27 July 2009

Eat food?

Here we are. What to eat? Funny how such a simple question can alter your length and quality of life. I'm going to borrow heavily from author Michael Pollan today (In Defense of Food, The Omnivore's Dilemma) since I think he has it mostly right.

Eat food.

Whoa. That was easy. Right?

No. Most of the "food" you eat today isn't really food. It's processed food product. We'll pick up later with "food products" and how to know what one is, but for now, I just want to get to the meat and potatoes (...sweet potatoes) of what I think we should all be eating.

Let's start with meat. Don't get me wrong. If you are a vegetarian that thinks eating meat is inhumane, I can't fix you. If you are a vegetarian because you think the living conditions for most of the animals are terrible and the USDA health standards needs some revising, I respect the hell out of you (and you are largely right). If you are a vegetarian because it's trendy and your favorite food is french fries, I don't feel so bad for you. Humans are designed to eat meat. Just look at your teeth for proof. So what kinds of meat? All meat. Cattle, bison, pig, chicken, other small game, deer, rabbit, organ meats, whatever, etc. Eggs also fall under this heading, but milk, cheese, and other dairy products do not. Just about the only thing I recommend to limit is veal (which has an abnormally high content of fat thanks to the practices of modern day sheep farmers).

Moving on to fish. Fatty fish are best: salmon, tuna, and the like. However, even white fish (flounder, tilapia) and shellfish (shrimp, scallops, crab) are great sources of clean protein. Wild is ALWAYS better than farmed.

Eat your veggies! Vegetables are now going to assume the role of your primary source of carbohydrates and they offer a fantastic source of nutrients per calorie. Let me explain what vegetables ARE NOT. They are not corn, beans (black, lima, butter, or soy), rice, or potatoes. They ARE asparagus, broccoli, lettuce, spinach, carrots, squash, zucchini, eggplant, capsicums (bell peppers), onions, etc. Sweet potatoes (yams) are in fact a vegetable (and have a much smaller impact on insulin levels than your typical white potato), but I still only recommend them in moderation or regularly for serious athletes/gym-goers/manual laborers. Green beans are also another exception.

Everyone likes fruit. Apples, blueberries, strawberries, melons, grapefruit, citrus fruit, peaches, etc. Fruit is also a great source of nutrients per calorie and more carbohydrates that aren't as detrimental to your blood sugar. Bananas are a fruit (and a favorite of many at that), but my advice on them is similar to that of sweet potatoes above.

We've got our proteins and carbs covered. How about some healthy fat? Nuts/seeds and oils are the best. Nuts include walnuts, pecans, macadamias, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, coconut, flax seeds, nut butters, and many others. Oils include olive oil, flax oil, nut oils, coconut oil, lard, tallow, limited amounts of canola oil and butter, and others. Please note that "nuts" does NOT include peanuts or cashews. However, if a handful of peanuts or some natural peanut butter is the worst thing you eat, you're doing pretty good. Also, oils does not include soybean oil, peanut oil, corn oil, or partially hydrogenated/hydrogentated oil of ANY kind. Avocados technically belong to the fruit family, but they are also another great source of healthy fat.

This all might seem limiting, but we are only getting started.

1 comment:

  1. I thought you brought up some very interesting points in this post. Great blog.


Please include your name when using the comment board. I like to know who's reading!