Food Confusion

food confusion

“What should I eat, Doc, to lose weight, reduce disease, avoid diabetes, reduce heart disease, and stay healthy?”

Every day I speak to women who are profoundly confused by the “expert” diet advice being promoted every time they turn around. Should I be a Paleo, a primate, a vegan, a vegetarian, a lacto-ovo-pescetarian or a fruitarian? Eat low carbohydrate, low-fat, high fat, high protein or low protein? Only eat organic? Only eat in the Mediterranean? Only eat in a box with a fox?

My answer is always the same, “Eat real food and less of it.”
My advice is a spin-off from journalist and author, Michael Pollan’s brilliant words of wisdom, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

Take this simple advice with you to the grocery store.
If it’s in a box, a can, or a bag then it probably isn’t real food. Would your grandmother have recognized it as food? Did it grow in or on the ground? Did it swim? Would a caveman know to eat it? Does the packaging have a label telling you how nutritious it is for you? Is the shelf life 2 years from the date of purchase? Is sugar the first ingredient and flour the second? These are obvious clues that it isn’t food. Just because you can ingest it does not mean that it is food.

Look at your pantry, your freezer, and your refrigerator.
Now throw out or at least acknowledge the non-food items. Awareness is half the battle. Children’s “snacks” are highly suspect. Why would you feed your child dyes, preservatives, fillers, and chemicals? Cut up an apple and sprinkle it with cinnamon, put out some carrot sticks, or make them a bowl of oatmeal with honey.

Shop the exterior aisles of any grocery store. That is where you will find the real food. Stop in the produce department first, wander by the meat counter and finish in the dairy case. I promise that on this path you will bypass the majority of expensive “trigger” non-foods. You’ll save money and calories. Here is a comprehensive article by Michael Pollan that will bring his advice into focus. It is also an in-depth explanation of the origins of the dietary confusion.
Take what you need and be well.

Unhappy Meals by Michael Pollan http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/28/magazine/28nutritionism.t.html

4 responses to “Food Confusion

  1. I totally agree with you. Real food is best. Fresh fruit, vegetables and wholegrains are best for everything.

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  2. This is totally how I strive to eat, I’m just not always successful!

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    • Thanks Beth Ann. I have seen your daily food journals and it’s obvious that you do. I’m a physician and I get confused. I went back to weight watchers for the structure and accountability. WW is a perfect match for real food too. Keep up the good work. Tracey

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