I can be quite an advocate amongst friends on how adopting a more conscious way of eating has helped my yoga practice and life more than any other 'specific' diet, so this book by Pollan has really been a gem. (Well, really most of his books are quite special!) But this is just a brilliant book that is a collection of timeless eating habits from various cultures and amongst the healthy old timers. All those eating habits that are being forgotten with all the fancy food innovations in the West. Ayurveda is another one of those systems of eating that is very similar in it's approaches, emphasising well on how to go about eating, and relating to food - it blends in really well with this book.
“It may be that the degree to which a food is processed gives us a more important key to its healthfulness: Not only can processing remove nutrients and add toxic chemicals, but it makes food more readily absorbable, which can be a problem for our insulin and fat metabolism.”
Times can be so confusing right now. There's just so much media and an explosion of new foods that claim to have all the healthy, organic, nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy and not become a victim of the overwhelmingly growing illnesses that we might now seem to get one day. Even though many of these revolutionary diets are seen as 'healthy' many of them are really just plucked from one core idea, whether it be 'raw, juicy, low-carb, high-protein, no-grain, no wheat' etc, and forget the bigger picture. Where we came from, how we ate, how we're getting sicker more now than ever before - and maybe it's not really the food we need to change? They like to feed into our fears, and keep pulling us away from a place of intuition and inner balance. And the more we get swayed the more desperate we might become to find an even better method to get us back on track. Unless you have a serious illness and there really is no other choice of course, it might be worth a try to really look at the way we eat, when, with who, and what, instead of just eliminating a whole section of our meal. The skill of sitting at a table, eating with awareness, slowly, and chewing well - not asking for seconds and eating till about 80% full is not quite as easy as one might think! But the rewards are long-term and the enjoyment of food will come streaming back.
#2. “Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.”
White processed sugar is in pretty much everything packaged (and not!) these days. Personally I've found white sugar to be the most detrimental to my body and mood. It's just really awful stuff. Once you wean yourself off of it, and then try it again, the shock it gives to the system is really explosive. I believe it could really be one of the most important parts of the journey to be healthy. But what about raw sugar? Pollen say's desserts should be kept for a special occasion. Sugar for 'S' days, Sat/Sun. But I'm presuming they are not doing a daily ashtanga practice! Yet, we should still find our threshold for it, and listen to what makes our body and mind stable. We should opt for raw sugar/ or maple syrup / or honey (unheated) / or jaggery.
Stunning Illustrations by Maira Kalman