Posted in Diet, QOTD, Real food on June 25, 2014|
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Chef Michael Ruhlman talks with MD Roxanne Sukol about “stripped carbohydrates” and the important semantic difference between “healthy” and “nutritious.” Here’s a highlight:
We are a nation drowning in stripped carbs and it is a dangerous situation we can make right, in large measure with words and education. “I’m all about the words,” [Sukol] said, seated on our porch Monday with a glass of iced tea. “Words are the key to giving people the tools they need to figure out what to eat. Everyone’s just so confused.”
“‘Healthy’ is a bankrupt word,” she continued. “We talk about healthy bread and healthy this and healthy that. It’s wrong. We are healthy. Our food is nutritious.”
We need to begin talking about nutritious food or we will cease to be nutritious when the bonobos come to feast on our fat, diseased selves strewn across the scorched earth we leave behind. Dr. Sukol recommends that if you see anything actually labeled “healthy,” throw it into the next aisle of the grocery store, which I hope is near the cleaning fluids. Actually she just said to put it back, but I would urge you, as an act of protest, to throw it into the cleaning fluids lane. …
You don’t need to worry about eating healthy if you’re eating nutritious food.
WE are HEALTHY if our FOOD is NUTRITIOUS.
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Posted in Nutrition, QOTD, Real food on March 18, 2014|
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Thanks to Andy Bellatti for the permission to repost his response to the latest “saturated fat doesn’t raise risk of heart disease” study. His take-aways (emphasis mine):
1. It’s important to keep in mind that this meta-analysis only looked at heart disease. I think saturated fat’s role in heart disease has been exaggerated and misunderstood, but we also can’t forget that most of the foods that are high in saturated fat are problematic for other reasons (i.e.: processed meats increase colorectal cancer risk, most foods high in saturated fat do not contribute fiber, the role that L-carnitine, a compound in red meat, plays in promotion of heart disease, etc.)
2. This study still does not discount the fact that monounsaturated fats (almonds, pecans, olives, avocados) confer many health benefits.
3. As long as we have this dichotomy of “saturated vs. unsaturated” fats, we’ll always have this battle. In reality, we need to start having a “processed vs. unprocessed” fat conversation. “Unsaturated” fats include everything from the fat in avocados (great!) to the fat Doritos are fried in (not good).
4. Too often, these studies end up inaccurately translated as “saturated fat isn’t as harmful as we once thought! Pile on the bacon!” To me, what this study says confirms is what I tell my clients often: “it’s fine if you want to cook your vegetables in a little butter to give them flavor, but the focus should be on eating a hearty amount of vegetables, not drowning three broccoli florets in a ton of butter because butter has been given the supposed green light.”
5. Remember that whole, plant-based foods contain many compounds (minerals, phytonutrients) that are great for heart health.
This is the first time in over 200 QOTD posts that I’ve quoted an entire post! But I thought the whole thing was well worth sharing here … I couldn’t agree with Andy more.
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In an article for Bitch, chef/writer Soleil Ho wonders “how can we fetishize the act of eating so much while also making food more inaccessible to the people who need it the most?”
I don’t mean to minimize the important question/concern of food accessibility, but this snippet of Ho’s related to the act of eating (or at least shopping for food) struck me:
Though it can be said that the acrid odor of snake oil marketing has always been a hallmark of American laissez faire capitalism, we’ve entered an age where consumer choice and moralizing have combined to turn grocery shopping into an incredibly neurotic experience. If you want to be cosmopolitan, you’ll buy star anise, kimchi, and coconut oil. If you want to prevent cancer, buy collard greens, blueberries, and omega-3 eggs. If you want to eat food free of pesticides and high fructose corn syrup, buy organic meat, flour, and dairy. Compound all of these seemingly innocuous exercises in American Dreaming with diet fads like “clean” eating, Westernized veganism, or the paleo diet, and you’ll get a supermarket full of people staring at labels, searching the copy for proof of ideological and medical purity. I need to buy this if I want to be good, if I really want to take care of myself and my family. As it turns out, this moralistic way of framing choice is extremely profitable for food processors, restaurants, and produce retailers: we’ve been effectively held captive by our own consciences.
As this #Breaking Black post on “food gentrification” suggests, there “are no easy answers, but we have to start asking the questions before food becomes a privilege instead of a necessity.”
