6 - 2010

Food Rules 31-33: Get Wild!

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 31 through 33.

Rule 31: Eat wild foods when you can.

Pollan offers several strong arguments for eating wild plants, which have “higher levels of various phytochemicals than their domesticated cousins.” He also suggests eating wild animals when you can, because they have dined on those same wild plants.

Looking for a good place to start? If you are weeding your (organic) garden this spring and summer, begin with purslane:

photo by pellaea

You can eat the leaves and stems. Cook them and eat them alone, or simply toss them into a salad and eat them raw. “Wildman” Steve Brill writes:

Purslane is a terrific plant source of heart-friendly omega-3 fatty acids and iron. It is also high in vitamin C; and contains some beta-carotene and calcium.

Rule 32: Don’t overlook the oily little fishes.

Pollan suggests avoiding the big fish at the top of the chain, because they are at severe risk of overfishing. But little fish — anchovies, mackerel, sardines — are well managed. Wild fish oils are great for heart health.

Rule 33: Eat some foods that have been predigested by bacteria or fungi.

OK, this one sounds gross. But plug your nose, close your eyes, and dive in.

The good news is, you might already like some of these foods — sourdough bread, yogurt and sauerkraut among them. Pollan notes that fermented (another word for “predigested by bacteria or fungi”) foods are rich in vitamin B12, and many also contain probiotics that can aid in digestion and disease prevention.

It’s easy to make sauerkraut — we did it this winter, and have eaten most of our jar, though not yet all. If you want information on how to prepare a variety of fermented foods, you can learn everything you need to know at Wild Fermentation or The Nourished Kitchen.

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