Tag Archives: Food

Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual by Michael Pollan’s

Found this very interesting book on the library shelf last week while browsing titled “Food rules: An Eater’s Manual”. One of the most interesting and simple books on food I have read so far, and I have read quite a few.

I am one of those “fortunate” people  with whom food has always had an extra special relationship, it has been my friend in many a down ward spiral and has pepped me up a gazillion times, and then when am back to normal, I feel like it is my enemy and that I am always fighting a losing battle against it! Well with this ongoing love- hate relationship between us I am kind of drawn to any book, video et al with anything remotely tied to food. Yeah yeah, after trying umpteen diets and fads I know one needs to be aware of what one eats, why one eats, Should eat at regular intervals, eat healthy etc…  if it were only that easy.. There are just so many contradicting pointers out there it is like a maze, figuring out what to eat and what not.

So sack to the topic at hand, the book – So I pick it up, a simple cover with a long table of contents. The Part I title itself triggered my interest – What Should I eat? that is followed by the 2 other sections What kind of food should I eat? and How should I eat it?

The author has pretty much put together simple facts about food and us into a book. I like the introduction where he basically says all we need to do is “Eat food, not too much, Mostly plants“, he calls them the 7 words which form the essence of all that we need to know about food.

Michael Pollan says that it does not require a nutritionist to tell us what we should eat or should not, what we need to do is follow some simple basic principles, which were the ones our ancestors followed.

He has many more rules in the Book, I am picking a few as examples –

  • Don’t eat anything your Great – Grandmother would not recognize as food. (See for me that would mean letting go of most of the junk food that I am used to having)
  • Avoid foods that contain more than 5 ingredients (You can choose the number of ingredients, just stick to it and see what you will buy! More ingredients mostly means more processing involved)
  • Don’t eat breakfast cereals  which change the color of your milk.
  • Avoid foods which contain ingredients which are not used in a normal pantry. (Xanthan Gum, Ethoxylated diglycerides etc… to name a couple) I like this one which is similar better – if a third grader can’t pronounce an ingredient don’t buy it, simple! 🙂
  • You want to eat junk food? Eat all you want as long as you cook it.
  • If it’s called the same name in all languages it is not food (the author means the brand named products like Big Mac,Cheetos, Pringles and their ilk)
  • Eating what stands on one leg is better than eating what stands on two legs which is better than eating what stands on four legs. {Chinese Proverb} (Plants – one leg,fowl -2 legs,  animals- 4) It does leave out the healthy fish wonder why?
  • Avoid foods with high-fructose corn syrup (there are ads on tv which say the body uses sugar and high fructose corn syrup the same way, but that is not the issue, high fructose corn syrup signifies that the product is highly processed)
  • Avoid foods which pretend to be something else (eg. I can’t believe its not butter – means it is not butter and it is not natural)
  • Only eat food that will eventually rot, as real food is alive and it has to die.
  • Eat more leaves and treat meat as a special occasion food or flavoring.
  • The whiter the bread the sooner you will be dead!
  • If it came from a Plant eat it, if it was made in a Plant, Don’t.
  • Breakfast like a King, Lunch like a Prince and Dinner like a Pauper (well it is kind of the other way around for many of us).

Opinion

There is a lot more to read in the book, pick it up it has some common sense suggestions. The book is very well written and simple enough to understand and follow. It is a useful book for anyone who cares about health and food, I am sure you will find helpful tips for a healthier lifestyle for you and your family. Like the author says it is not about “nutritionism” it is simply about Food.

A Video of Prof Michael Pollan talking about – Food Rules. I found it very informative and interesting.

Check it out on Amazon

Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual

7 Steps to Waste Less Food

Wastage of any kind is criminal, my mom used to say when we were kids. Especially with food it was her “mantra” with the added scenario of starving kids in Africa to make her point. Over the last decade I have become more aware of the size of the problem worldwide – especially wastage of Food when so many human beings starve.

We have done some posts about world hunger and the 1 billion people across the world who are in need of food. I came across a very interesting book and website by Jonathan Bloom – The book is titled “American Wasteland” and his website is www.wastedfood.com. I am in the process of reading the book (will write more about it once I am done with the book). From what I have read it is one book every person should read, once we realize the folly of our ways may be we will change for the better.

Today morning as I logged in I saw this article on Yahoo news by Lori Bongiorno titled A step-by-step guide to wasting less food

Checked it out and thought the tips were really simple and easy to follow if even some of us made some of the changes, it would make a big difference. So here is the lsit of 7 steps we can all adapt to waste less food and save money too!

Plan Ahead

Planning meals ahead of time. Checking your shelves, refrigerator, storage and making list before heading out to buy groceries.

Shop Smart

Write a detailed grocery list and buy what you need. If something is on sale make sure you can use it all up before buying it just because it is on sale. (e.g. anything that can be frozen is a good buy).

Use What You Buy

Make use of leftovers, be it rice, vegetables or bread. Almost everything can be used creatively to make a new dish.

Freeze before you toss

Freezing leftover vegetables or meat to make a broth is an example. Waffles pancake etc too can be put in ziplock bags and frozen, microwave them for a quick snack

Get educated

Nobody wants to eat unsafe food, but throwing away good food just because the label says so does not necessarily work either. Use by dates are more for quality than safety, Find out what expiration date really means

Think beyond eating

Overripe fruits make good homemade facials. Mixing them into your garden soil is a very green way to fertilize too.

Give to Others

Donate non perishable items that you are not going to eat.

A University of Texas study quantifies our wasted food into energy wasted and say Americans waste the equivalent of 350million barrels of oil every year on wasted food! That is 2% of annual energy consumption of the USA. More once am done with American Wasteland, check out the book I guarantee, you will not look at food or grocery the same way again.

The following is a short documentary film about food waste created by college freshmen at Appalachian State University. This video is product of Watauga Global Community. In the film they attempt to identify food waste, what causes it, and what college students can specifically do to reduce the amount of food being sent to landfills. They even go as far as dumpster diving to illustrate their point. David Nielsen, Shannon Doherty, Ridge Grahm, Lauren Prigge, and Drew Fortune.

Source – Yahoo Green

You can checkout the book at Amazon

American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food (and What We Can Do About It)

Global Hunger “Unacceptably” High

One of the first things I do online is check on world news, I don’t know why, but it is an integral part of my daily routine which started early on in life when I scoured the Newspaper from front to back. These days News papers are easier to find online so as usual I log on to the BBC website and see this title Global Hunger “Unacceptably High” UN report says… As I read the report I was thinking why would any number of fellow humans going without food be acceptable? I believe that it is our responsibility to make sure no child dies of hunger in today’s world.

The reality according to FAO reports is that Globally there are 925 million undernourished people in the world this year, which is lower than the 1.02 Billion in 2009. But the fight to reduce hunger could be an uphill one if the food prices continue to rise.

Hunger Facts

  • Over 1 billion people across the globe go hungry every day, despite the fact that there is more than enough food in the world to feed everyone.
  • Every day, almost 16,000 children die from hunger-related causes – one child every five seconds.
  • One in five people in developing countries is chronically undernourished.
  • Food prices have increased 83% in the last two years.
  • 22 countries have enshrined the right to food in their constitutions.
  • Hunger is not caused by nature, it’s a political choice!
  • Hunger results from the unequal distribution of food, and the lack of access to and control over resources.
  • Climate change is already having a devastating impact on hungry people – Floods, droughts and other consequences of global warming are destroying poor people’s lives.
  • Global food prices have increased by 83 percent in the last 2 years (wheat has gone up 181 percent).
  • Almost half the increase in the consumption of major fuel crops in 2007 was related to biofuels.
  • In most parts of the Congo and Africa the only food available to the common people is Cassava root which has almost no nutrients to talk about.

Action Aid estimates that Hunger costs developing countries $450Billion a year. Reports say 90% of these costs are from the lost in productivity as a result of malnutrition and the other 10% is due to the higher health care costs.

Action aid believes this would be more than 19 times the funding needed to half hunger by 2015; One of the 8 United Nations Millennium development goals intended to reduce poverty and improve lives by 2015.

With the floods Natural calamities and climate change happening world over there is already talk about higher wheat prices and lesser availability of wheat. Higher grain prices also push the price of meat and dairy products up as cost of feeding livestock increases. There have already been bread riots in Mozambique this year and Russia one of the major producers of wheat worldwide has been hit by severe drought resulting in an export ban till end of this year.

The numbers of under nourished people is still higher than before the economic downturn of 2008-09.

ActionAid’s CEO Joanna Kerr said:

“Fighting hunger now will be ten times cheaper than ignoring it.  Every year reduced worker productivity, poor health and lost education costs poor countries billions.

“And the cost is not just financial.  If governments don’t act now over a million more children could die by 2015 and half of Africa won’t have enough food in ten years.

“Recent food riots are a sharp reminder that poor countries cannot rely on unstable global food markets.  Investing in local farms where the world’s hungry live is the best way to avert another food crisis.”


Solutions

There needs to be a huge increase in support to small scale farmers in poor countries, where the majority of poor people’s food is grown.

There needs to be a coordinated effort to support to social welfare measures so that farming communities can be protected from bad harvests or increases in food prices.

Community programs to encourage and help farmers and farming communities like – public works employment, cash transfers, food rations, and free school meals.

The governments world over need to get together to tackle climate change and stop practices that undermine reducing hunger, such as the cultivation of biofuels for export on fertile farm land. Produced food needs to be distributed so that it reaches people in the poorest areas.

Food security is the opposite of hunger and is defined as having four components: food availability, food access, food utilization, and stability of all these.

Governments need to enact and enforce laws that guarantee all women the right to own land.

Ensure that corporations are held accountable for abuses of the rights to food, water, land and seeds.
If action is taken and a good majority of the world unites, Hunger will be history in our lifetime. If not fully, we can for sure reduce the numbers by a large percentage.

Sources include these 2 articles from the BBC 1 2

Take Action For A Hunger Free World

You can check out the Action Aid Score card HERE

Action Aid Website here

1Billion Hungry.org here

Mission Fake Chicken

Picture courtesy Time magazine

Going Vegetarian has never been easier. It is one of the ways to really go Green. If everyone would avoid meat once a week it can reduce the amount of green house gases by a good amount. These days you can pretty much find vegetarian alternatives to almost every meat favorite from soy sausages and “Fib Ribs” to Tofurky jerky and mock lobster. Most restaurants including fast food chains are providing vegetarian menus and veggie burgers too.

One of the things that have been missing has been Chicken! This spring, scientists at the University of Missouri announced that after more than a decade of research, they had created the first soy product that not only can be flavored to taste like chicken but also breaks apart in your mouth the way chicken does: not too soft, not too hard, but with that ineffable chew of real flesh. When you pull apart the Missouri invention, it disjoins the way chicken does, with a few random strands of “meat” hanging loosely.

Read the entire article here

Check out the video here

FYI – By switching to a vegetarian diet, you can save more than 100 animals a year from misery.

And if you are planning to go vegetarian start with the birds and their eggs as they are smaller more of them need to lose their lives to feed a few of us.

If interested in going vegetarian check out go veg GO GREEN!!