I don’t know how many of my own readers follow Jenna’s blog over at That Wife but if you haven’t been, over the last few months she has talked about her family’s eating habits. She has shared some books she has read about health and diet, and she has sparked something in me.
What, you may ask? I’ll put it simple – I need to eat better.
Growing up with a lot of emphasis put on foods, I have a very unhealthy relationship with it. Strange? Maybe. My Mama tells me there was a definite point in time, when my family moved to England, that I gained a lot of weight. I was also hitting puberty, but I gained more weight than what was considered normal. I was under a lot of stress, and experiencing a ton of anxiety. I had left my home country, I was a very out spoken American in a British school, I was getting bullied a lot (some of which I probably deserved) and I was building my relationship with food. I remember stopping by the little store next to my elementary school after dance class and buying a bag of salt and vinegar crisps and a lemonade soda. I still crave these things. Still. There was something about British soda that is unmatched in the US… less sure maybe? I don’t know, but my mouth longs for the taste that I have not had in 10 years. This was my relief. I looked forward to pulling out my 50 pence coin, the cool shaped one, and getting everything I wanted. Some times the lady let me pick a sweet too. It was heaven. At the same time, I was going through the dreaded pea-war. You know what I’m talking about. I sat at the dinner table for hours, refusing to eat my peas. Nasty little buggers.
So, what’s my point? I have developed these relationships with my foods. I viewed my crisps as a treat, something to make up for a bad day. I viewed my veggies as something of a punishment. A great start to a healthy life. lol. But seriously – I am very affected by these memories. It wasn’t until I got to college and started trying things on my own that I realized… hmm… veggies aren’t so bad.
Back to Jenna and books. She recently referenced a book called “In Defense of Food.” Because Jenna is so cool… and when I grow up I want to be just like her… I bought the book. Well, actually… I bought a lot more than one book. But this is the one that has really shaken me. It comes in a more… shall I say, condensed version as “Food Rules” (both by Michael Pollan) which was what I read first. It took maybe an hour, and I was hooked to this way of thinking, this idea of eating. And Pollan doesn’t really talk much about people and their relationships to food, as much as he discuss the need to question. “What am I eating?” Things like “Would Grandma know what this item is?” or “Can you read the ingredients?” With the goal of returning to whole, less processed foods.
The main point? “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants.”
“In Defense of Food” goes more in-depth than “Food Rules”, and explains some of the problems with the way most people view food.
From Michael Pollan’s website:
“In Defense of Food shows us how, despite the daunting dietary landscape Americans confront in
the modern supermarket, we can escape the Western diet and, by doing so, most of the chronic diseases that
diet causes. We can relearn which foods are healthy, develop simple ways to moderate our appetites,
and return eating to its proper context — out of the car and back to the table.”
It is so interesting and each page taught me something new.
Now, follow me for a moment. It got me thinking about what I eat, compared to what my dogs eat. Now hold on a second, because well… maybe it will help explain what I got out of this book. lol.
I love my dogs. After lots and lots of research I choose a brand of dog food I liked, mixed with some raw meats, and the occasional uncooked veggie (Dogs are omnivores. My little Zuko loves zucchinni… he’ll do just about anything for it!). I am so careful with what I feed them. No french fries, no sugar, no chocolate, no onions. I take so much care in what I feed them, especially my older dog. Why? Because I love them. I want them to be happy and healthy and energetic and live a nice long life. I have done a lot of research about it, and talking with the vet and ya know what? My 15 year old Australian Shepard mix can run with the healthiest puppy.
But I bring home a chicken sandwhich from Micky-D’s, a soda and some french fries and eat it. Did I research it? Nope. Do I know how many calories it is? Nope – don’t tell me. Did I talk to my Doctor about it? hahaha. Nope. I didn’t even read the ingredients! Why is it okay for me to eat such highly processed food, but I won’t feed it to my dogs – who actually have “stronger” stomachs than I do (considering the bacterias present in my body compared to the dogs’ – they can handle a lot more than I can).
And there you have it. I must care more about my dogs than I do about myself.
That’s the kind of thought this book inspires. Self reflection.
If you’re interested in some self reflection, about the way you eat, and the way you think about nutrition, this is the perfect book to get your started.
There are three possible entries:
- Leave me a comment, and ponder these questions: Do you have a relationship with food? Is it good, bad, indifferent? When did it start? (I encourage discussion, but only the original comment counts as an entry.)
- Twitter – RT: Jessica @webstergirl06 is arguing “In Defense of Food”! http://oneshinystar.com/?p=1054 – then leave a comment here with the link.
- And lastly if you mention this post with a link back to my blog, and then comment with a link to your post, that is one more entry.
That is a max of three entries per person.
I am buying this book, and giving it out because I think it is a great read. Please enter only if you will read it, because I would hate for it to just sit on a shelf.