I absolutely LOVE that the word is getting out there - WHAT WE EAT HAS A DIRECT IMPACT ON OUR HEALTH! People are starting to take notice. I ran to go see Food, Inc as soon as it was in theaters (or should I say "theater" since in my large city, it was only playing in one small theater)! I thought is was very well done and I learned even more about my personal food chain. The only problem was that whenever I asked my friends and family about it, no one had seen it let alone HEARD about it. Thanks to OPRAH, FOOD,INC. was introduced to millions of people all across the world yesterday.
After watching the show I realized that I have already read 2 of Michael Pollan's books. In fact, his book "IN DEFENSE OF FOOD" was one of the first books I read that began to impact my thoughts on food. He goes into detail about what "FOOD" really is, and how the majority of what is sold in the grocery stores is actually what he refers to as "Food Like Substances".
A few months ago I happened to be on vacation and while browsing the books in a small super market, I came across "THE OMNIVORE'S DILEMMA". This book goes hand in hand with the movie "FOOD, INC" and goes into further details about what he calls "the secrets behind what you eat". I didn't pay much attention to the author and it wasn't until yesterday that I realized that both books and the movie were from the same guy; Michael Pollan.
What I appreciate about his style is that he doesn't try to manipulate you with scare tactics. While much of the information is in fact quite "scary" he doesn't make a point of trying to exploit those emotions. He attempts to give us the facts while at the same time trying to gently pry open our sometimes very stubborn thinking patterns. In the end, his approach is to MAKE US THINK! It worked for me.
One possible "side-effect" when people start "thinking" is feeling overwhelmed and at times very lost. The first time I read the China Study I was completely ready to change my lifestyle. The only problem is that I had no idea how to go about doing that. My passion and desire to change was quickly swallowed by confusion and helplessness. It takes a lot of effort to make big changes! Luckily, BABY STEPS can be just as effective; sometimes even more effective when it allows you to stay on track.
In Micheal Pollan's book he gives us a few tips (or 'baby steps') to slowly change our habits or to "VOTE WITH YOUR FORK" as he puts it~
EAT REAL FOOD
1. Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.
2. Don't eat anything with more than five ingredients, or with ingredients you don't recognize or can't pronounce. (This is for food we buy, not food we cook ourselves).
3. Don't eat anything containing high-fructose corn syrup. (Here's a challenge for you, try and go 7 days without this product. Start reading your food labels and you will be SHOCKED at how ubiquitous it is!)
BUY REAL FOOD
1. Get your food from the outside perimeter of the supermarket and try to avoid the middle aisles. (On a side note, millions of dollars are spent on marketing for the products of these aisles. You will be bombarded with messages, information, and emotions that are designed to get you to BUY these foods).
2. Don't buy, or eat, anything that doesn't eventually rot.
3. Shop at the farmers market, through a CSA, or at a farmstand whenever you can.
4. Be your own food detective. Pay attention to where your food comes from. Read labels and ask questions!
EAT REAL MEALS
1. COOK! This is the best way to take control of your meals.
2. GARDEN. (This is probably the cheapest way to eat organic)
3. TRY NOT TO EAT ALONE. (Eating alone is the fastest way to consume mindless calories).
4. EAT SLOWLY and STOP when you are FULL (I know, I know...easier said than done).
I love the advice he gave on OPRAH:
EAT FOOD! - MOSTLY PLANTS! - NOT TOO MUCH!