Saturday, February 03, 2007

Eat Food

"I'm not a vegetarian because I love animals. I'm a vegetarian because I hate plants!" -- A. Whitney Brown

Myself, I'm not a vegetarian, but I do consider it a healthy and noble aspiration. I guess you could say the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak... and grilled... and tender... and smothered in garlic butter.

That said, I continue to grow progressively more terrified of what's available to eat, what many of our children are eating and, generally, the horrors of today's Western diet. There's too much misinformation when it comes to food, and there's too much plastic masquerading as food.

Thinking scientifically, I look to the evolutionary tree and our closest relatives, the monkeys. Perhaps we should eat what monkeys eat, because, in comparison to humans, monkeys are stupid. They're not smart enough to write advertising copy, they're not smart enough to hydrogenate oils, they're not smart enough to refine flour, and most of them can't even fry an egg.

Since monkeys haven't evolved to the point of synthesizing food out of inedible components, they're doomed to sticking to the theoretically optimal diet thrust upon them by millions of years of natural selection. Poor suckers don't have Twinkies. Personally, I haven't had great success in assuming this diet, but one must consider ideals.

Last week, Omnivore's Dilemma author Michael Pollan published a great piece in the NYT titled Unhappy Meals. It offered the welcome advice of eating food:

"1. Eat food. Though in our current state of confusion, this is much easier said than done. So try this: Don't eat anything your great-great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food. (Sorry, but at this point Moms are as confused as the rest of us, which is why we have to go back a couple of generations, to a time before the advent of modern food products.) There are a great many foodlike items in the supermarket your ancestors wouldn't recognize as food (Go-Gurt? Breakfast-cereal bars? Nondairy creamer?); stay away from these."

I think eating what your great-great-grandmother ate is even better than eating what monkeys eat, especially when I reflect on their personal grooming techniques.

It's worth the read, especially if you have children.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home