Part 4 and 5 of Pollan’s Diet Switches

4. From leaves to seeds

As a whole, we’re eating less of the leaves on plants and more seeds in the form grains and soy.  Leaves, as my readers know I am crazy about, contain essential chemicals for human health—antioxidants, phytochemicals, fiber, and omega-3’s to name a few.

The decline in leaf consumption and the incline in seed consumption has lead to a major OD in Omega-6’s. 9% of American calories come from Omega 6’s—mostly from soy bean oil and processed foods.  What’s so bad about an overabundance of Omega 6’s?  They cause an inflammatory response in the body. If I created Advil, I’d be seriously pushing the food industry to load up our food with Omega-6’s. An imbalance between Omega 6 and Omega 3 has also been blamed for other issues such as depression, aggression (have an anger issue?  Maybe you’re eating too much Omega 6’s and not Omega 3’s!), and cardiovascular diseases.  Yuck.

 Plan of Attacks:  Eat your Greens, baby!  Reduce the amount of Omega 6 in your diet by consuming less processed foods and conventionally raised meat (grass fed cows have more Omega 3’s than conventional grain fed cows), consume other Omega 3 rich foods—chia seeds, flax, hemp oil!

5.     Food Culture to Food Science:

Growing up, my family almost always ate dinner together (and it wasn’t in front of the TV unless it was a very special event).  Meal time, was not about mindlessly shoving food into our bodies but a time to share our days and for me and my bro to learn such things as manners (not sure how well I did in this area).  Also, from a development standpoint, its often around the table that children learn language.  Listening to real people speak (as opposed to the TV) is crucial for language acquisition and early literacy.  Josh and I eat at least one meal together every day (sometimes all three!).  For me, it’s a very special time and a practice I plan to continue with your future little ones.

Eating, regardless of what nutrionism claims, is not just about nutrients.  Food and eating practices hold social and spiritual meaning for cultures.  Much of this has become lost in Western Culture.  We eat in our cars (guilty), in front of the computer (guilty) and TV’s, and alone.  We spend less time preparing and eating our food than we used to.

Plan of Attack:  Commit to making time to share a meal with your family/room mate/friend/co-worker every day.  Turn off the TV/ Computer.   Skip the drive thru. Don’t forget to chew!  Take a deep breath or two between bites. Try a new recipe.  Make food with friends and/or family members.   Something I love about holidays is that I’m usually sharing the kitchen with my mom, grandma, aunties, and cousins.  We’re all chopping, stirring, baking (and usually drinking wine—more on the benefits of a daily drink to come).  That crazy kitchen might be the most warm, loving place I know.



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