Some Things I Learned from “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto”
- Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. – That is the book in a nutshell and a good manifesto to live by for 99% of us.
- You are what what you eat eats – most of the meats you buy at the grocery store are fed grains which jacks up their Omega 6’s and thereby jacks up yours. This is why we highly recommend supplementing with Omega 3’s – to get the balance back. However, if you choose meats that *don’t* jack up your Omega 6’s (grass-fed/pasture-fed) and wild game, then the Omega 6’s don’t get jacked up so much. You’d probably still do well to supplement with fish oil, but you’ll get more mileage on a smaller dose.
- Eat a wide variety of locally grown plants – Visit the Farmer’s markets to see what’s in season and local
- Grow your own food – he’s got all sorts of romantic reasons why, but in the end it does you good to get out in the Sun for 20 minutes a week and do some gardening. In addition to that you get some almost free food of the high nutrient variety picked at the height of ripeness
- Eat with other people – In the last 50 years meal-time as a social event has seriously deteriorated. Pollan argues that healthy eating habits include preserving the social aspect of meal-time.
- Eat slowly – We’re not talking 100 chews per bite or anything like that…. just take smaller bites and enjoy the flavours. It leads to better digestion, you’ll probably eat less (if that’s a problem for you), and you’ll probably get more time to socialize if you’re applying the previous principle
- PUT YOUR RESOURCES INTO FOOD. This is perhaps the biggest take-away for me. High quality food is worth the investment of money with long term benefits to your health, performance and short term benefits to your enjoyment of food. Cooking is well worth your time as a stress-reducing activity capable of bringing about some seriously great taste experiences. Couple that with making meal-times social and you’re working toward a very positive social life/home environment.
- He doesn’t see any good reason to eat meat (and also says he doesn’t see any good reason to not eat meat – ethical/religious issues aside). The Zone and Paleo diets have lots of documentation with very good reasons to eat lean, grass-fed, meats…. the biggest being hormonal balance. Are we eating PILES of meat like bodybuilders? Nope… just moderate amounts. I like to see my athletes eating a serving of meat approximately the size and thickness of their hand 5 times per day.
I recommend this book as a light read touching on some of the most important aspects of changing to a whole foods diet. It lacks the sensationalism of most other recent nutrition books and sticks to the basic truths. If you apply Pollan’s principles, add in the Zone “hand principle” (which I will happily show you any day), and top off with a bit of fish oil, you’ve got a great diet (WAY OF LIFE) for optimal performance, fat reduction and long term health!