Thursday, July 12, 2012

A truly remarkable man.

The Urban Remedy girls went on a very special kind of date earlier this week. We put on our Sunday best and ventured down to the Sydney Opera House to listen (avidly) to one of the great minds of nutrition. If you haven’t heard of him already, he goes by the name of Pollan. Michael Pollan.

Why is he so special? Well, probably because few people combine such a harmonious assortment of attributes and interests in such an easy-to-listen-to package. Pollan is first and foremost a journalist and a teacher but his area of expertise (and passion) is nutrition/health, and he brings to the table the so often missing ingredients of history, culture, government policy and sustainability. After all, nutrition without these key elements is like bread without butter, a roast without gravy, salad without dressing… you catch our drift.

Back to Pollan. One of his best works ‘Food Rules’ (which lays out some really simple but powerful guidelines to healthy eating) can be summed up in seven tiny but mighty words:

 “Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much.”

We think they deserve a little elaboration:

Eat food.
If it doesn’t look like food (and your grandmother wouldn’t recognise it as food) it probably isn’t! Pollan wants us to eat food the way nature intended, food that’s alive, food that rots! And this means no need for additives, wonder ingredients or complicated production methods. Food is food. You shouldn’t need a dictionary to interpret the ingredients list.

Mostly plants.
This is self-explanatory. Eat mostly plants (this includes grains, nuts and seeds – non-refined of course). However, Pollan is not suggesting we avoid meat/protein altogether – on the contrary, he encourages sustainably-farmed and cruelty-free fish, free-range eggs, and/or moderate servings of organic meat. Remember to wash veggies thoroughly or if possible go organic. Even better still, grow your own!

Not too much.
Pollan’s least popular piece of advice. However, far from suggesting extreme calorie restriction (or counting), Pollan is simply inviting us to moderate and listen to our body’s needs. Instead of supersizing everything, we should focus on quality over quantity and learn to recognise when we are hungry or full. Our body will guide us to wellbeing if we listen closely enough.

And here are 5 handy tips to get you started:
1. Ask yourself where your food came from and how it was made
2. Make your own meals when possible, or buy them from a reliable source
3. Tune into your cravings – they could be telling you something!
4. Rediscover the pleasure of eating (it’s fun, let’s enjoy it)
5. Eat mindfully. Eating is an experience. There is no need to rush it.

Here's a link to our favourite Pollan book & to one of his many amazing talks.

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