There are a lot of ways to eat. I change my mind frequently about what works best for me, more meat and less carbs or mostly vegetarian with lots of beans, lentils and whole grains, etc.
But this weekend, as I was still recovering from being sick and laying in bed, I realized a few things while watching the documentary “Forks Over Knives.”
No matter what kind of food philosophy I’m following, the focus should always be on whole, unprocessed foods. There are a few pieces of advice I’ve really taken to heart when it comes to my food shopping and eating habits and one of them is “shop the perimeter of the store.” This is where the freshest food is, and the food that I want to be eating. Before, I use to peruse up and down every isle. Now I will venture into the middle of the grocery store only if it’s for something specific, like coffee or canned tomatoes (which apparently I shouldn’t be eating either) so I don’t get sucked in by advertising and processed food.
The other thing I realized during this documentary is that I don’t miss not thinking about my food, which I did for a while. My healthy living journey has taken me from someone who never cared about what they ate to someone who carefully plans every single food choice. There have definitely been days where I wished I could go back to being a person who didn’t analyze everything on my plate, but this weekend I realized I no longer felt that way. Somewhere along my path, my sometimes-desire to return to a state of unknowing about nutrition disappeared. This doesn’t mean that I always eat perfectly, but it definitely increases the likelihood of making good choices.
I also really like like Michael Pollan’s line from this NYT article he wrote: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants.” In the article he makes the argument for a diet rich in real food (i.e. food your great grandmother would recognize), stopping eating before you are full and choosing foods that are plant based.
The power of food continues to amaze me. I was stunned when I watched “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” about how juicing has transformed people’s lives.
And for a documentary that will make you think about how much food is wasted, I definitely recommend “Dive.” It follows a family (and a culture of people) whose meals are mainly salvaged from dumpsters. Unlike “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead,” the documentary didn’t make me want to go out and dumpster dive, but it did make me think about possibly volunteering or donating to one of the food shelters around here.
With so much diet propaganda circulating in our culture, figuring out the right way to eat can be seriously overwhelming. But like most tough problems, the right answer is usually the simplest. Eat real, whole foods. It’s hard to go wrong with this philosophy.
I would love to know your thoughts! I know there are a lot of other documentaries out there that talk about food and I’m slowly making my way through all of them. On my short list are “King Corn” and “Food, Inc.”
What has changed or influenced the way you think about food?