Years ago, Michael Pollan, the author and investigative journalist wrote a book called – In Defense of Food. His classic tag line, that sums up the book, is: Eat food, not much, mostly plants.
I agree, although I would add a couple of other caveats.
Eat whole fruits and vegetables, in season, and grown in healthy, organic soil. When eating meat and other animal products, like eggs, cheese and butter, source them from grass fed-pasture raised animals.
It’s not as eloquent Pollan’s tag line – I’ll have to work on that for when I become a famous author. 🙂 But I do think the extra conditions help to make your food choices more definitive.
As a reader of these e-mails, I’m assuming that many of you are taking the steps to eat a whole foods seasonal diet. Well, I know you are because you’ve reached out to tell me that you’re regulars at farmers markets and that you’re growing your own food. Which is all wonderful (and I do love hearing from you!).
But with the winter looming, it’s inevitable that we’re going to buy more canned, boxed, frozen and packaged foods. The key to buying the healthiest packaged foods is to make sure we’re getting the ones that have real food ingredients with little to no preservatives or added sugar.
Basically, you need to read the labels!
The lingo of labels can be confusing, so I’ve decided to list a few of my rules when buying packaged foods.
- Packaged or fresh, buy Certified Organic grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes. There are multiple organic certifying bodies, you’ll know it when you see the stamp. Be aware that a food label that says all natural is not the same.
- Look for the BPA free labelon canned foods to avoid unnecessary toxicity from this plastic by-product. Read this National Geographicarticle to go deeper on BPA’s.
- Avoid genetically modified foods (otherwise known as Franken-foods) by looking for the GMO-free project stamp on label. Head to this link here to get all the details about GMO’s and common GMO foods.
- Look for the certified humane sticker on meat, eggs and dairy. Or an even better option is to buy pasture-raised from you butcher or directly from farmers in your area.
- Buy fair trade coffee, tea, chocolate, bananas, spices and avocados (although I encourage you to think twice about your avocado toast, read more by clicking here). When you can’t buy local, fair trade is the next best option. Refer to this resource here to learn more.
- Avoid foods that have added sugar, trans fats, preservatives and artificial sweeteners. Refer to an old blog of mine here for more details.
- Last but not least, continue to go to farmers markets. Although their supply will be limited, crops like beets, carrots, turnips, rutabagas, sweet potatoes, potatoes onions and cabbage are still available throughout the winter.
Michael Pollan also has another simple quote that sums all of this up: “Don’t eat anything your great-great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.” Follow his advice!