I eat a lot less in quantity than I did before I started this journey. But in quality and variety, I’ve found so much more.
I’m reading In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan and it is solidifying a lot of the ideas I’ve come to have about eating over the past 14 months. I love the distinction he makes between FOOD and FOOD-LIKE SUBSTANCE. Before, I was eating a ton of food-like substances, AND a ton of food. Now, I’m eating a moderate quantity of very good food and little to no food-like substance. This is food that appeals to me both because of its taste and how it makes me feel. I don’t miss the old way of eating anymore. And I don’t blame myself for it. I just never knew any better.
“Most of what we need to know about how to eat we already know, or once did until we allowed the nutrition experts and the advertisers to shake our confidence in common sense, tradition, the testimony of our senses, and the wisdom of our mothers and grandmothers.”
Who knew? My common sense turns out to be great! I LOVE fresh fruit and vegetables. I always have.
A year ago, a day’s eating would have been:
Breakfast – iced coffee with whole milk and sugar, maybe a pastry, maybe nothing.
Lunch – restaurant take out, maybe a Reuben with potato salad and a coke
Dinner – unrestricted portions of whatever, maybe Pasta with Ground Beef and pasta sauce from a jar
Snacks- chips, cookies, cheese, crackers, ice cream, chocolate… you name it. Again, unrestricted portions.
Now, 1400 calories:
I’m enjoying what I eat so much more now.
I’m buying the majority of my produce from farmer’s markets. I’m sticking to food with the least number of ingredients. I avoid anything in a brightly colored package. I eat when I’m hungry. And I’m losing 2 pounds a week.
Pollan introduced me to the concept of nutritionism. And the opposite way of thinking, which means realizing that food is more than the sum of its known parts. It makes complete sense to me! Of course we don’t understand everything there is to know about nutrition! If we did, none of us would be obese or suffering from diet-caused diabetes!
“Scientific reductionism is an undeniably powerful tool, but it can mislead us too, especially when applied to something as complex, on the one side, as a food and on the other a human eater. It encourages us to take a very mechanistic view of that transaction: Put in this nutrient, get out that physiological result. Yet people differ in important ways. We all know that lucky soul who can eat prodigious quantities of fattening food without ever gaining weight…
There’s nothing very machine-like about the human eater and to think of food as simply fuel is to completely misconstrue it. It’s worth keeping in mind too that, curiously, the human digestive tract has roughly as many neurons as the spinal column. We don’t yet know exactly what they’re up to, but their existence suggests that much more is going on in digestion than simply the breakdown of foods into chemicals.”
I’ve spent entirely too much time contemplating what the optimum percentages fat, protein, carbohydrates should be and not nearly enough time thinking about enjoying a variety of food. The revelation that eating healthy doesn’t mean denying my impulses, but listening to them is a joy and a relief! I’m putting more trust in myself and food from this moment forth.
And I mean food in the sense of real food, not processed and packaged corn and soy reconstituted into different shapes and flavored with a variety of chemicals.
“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”