Tag Archives: Diet

Simplifying the Omnivore’s Dilemma

The author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma put together a list of eating rules for the New York Times. From 2,500 submissions made by his readers, Michael Pollan gleaned 20. If I lob cheap laughs off the top, like “Don’t eat egg salad from a vending machine” and other home-spun wisdoms which help NYT editors trivialize critiques of consumerism, I’m left with eight tips to spark constructive rethinking of our eating patterns. For starters: 1. If you are not hungry enough to eat an apple, then you’re not hungry.

2. You may not leave the table until you finish your fruit.

3. You don’t get fat on food you pray over.

4. Breakfast you should eat alone. Lunch you should share with a friend. Dinner, give to your enemy.

5. Never eat something that is pretending to be something else.

6. Don’t eat anything you aren’t willing to kill yourself.

7. Don’t yuck someone’s yum.

8. Eat until you are seven-tenths full and save the other three-tenths for hunger.

A kernel of un-truth

food industry fascists
If you’ve met me, even for five minutes, you know that I hate the US food industry with great gusto. Every single day, though I try very hard not to, I read something about the obesity epidemic and the alarming rates of depression, anxiety, ADHD, heart disease, diabetes, cancer. The list of woes goes on ad fricking infinitum.

Before I rip on the government, who should be watching over the food industry to ensure that our food supply is safe and nutritious, but most assuredly isn’t, not only because they are fascist bastards who love corporate goodies, but also because they are fucking idiots who know absolutely nothing about health or nutrition…. breathe….. before I rip on them, let me say that the joke known as the food pyramid has actually, finally, been revised a tiny bit in the right direction. Still, the pyramid only addresses the quantities of food that should be consumed and doesn’t speak a word about nutrition, so it’s still pretty worthless.

What do you think of when you hear the word enrich? Does it conjure up images of a living thing, mangled and dissected until nothing of value remains? Do you picture its skeletal carcass, picked clean by vultures and bleached in the desert sun until it is devoid of not only life, but color as well? If somehow it fell upon you to enrich the poor dead thing, what would you do? Dress it up in fancy clothes? A nice hat? Maybe even googly eyes?

Do you know why the food industry is so good as to enrich wheat flour after they’ve milled it, discarded the nutritious parts, and bleached any remaining life out of it? Why they then throw worthless synthetic vitamins in the coffin? A guilt offering perhaps. But more likely its because they have to for their bleached white flour to be considered, get this, FOOD.

I’ll cut right to my point. A kernel of wheat, or a wheat berry, is a living thing, a seed. It consists of three separate parts: the bran, the germ and the inner core, the endosperm. A kernel of wheat contains over 30 different nutrients, dispersed throughout the component parts, and is the primary food source for most of the world. In the US, instead of acting as our nutritional savior, as the good Lord intended, most wheat isn’t even food.

But I don’t buy bleached flour! I buy stone ground whole wheat products! Sorry to tell you but once a kernel of wheat has been milled, even if it is not subjected to the atrocities committed on its less fortunate counterparts, it is still nearly worthless, possessing only 10% of all vitamins, minerals and trace elements found in a wheat berry. As soon as wheat is ground into flour it begins to oxidize. Within 24 hours, most nutrients have dissipated into the atmosphere, and spoilage sets in soon after. Freshly-milled, highly-nutritious whole wheat flour has almost NO shelf life. Which is why the food industry spends so much time and money on our eventual enrichment.

My poor kids have suffered for years under my ruthless hatred of American flour. They are the physically fit, calm and well-behaved little souls who forlornly peel their Clementines while cruel classmates taunt them with flour-y treats. They are the oddballs, the misfits, the outcasts. At least they were.

Now I buy hard red wheat kernels at Mountain Mamas for $.67/lb. I grind the flour in my handy Nutri-mill (For purposes of full disclosure, this runs about $250. I’ve had mine for 10 years, no trouble). Within minutes I use the freshly ground flour to make cinnamon rolls, muffins, cookies, waffles and other delicacies. My kids are popular again and, almost more importantly, stuffed full of 30 vital nutrients. They have good physical health and energy, good mental health, stable moods. It’s a happy place, this home.

If you do one thing this year to improve your life, grind your own flour and learn to bake a few things. And never ever ever believe that the US food suppliers, or the US government, cares one iota about your health and well-being.