And while we’re at it, perhaps we should look more at if/how much this “fetishization” of eating leads to analysis paralysis and “what the hell” decisions around folks’ diets.
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Disease Proof author Dr. David Katz revisited a post from late last year, wondering: Should choosing a meal really require choosing a Messiah?
Couldn’t the proponents of low-carb eating acknowledge that jellybeans were part of the problem, but pinto beans- not so much? The vegans have important arguments about the treatment of our planetary cohabitants, sustainable eating for a population of 7 billion, and planetary stewardship- but if anything, these get lost when they fail to allow for the fact that game and fish figure in the diets of some of the world’s longest-lived, most vital peoples. We could have been right about reducing saturated fat intake, and wrong about what we ate instead. We could agree that eating real food, close to nature, rich in nutrients, and mostly whether or not exclusively plants would be far better than the typical American diet, and would occupy ground common to the disparate theologies of food. …
Whether about wheat or meat, sugar or starch, calories or carbohydrates, this fat or that fat, we seem to have an insatiable appetite for mere grains of truth about diet and health, rather than the complete recipe. Planting such seeds, we are reaping just what we are sowing: more heat than light, unending opportunities for food industry abuses, stunning lack of public health progress, and the very kind of trees that make the forest impossible to see.
Maybe Chris Masterjohn has the right idea:
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Posted in QOTD, Real food on November 11, 2013|
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Michelle Allison, the Fat Nutritionist, dislikes the term “real food” and writes today that “all foods, like all women, are real.” She explains (emphasis hers):
No, this does not mean that all foods are nutritionally equivalent, or that all foods are good for all people in all situations, but it does mean that choices around food must be individual, that all food choices can be valid, depending on the person and the circumstances, and that universal pronouncements on a food’s relative realness are not helpful or, well…real.
“Real food” is not a real thing. Because what constitutes food is too many things.
I’m as guilty as the next “real foodie” of thinking that there is a meaningful difference between a tomato and a Twinkie, but it’s probably worth keeping in mind that at the end of the day (no matter how long it will live on your shelf), a Twinkie is actually food and not everyone wants, needs, or can afford to eat like a caveman or like Michael Pollan.
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Claus Meyer, “gastronomical entrepreneur” and founder of Noma (the world’s best restaurant from 2010 to 2012), on his New Nordic cuisine movement:
If our movement is a threat against anything, I believe it is the transnational junk and fast food industry dominated by massive corporations that tend to ruin our health, undermine our independence, and potentially damage the planet.
The quote comes from Meyer’s contribution to week one of Coursera’s The New Nordic Diet – from Gastronomy to Health. I initially thought it was really a course about a specific diet, but it’s actually much more than that: it’s about taste, pleasure, seasonality, sustainability, and more. What’s particularly cool is that they are trying to take the lessons learned in Denmark and reproduce their success in Bolivia.
The class just started, so if you’re into real food, sustainability, and interesting public health experiments, check it out. It’s free!
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Posted in Real food on October 1, 2013|
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I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that shellfish and seafood were one of the food groups that Weston Price found that healthy groups generally consumed. Compared to insects and whole small animals (another group), seafood is a lot tastier too ;).
The trick is to make sure that the shellfish or seafood you eat is good for you (e.g., not high in contaminants like mercury) and also sustainable (so it’s also good for the planet).
Enter the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch. This outreach program provides a number of resources that help consumers and businesses make good choices when purchasing or consuming seafood.
One of these are their Seafood Watch pocket guides. The regional guides provide “science-based recommendations
that help consumers and businesses make ocean-friendly seafood choices.” You can download one of the free Fall/Winter 2013 guides, print it on your inkjet printer and fold it to fit in your pocket. Nice!
They also have an unfortunately short Super Green List of seafood that is low in mercury, high in omega 3, and are on MB’s best list re sustainability. As of July 2013, the list included:
- Atlantic Mackerel (purse seine from Canada and the U.S.)
- Freshwater Coho Salmon (farmed in tank systems, from the U.S.)
- Pacific Sardines (wild-caught)
- Salmon (wild-caught, from Alaska)
- Salmon, Canned (wild-caught, from Alaska)
Finally, cooks will likely appreciate their Culinary Chart of Alternatives. Bon appétit!
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