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"Food Rules" To Live By

June 06, 2019

 We get it... life is busy and sometimes it is difficult to make good food choices.  But if we make good decisions about the foods we stock in our kitchens, it is easier to feel good about those meals we're making in a hurry at the end of a busy day.

Our friend Ashley over at Lotus Lifestyle Coaching put together a blog series with lots of simple, but easy to follow, "rules" for making better choices about what we eat.  If you don't know Ashley, she is a wellness coach, lifestyle blogger, trained psychotherapist, and low-carbohydrate/ketogenic practitioner.

Here is Part 1 of her "Food Rules to Live By" series and at the end is a link over to her blog for Parts 2-4.  Enjoy!

"Food Rules" To Live By, Part 1 

Michael Pollan, an acclaimed food writer, wrote an adorable little book called “Food Rules” that I think everyone hoping to reduce the use of processed food and change their relationship with food and should read. Seriously, it’s only probably around 50 full-pages when you filter through all the illustrations and one-paragraph pages! And, while he isn’t a low-carbohydrate/keto author, he does a great job of explaining the risks of the Western SAD (i.e. Standard American Diet), the chronic diseases it is known to cause, and practical ways that we can change our relationship with food in order to live by “food rules” that help us be healthy. Here are some of my favorite “food rules” that I live by in my own life.

“AVOID ‘FOOD-LIKE SUBSTANCES' ”

There is food and then there are what Pollan calls “food-like substances.” Julia Ross calls them “Frankenfoods.” It may go without saying, but make sure that you are actually eating food. This brings me to…

“DON’T EAT ANYTHING YOUR GREAT-GRANDMOTHER WOULDN’T RECOGNIZE AS FOOD”

This is one of my favorite ones as it reminds us how much we have lost touch with the actual food that is grown from the ground. My favorite example of this is also used by Pollan, describing the potential confusion of “Go-Gurt” with something like toothpaste or lotion. So, maybe don’t eat anything that one could mistake for a bath product, either. 

“AVOID FOOD PRODUCTS THAT CONTAIN MORE THAN FIVE INGREDIENTS”

If a “food” has more than five ingredients, consider that it is not likely a “food.” If it has more than five ingredients, it also likely contains ingredients that are not good for us (especially if you are low-carb/keto), like a kind of sugar, corn product, or highly chemically-processed soy. Yuck!

"AVOID FOOD PRODUCTS THAT CONTAIN INGREDIENTS YOU CANNOT PRONOUNCE"

If the “food” has more than 5 ingredients, it also likely has things that you cannot pronounce. Sodium aluminosilicate? Monosodium glutamate? Butylated hydroxyanisole? Potassium metabisulfite? Sodium benzoate? Just say “no thanks.” Personally, I trust mother nature more that I do chemists.

“AVOID FOOD PRODUCTS THAT MAKE HEALTH CLAIMS”

Frankly, the foundation of carbohydrates that our society’s nutrition is based is how we got into this mess with heart disease, obesity, and other Western diseases. Promotion of products that are “Heart Healthy” following Ansel Keys’ demonization of fat also meant that “healthy” products are typically marketed as “low-fat.” But, why would we trust the nutrition advice that has caused us to experience a rise in the very diseases (e.g. obesity, heart disease) that such “healthy” “whole grain” products were supposed to prevent? This brings me to the next rule of…

“AVOID FOODS YOU SEE ADVERTISED ON TELEVISION”

Other than “Avocados from Mexico,” think about how the “silent foods,” like cauliflower and collard greens (which I admit I have an addiction to!) sit in the aisle of your grocery store not yelling at you. Instead, they simply grace you with their presence; waiting to be admired for the thing they are. Just like people, if someone feels the need to tell you how awesome they are, are they really!?

“EAT ONLY FOODS THAT WILL EVENTUALLY ROT”

It’s simple – if it rots, it’s a “real food.” If it doesn’t, like the McDonald’s a friend of mine has had for six years and doesn’t show any signs of rotting, it’s a “food-like substance” you will want to avoid.

 

If you want to continue reading Ashley's "My Favorite Food Rules" Blog Series, click here...

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