In Defense of Food

Journalist and activist Michael Pollan created a documentary on Netflix called “In Defense of Food” that was based on his New York Times Non-Fiction Best Seller book called “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto”. I just recently watched the documentary and I highly recommend it for those who want to eat and stay healthy. Here are my key takeaways on healthy eating from his documentary.

GUIDELINES

In One Sentence: Eat food, not too much and mostly plants.

  1. Eat mostly plants. Meat is healthy just don’t eat a lot.
  2. Eat foods that will eventually rot
  3. Eat only food that has been cooked by humans
  4. Avoid foods you see advertised on TV
  5. Treat meat as a flavoring or a special occasion food
  6. If it came from a plant, eat it
  7. If it was made in a plant, do not eat it
  8. Eat your colors – eat as many kinds of plants as possible
  9. Use smaller plates and glasses
  10. Serve the vegetables first
  11. Make water your choice of beverage
  12. Stop eating before you are full
  13. Eat like the French – Try to spend as much time eating as it took cooking it – Eat smaller portions and slowly
  14. Do not eat what your grandmother would not consider being food
  15. Break the rules once in a while

FATS

GOOD FATS:

Omega-3 and Omega-6

Eating green leafy plants are better than just eating their seeds in terms of Omega-3, which is a fat that is essential for brain growth, hearth, and immune system. Fish is an essential source of Omega-3.

Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats share the same limited space reserved for fats in our body. Eating too much Omega-6 is not good because Omega-6s will fill up the limited space and your body will not have any remaining space for Omega-3s, even if you eat food that has Omega-3.

BAD FATS:

Trans fat

Do not eat Margarin because it has polyunsaturated fat which is turned into trans fat in our body. Trans fat increases the chances of hearth diseases and it is unhealthier than saturated fats.

Saturated Fats

Saturated fat is present in animal and dairy products such as red meat milk, butter and cheese increases the possibility of heart disease.

Saturated fats produce cholesterol in the body which thus blocks the veins.

SUGAR

We consume %1000 more sugar than 200 years ago

Fructose is bad for your liver and leads to heart diseases. It also gives the sweetened taste of sugar.

Potatoes, bread, rice break down to Glucose (type of sugar) and your pancreas senses the rise in sugar and it produces insulin to reduce sugar to normal levels.

Too much insulin release is not good though. It will cause type 2 diabetes which mostly affects low-income groups and minorities since bad and cheaper food is marketed mostly where those groups live.

FIBERS

Eating Fibers is good for you because it improves constipation and provides food for the bacterias in the intestines. These bacterias produce butyrate which makes your intestines healthy and reduces the possibility of colon cancer.

If you do not eat enough fiber other bacterias will take the place of the good bacterias that produce butyrate. This will lead to a higher probability of colon cancer.

INTERESTING FACTS AND TERMS

  • %60 of what we put on our plate is the first 3 things we see at a buffet so start filling your plate with fruits and vegetables.
  • Through building Hydroponic gardens we can grow fresh organic food inside the buildings.
  • Eating a lot of red meat increases the probability of cardiovascular problems, so reduce the amount and frequency of red meat intake. (Cardiovascular problems are mostly caused by a compound called TMAO which is produced by the bacterias in our intestines when we provide the bacterias with carnite which is found in red meat )
  • Every additional serving of fruit and vegetables daily reduces: Strokes by %5, Hearth diseases by %4
  • If Americans eat 1 more portion of fruit/vegetables to the existing 2-3 portions/day, 30K people would be saved a year and $5B would be reduced in healthcare costs.
  • Nutritionism is the misuse of invisible nutrients to portray a product as healthy when it is not. For example, soda companies say that they added vitamin C to their soda to make it healthy. When people see that the soda has vitamin C, a healthy nutrient, they automatically think it is good for them; however, soda has too much sugar that should not be neglected and it is known that too much sugar type-2 diabetes.

SOURCES

Link to the documentary
Image source