What To Eat?

| November 22, 2010

I admit I am one of the many people who have recently jumped on the Michael Pollan bandwagon.  Before discovering his work, I didn’t give much thought to the concepts of Organic, Locally Grown, Conventionally Grown, Farm Raised, Certified Humane, and, well, you get the point I think.

But after discovering his work, I stumbled upon another really helpful resource.  The nutritionist Marion Nestle has a book called “What to Eat” which takes the reader through a grocery store, aisle by aisle, and goes into great depth about each section.  She writes in a very reader friendly way about all the confusing differences when it comes to what to choose, what specific ingredients actually mean, and how to begin to decipher some truths about food amidst all the confusion.  Michael Pollan peaked my interest in food and his work inspired me to want to gain a greater understanding of the food industry, the decisions we make about what to put into our bodies, and the concept of trying to gain a deeper connection to food.  But I found that his books didn’t necessarily get at some of the more concrete questions, like what should we actually eat on a day to day basis?  What do all the different terms mean?  And why do food choices have to be so misleading, confusing, and tricky?

Which is where Marion Nestle’s book comes in.  “What to Eat” has proven to be a very important and useful resource for me, and while I still get confused about all the different choices when it comes to food, it feels much more helpful to be able to make slightly more informed decisions about what to put into my body.  And her book also has opened my eyes to the somewhat depressing reality that the majority of the food industry seems to care much more about money than about food.  I suppose that shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to me, but when we consider the growing rates of diabetes, obesity, and other health problems in America, it is hard not to hold the food industry at least partially responsible.  They certainly don’t make our decisions any easier when it comes to healthy eating, not to mention the difference in price involved in the choices we make.

Even though I may not be able to afford to always eat organic or locally grown or farm raised products, at least thanks to Marion Nestle’s book, I now have some idea of what those words mean!