Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 8
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Suggestions for healthy, tasty eating in 2012

It’s January, which means that many of us are making new commitments to our health and culinary palette. Whether you are hoping to eat healthier, or just hoping to shake up the midwinter stir-fry doldrums, I’ve got a couple tips for you.

Most of my food philosophy comes from Michael Pollan, author of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” “In Defense of Food,” and its derivative, “Food Rules.” Pollan’s advice is to “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants,” which I think is just about right. I don’t support dieting,  but here are a few things that I’ve found in Pollan’s work and elsewhere that help me make healthy choices about food. (Full disclaimer: I can and do eat entire pints of Cherry Garcia in one sitting with enthusiasm. I’m not a food saint.)

1. Eat The Rainbow! And those colors can’t be produced within two miles of the New Jersey turnpike. Carbohydrates are generally white, tan or brown (ditto meat), so minimize the amount of space those take up on your plate, in favor of colorful veggies and fruits. If you’re an omnivore, try designating one or two vegetarian or vegan days out of the week and make up the protein with beans, lentils, quinoa, tofu or just lots and lots of peanut butter.

2. If Your Grandma Wouldn’t, Don’t. Fear not, we’re still on edibles. Only eat things that your grandma would recognize as food. My German grandma probably didn’t eat a lot of curry growing up, and that’s fine. Someone’s grandma probably did, so that’s on the good list. Something full of processed corn and soy and marketed with bright packaging? Definitely not food.

3. Savor Each Bite. If you consciously think about the enticing aroma drifting up from that bowl of soup, revel in the crusty chewiness of that ciabbatta, and consider the seasonings in your rice bowl, then chances are you won’t feel like you need to eat as much. You’ll also enjoy food more. My mama taught me to set down my utensil between each bite and to use smaller cups and dishes, because you really do eat less if you take your time.

4. Don’t Think About It. I know this one looks a little incongruous in a list of things to think about, but really, don’t stress about food. Put down your “3,000 Meals Under 300 Calories Ready in 30 Minutes” cookbook. Go outside, read a book, catch up on 30 Rock, whatever. Eat that extra slice of birthday cake. Go for the burger with bacon and cheese because food is fun and is supposed to be enjoyed, not agonized over. (Unless you’re making a cheddar replica of Stonehenge, in which case, that will probably need your full attention.)

Lately I’m craving lots of nice root vegetables like parsnips and sweet potatoes, Petit Basque (a delightful Spanish sheep cheese I received for Christmas), and, let’s be honest, Lindt’s milk chocolate bars with pistachios. I hope you enjoy many delicious meals this year, Whitman! ¡Buen provecho!

Note: If you find yourself worrying about food in an unhealthy way, please talk to someone about it. Eating disorders are scary.

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