Food Rules

I was raised in a house that loved cooking and eating. Dinner was sacred & dessert was divine (if you know my dad, you know this is true!). For the most part we had dinner as a family, around the table, and could only drink milk or water (pop was for movie nights). There was always a main attraction (usually meat) with some sort of salad, bread and sides. As a kid I was not immune to the typical, bad eating habits (fries, milkshakes, cheese puffs, POP!) but my parents definitely gave me a wide array of foods (fruits & veggies included) to try and love… and we always had a backyard garden.

As I grew up I began to make my own choices (sadly, often dictated by my weight or physical appearance) which took on many different forms over the past decade.

  • Middle school: just call me “frump girl” 😉
  • High school: begin “dieting” with my best friend – drinking slim fast somewhat regularly & become addicted to running (the running part could have been good if the motive hadn’t been so UNhealthy)
  • College: ever heard of the “freshman 15”? 😉
  • Mid-College: for social/philosophical reasons begin eating vegetarian & somewhat successfully eat this way for about 2 years. (Is an avocado & half a bag of tortilla chips a “healthy” vegetarian lunch?)
  • Post-College: eat mostly vegetarian with my amazing & flexible new-hubby (classic meat & potatoes man turned omnivore!)
  • Post-Baby: realize my eating habits are WILDLY inconsistent (organic, home grown, vegetarian some of the time, fast-food & entire-pizza-by-myself the rest of the time) and I want to start off right with the new little human who has been placed in my care.
…A few documentaries and conversations later we are well on our way to a more balanced and healthy “eating lifestyle” (we don’t use the four-letter word “diet” anymore!) 😉

One of the books I had been most interested in reading was Food Rules by the amazing Michael Pollan. Sam finally picked it up from the library and I devoured it (no pun intended) in one sitting. The book strives to answer the following questions: What should I eat? What kind of food should I eat? How should I eat? in 64 concise and user-friendly “rules”. I’ve summarized my favorites (ones I need to work on/apply) below.

1. Avoid foods your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize (including ingredients!).
2. Shop the peripheries of the supermarket. (the most natural “whole” foods are around the outside, the processed stuff on the inside.)
3. Eat food. (It’s not food if it arrived through the window of your car.)
4. Eat mostly plants, especially leaves.
5. Pay more, eat less. (this is such a good rule & I’ve learned most easily applied when you’re meal planning!)

Here are a few I’ve come up with on my own:

1. Eat what the toddler is eating. (I notice I’m so conscious of what I’m putting in her little mouth, but will be chugging a Coke or inhaling chips at the same time! gah!)
2. Value meal time. No phone calls, emails, TV shows, iPad, etc at the table. No exceptions. (It’s nothing new to hear that America is the fattest nation in the world, but I think there are deeper, cultural issues at work than simply “Americans love McDonalds”.)
3. Eat when you’re hungry, not when you’re bored/sad/tired/feeling-oh-so-pregnant. (Hi, my name is Lindsey. I am an emotional eater.)

I would highly recommend this book – especially to those of you with small kiddos. Kids will eat what we eat and the easiest way to build in good habits (physically & emotionally!) is to begin laying the foundation now: family meals that are made together and eaten together slowly with appreciation & thankfulness, gardens that are planted, tended, and enjoyed together, “rich” meals & desserts that are enjoyed sparingly in celebration!

Oh, and don’t forget Rule #43: Have a glass of wine with dinner.
Yes, please! Happy Wednesday & happy eating!

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4 thoughts on “Food Rules

  1. I relate to every word in this post. (Except the vegetarianism) I read Food Rules too and In Defense of Food. Both great reads. My habits have slowly become better over the years. I TRY to do my own little program which I call “eat like a grown up.” As in . . . don’t snack on Sour Patch Kids while writing. Because what reasonable 35-year-old snacks on Sour Patch Kids!?

    • haha! I like that program & could probably benefit from it…..although I would have to cut out some of my favorites: mac & cheese, sour gummi worms, frosty’s, hmmm… the list could go on 😉

  2. Hi Lindsey! I have so many issues with food that it’s almost fruitless (no pun intended) to sort them all out. It’s true that you develop eating habits when you’re young. Unfortunately, my parents did not seem to think too much about this, maybe because their eating habits were bad then, too! Now theirs are better, but mine are still in the “yuck” stage. Doesn’t help that my hubs is purely meat and potatoes!

    • I think it was pretty common for your parents’ generation to be standard “meat & potatoes” people – my dad claims he didn’t eat fruit until he was in his 20’s 😉 …and he still doesn’t really like it. I think this book could be perfect for you in that it gives you very small, simple steps to begin making changes to your eating habits. Even little steps count! 🙂 …the food documentary I linked in the post could also be interesting for you guys. It’s an instant on Netflix if you guys have it. There are serious implications for the way we eat & it has HUGE health impacts that most of the time we’re not even aware of! :/

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