Michael Pollan, esteemed author of The Omnivores Dilemma, In Defense of Food, Food Rules, The Botany of Desire, and Cooked, has revolutionized the way many people look at food, from what’s in it to where it comes from and what was done to it before and after it was raised, harvested, hunted, or butchered.
Many people eat food without pondering these points. “Food is one of the most profound ways we engage with the natural world; not just the landscape but the species we share the planet with, “ says Pollan who sees eating as a political, social, and profoundly spiritual experience.
Photo credit: Rachel Albert ©Copyright 2010
An article/interview of Dr. Oz in Time magazine earlier this year generated a lot of reactions among advocates or organic food. Although, I didn’t read the original article I did read some of the reactions to it. Because organic foods costs so much more than non-organic foods, some people view it as a luxury, something available only for the rich and something out of reach for many in the middle and lower income brackets. Michael Pollan has a solution that could make healthy food more affordable to all economic groups.
“We need to democratize healthy food not just organic food, but fresh produce also, which is more expensive then junk food. If you’ve got a dollar to spend in the supermarket and you’re poor, you’re going to end up in the middle aisle buying processed food, because by the calorie, it’s a bargain.
“One of the things we need to do is to change the agricultural policies of the country, so that we’re not subsidizing the least healthy calories in the supermarket, which are high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated soybean oil. This is what our policies make cheap, because we subsidize corn and soy. It also makes feedlot meat cheap because those [corn, soy] are what we feed the animals. We need to find ways to stimulate the consumption of and production of what are called specialty crops. The fact that the Department of Agriculture calls real food a specialty tells you all you need to know; it shouldn’t be a specialty, it should be routine," says Pollan.
Government subsidization of corn and soy make feedlot meat cheap. They also subsidize a food distribution system that leads to enormous waste. Have you ever looked into how much of the fresh meat in cooler cases at supermarkets ends up in the dumpster? In contrast, meat purchased directly from small, local farmers (sold frozen) leads to less waste, less fossil fuel use, and less pollution. When you cut out the middle man, it usually costs less than what you’d pay in stores, whether you are buying 100% grassfed meat or hormone and antibiotic-free meat.
Until government policies change, there are plenty of ways you can get more food for your money. The following tips are excerpted from my award-winning book, The Garden Of Eating, a great book. The book was designed to expand your nutrition knowledge, your recipe repertoire, your efficiency in the kitchen, and your familiarity with cooking wholesome foods that nourished people long before we had factory farms, feedlots, and access to frozen dinners.
Photo credit: Rachel Albert ©Copyright 2010
Money Saving Moves
The Garden of Eating goes into detail about items one through six.
- Start a garden
- Take up foraging or gleaning
- Volunteer for yard duty in your neighborhood (clean a friend’s yard in trade for taking the bounty of extra fruit they would otherwise let fall and go to the birds)
- Frequent local farmers’ markets
- Look for locally grown (pasture-raised) meat and eggs in from local farmers and farmers' markets
- Join a co-op buying club for items you would normally buy in stores
- Watch the local ad flyers in your area for weekly specials on whole foods items at local natural foods markets
The Garden OF Eating - What’s in it for you?
Did you resolve to eat more fresh vegetables and fruits, and less grain, more home cooked meals, and fewer meals out, more grassfed meats, and less factory farmed meat this year? Do you aspire to minimize your use of packaged and processed foods and focus more on whole foods in their natural state?
Do you have a plan for putting these aspirations into practice? Menus are not enough. You need a system that teaches you how to shop, plan, prep, and cook in a new way. Many diet and cooking books overlook or give only short shrift to these essential elements, which is one reason that so many diet resolutions fail within the first month for two.
The Garden of Eating: A Produce-Dominated Diet & Cookbook, a book I created over a seven year period, and published in 2004, will help you turn your best intentions into tangible action steps. The book includes three chapters filled meal and menu planning tips not found in most books. Even if you don’t follow the four sample weeks of menus with prep steps, you’ll gather ideas that make it easier to fit cooking into your busy schedule, allowing you to turn out more food faster, make healthy food taste great, and make dietary changes that can pay off rapidly.
With the information in this book you’ll make it more convenient to eat extraordinarily well on a daily basis, you’ll learn how to organize your kitchen and your prep time for maximum efficiency, and enjoy healthy food more than ever!
It’s an amazing book and there are less than 400 copies left. Once they’re gone, they’re gone. The book will not be reprinted. I’ll be working on two new cookbooks. To order your copy of The Garden of Eating while supply lasts, click here.