Whole thinking

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?




9 thoughts on “Whole thinking

  1. thanks for the reminder to eat whole foods…you got me motivated to check out some local farmer’s markets…thanks

  2. I know what you mean about wanting to “not” analyze your food all the time. And I’ve found, too, that at times when I become too relaxed about it, that’s where I come into trouble. The transition from processed food to real food is challenging. While I feel like I’m getting there (I put more fruits and veggies in my shopping cart than ever before!), the hardest part is moving my husband in that direction. He admits that he is all about new packaging… He just can’t resist!

  3. I just got to catch up on your past few blog pasts and great info as always! You’ll be happy to know I’ve be adding spinach to my smoothies and you were completely right – no taste at all. =)

    Disappointing though to read that I shouldn’t be eating microwave popcorn. Oops! Time for a new at work quick snack.

    • YAY i’m so glad you tried it!! Apparently it’s pretty easy to make popcorn from regular kernels in the microwave with a brown paper bag….it’s on my list of things to do.

  4. Hey,Jodi! You’re blog is amazing. I loved Forks Over Knives, as well and I’m glad you came to that realization about whole foods. It’s really the only “diet” I follow and I believe it makes a big difference.

    Regarding volunteering… I work for the Food Bank For NYC and I’m glad you realize how much food is wasted. It’s very sad. I’ve visited the Community Food Bank of NJ quite a few times as I occasionally work with them. I’m always so impressed with how progressive they are (I think more so than NYC). You might be especially interested in their food service training program. They train low income clients to work in the food service industry through their own community kitchen. Check it out, it’s awesome! http://www.njfoodbank.org/programs/community-kitchen/fsta

    If you want anymore info or contacts, let me know and I’ll get you in touch with them.

    All the best,

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