This is rule number 63 in Michael Pollan’s International best-selling book “Food Rules” in which I am totally engrossed at the moment! As I was reading, I realized that I felt so passionately about many of the food rules that I simply had to share some of these wise nuggets with you.
We are not saints and we all have our indulgences and food weaknesses. Food is a huge and pleasurable part of our lives, however sometimes we forget that it's also fuel for our bodies. And as I'm sure you already know, some foods are better than others :)
An old Chinese proverb is a great way to remind us what food to eat: "Eating what stands on one leg is better than eating what stands on two legs, which is better than eating what stands on four legs."
Whilst we strive to have fun in the kitchen at Oscar and Jemima’s, we also feel strongly about health and nutrition, which is why we keep in mind some of these rules. And I believe that they are reflected in our food and recipes through passion and taste. Here are a few rules that we feel strongly about:
Keep it simple and cook - this is the underlying theme.
1. Eat Food.
This may sound like an odd (and somewhat obvious) one, but actually it's one of the most simple yet often ignored rules. People have developed a habit of eating what Michael Pollan calls 'edible food-like substances', which are basically processed prepackaged ready made food. Choosing real food has become one of our societies biggest challenges. The easy way to avoid this is by following his second rule: “don’t eat anything your grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food”.
2. Avoid eating products that contain more the 5 ingredients.
Quite simply, the more ingredients it contains the more processed it is. This does not apply for ingredients in a recipe simply on the back of pre-packaged foods.
3. Its not food if it’s the same word in every language.
Think BigMac, Cheetos or Pringles.
4. Avoid food containing the words low-fat and non-fat.
Many low-fat and non-fat foods replace the fat content with sugar to make up for the taste, which is why (shock, horror!) we have been getting fatter on non-fat and low-fat products.
5. Avoid the middle of the supermarket.
This is typically where canned, frozen, processed and ready-made meals are found. Around the edges of the supermarket, you tend to have meat, fish, vegetables and fruit - all the good, healthy real foods :)
6. Eat food that will eventually rot.
Real food is alive so it will eventually rot, and that's a good thing! The more processed the food the longer the shelf life and the less nutritious it is. It's also likely to have a lot of artificial additives, preservatives and other unpronounceable ingredients.
7. It's not food if it arrived through the window of your car!
I think this one is fairly self-explanatory, but in case you are unsure, avoid the fast-food drive through!!
8. Don’t eat breakfast cereal that changes the colour of the milk.
These foods are full of chemical additives and refined carbohydrates.
9. The whiter the bread the sooner you will be dead.
As far as the body is concerned white flour is not much different to sugar. Recent research confirms that the grandmothers who lived by this rule were right; people who eat wholegrain tend to be healthier and tend to live longer.
10. Eat all the junk food you want so long as you cook it yourself.
We all love a good burger, curry, fish & chips or other take-a-ways from time to time, and there’s nothing wrong with that IF you cook them yourself. By being in charge of preparing and cooking your food, you know exactly what goes into it and can control portion sizes too.
A bonus rule (and my favourite!):
Have a glass of wine with dinner (preferably red) :)