20 - 2010

Food Rules 25-27 – Old Wives Tales And Grass-Fed Animal Products

** Editor’s note: Auto-publish strikes again! This was supposed to go up on March 30, so let’s back track for a moment … **

This is my ongoing,11-week series about Michael Pollan’s book, Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual.

Part II is called, “What Kind of Food Should I Eat? (Mostly plants.).” This installment covers rules 25 through 27.

Rule 25: Eat your colors

This is the same advice given on the blood pressure machine at my grocery store! And why do I know this? Probably because I don’t do a good enough job following this advice. Well, that and my genes.

Basically, the colors in vegetables “reflect the different antioxidant phytochemicals they contain,” writes Pollan. Antioxidants appear to help our bodies fight off various diseases — so eat many colors of veggies.

Rule 26: Drink the spinach water

Some people recommend watering plants with the liquid in which you cook vegetables, because nutrients leach into the water from the veggies. But you can also use this water to nourish yourself. Pollan recommends saving the liquid for soup (pop it in the freezer with leftover vegetables) or adding it to sauces. If you are brave, you could use it in smoothies, too.

Not to be confused with “eat the yellow snow,” which you should not do under any circumstances.

Rule 27: Eat animals that have themselves eaten well

Whoa! We move from those two little ones to a biggie!

Pollan points out that in industrial agricultural production, animals eat grain so that they grow fast — even if they naturally are ruminants, or animals that would graze on grass. But grass-fed animals are healthier, and so are their meat and eggs. One huge reason is that these meats (and eggs from chickens that eat omega-3-rich vegetation, such as purslane) are richer in omega-3 fatty acids. These are the compounds we get from popping dozens of fish oil capsules, because they apparently benefit blood pressure, brain function, mood, joint condition and more — and they help keep blood levels of omega-6 fatty acids, which are good but can cause “sticky blood” that makes clotting more likely.

Bottom line: Grass-fed meats and eggs are not only chic, they are really, truly better for you, so choose them when you can. And they’re more humane, too.

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