do not suffer from these same diseases. This is very eye opening and is what led me to learn about the teachings and principles of Weston A Price and to start to incorporate some (I say some because I am still learning a lot about this area) traditional principles into my kitchen, by lacto fermenting foods, soaking my grains, etc.
Pollan then leads into a third premise that people who get off the Western diet tend to see a dramatic improvement in their health. I strongly believe this and work hard to choose more real, more nourishing ingredients for my family. I do not think anything is wrong with ice cream as a sweet dessert treat, for example, but I want to be sure we are actually eating ice cream, not fake ice cream.
I always use ice cream as my ‘real food' example because I have a great story that always makes me laugh. My daughter and I have enjoyed making ice cream at home so she gets the gist of what ingredients are generally in ice cream. A while back she and I were at the grocery store and I took the time to show her a container of junky ice cream. She read/tried to read the label (tons of ingredients, hard to read names, etc.), looked at me with big eyes and a look of confusion and said ‘That's not how you make ice cream.' I showed her a container of ‘good' ice cream with milk, cream, sugar, eggs, vanilla and she said ‘now that's ice cream.'
Wow! People, if a 6 year old can figure this stuff out so can we!!!!
Now what should you do with this information? Check out the book Food Rules...check it out at the library, borrow from a friend, dig it out from your closet, buy it, whatever! Even if you are well on your journey into real food, it is a great refresher read.
I am going to make an effort to keep mine out in the family room to peruse every once in awhile and remind myself of the basics of eating real food! (and maybe subtly influence visiting friends and family! hahaha!)
Have you read Food Rules? What are your thoughts? Do you have a favorite rule?