"Food Rules" Michael Pollan (and my mom)

Michael Pollan    Photo credit: Alia Malley
A Guest Post by Joshua Gardner
I have to give my Mom a lot of credit. When I asked if we could tear up half the back yard and plant a vegetable garden she said okay. She even did some of the digging!* When I told her we should start composting our food scraps, she said no problem.  And when I told her she should cut back on eating meat, she even tried to limit herself to having it at one meal a day. (*Editors Note: if this means putting a shovel in the ground about ten times and deciding it was too difficult for me to continue, then yes I did some of the digging.)
Food plays a big part in both of our lives. She’s obviously a restaurant blogger with an unhealthy obsession with Top Cheftestants, while my interest in food stems from the environmental and agricultural side of things. So when I found out that the acclaimed author and “liberal foodie intellectual” Michael Pollan was coming to town to give a talk I jumped at the chance to take advantage of my mom’s press pass. 
Pollan is the acclaimed best-selling author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and In Defense of Food. His work takes a look behind the curtain of the food industry and examines  the place “where nature and culture intersect: on our plates, in our farms and gardens, and in the built environment.
Pollan had the sold-out crowd at the Strathmore Music Hall eating out of the palm of his hand. When he let us in on a little secret that low-fat yogurt has more sugar per ounce than Coca-Cola, every person in the audience let out an audible gasp. But, Pollan’s main target was nutrionism. He despises our countries’ unhealthy obsession with being healthy and looking at food as nothing more than a vehicle to deliver nutrients to our body. Food is culture, food is to be savored and enjoyed. As the evening went on, I was shocked to hear him describe ideal eating habits that described my Mom to a T.  I know on more than one occasion she has worried about the negative effect all this eating will have on her health. But the French Paradox begs to differ. This theory asks us to ponder how the French and other cultures are so healthy given their proclivity for rich buttery foods and heaps of red wine, while we Americans struggle even with all of our vitamin enhanced food. Below are a few ways you can follow the Michael Pollan approved Lori Gardner diet:
          Eat slow leisurely meals among friends. “Supposedly it takes twenty minutes before the brain gets the word that the belly is full.” With all the gabbing between bites, you’ll have a better sense of when enough is enough!
–      Dine on small plates instead of huge portions. This shouldn’t be too hard given that most DC hot spots take advantage of this concept.
          Have a glass of red wine with dinner! Studies show that a glass or two can help prevent heart disease.
          Try and shop at farmer’s markets and eat locally. I’ve read enough of my mom’s blogs to know that farm fresh regional cuisine is all the rage these days.
You vote with your fork, so check out Michael Pollan’s books if you’re interested in bettering your choices when it comes to what you eat, and if Lori Gardner can do it, anyone can! 

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