Your great-grandmother wouldn’t
“Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.”
— Michael Pollan
As a carb-craving sweet-toothed treat junkie, I must admit that learning to eat my vegetables has been an ongoing effort for me. There are a few I really enjoy: tomatoes, spinach, corn on the cob, field peas or most other legumes, preferably fresh from the garden. But many of the highly nutritious varieties don’t appeal to me. Eggplant, broccoli, beets, Brussels sprouts and most types of greens are among the foods I’d rather avoid.
Fruits are a different matter. There are none I really dislike, and many are near the top of my favorite foods list. So I tell myself I can make up for my veggie deficit by eating more fruits. I’m not sure how true this is, but I hope it’s at least a step in the right direction.
I have noticed, though, that the more I eat wholesome, natural foods, the less I enjoy junk. After years of being a fast food fan, I eventually lost my taste for most of it (I probably will always love Taco Bell). Most “junk foods” no longer appeal to me at all, except for Cheez-its. I can honestly say the photo above looks more appetizing to me than a photo of potato chips, french fries or pastries would. OK, not better than a photo of ice cream or cookies, but I’m working on that.
One rule of thumb I adopted long ago is to avoid anything for which the ingredient label is very long and has lots of words I can’t pronounce. This rule alone eliminates much of what passes for food in a modern grocery store. Cutting out anything with artificial flavors, colors or preservatives shortens the list even more. But I don’t miss any of those things now.
When I cut out a great many of the so-called convenience foods, I discovered they really weren’t so convenient after all. Lots of them involve microwaving, stirring, covering or uncovering, microwaving again, or other multi-step directions. And have you ever noticed, given the long lines inside or at drive through windows, fast food really isn’t fast anymore?
As with so many other aspects of contemporary life, we may have picked up some eating habits that were more influenced by advertisers and rushed living than enjoyment and sanity. Re-learning the way we think about food doesn’t come easily (at least it hasn’t for me) but the rewards are better health, more enjoyment and often (surprise!) monetary savings as well.
I hope you will let today’s photo inspire you to enjoy something fresh, locally grown and simple in place of something that comes in a package with a label. Your great-grandmother would be proud!
One year ago today: