Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The #1 thing you can do to be healthier

Not long ago I began subscribing to Eating Well magazine. Its byline of “Where Good Taste Meets Good Health” seemed more in line with my goals and this blog: preparing food that’s not only delicious and full of flavor, but healthy as well. Other cooking magazines I’d subscribed to before were leaving me cold. Either the recipes contained ingredients I don't eat, or are too carb-heavy with too much flour and/or sugar, or there are articles about beauty and exercise included (why these have to be in a cooking magazine, I just don’t understand). I guess my needs were evolving. Time for something different.

The June issue of Eating Well was just delivered to my door, and in it appeared the following excerpt from an interview with Michael Pollan, who is promoting his new book. I thought I’d share it with you because I so very much agree with him.

“Michael Pollan wrote about agriculture in his New York Times bestseller The Omnivore's Dilemma and about nutrition in In Defense of Food. Now, in Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation (Penguin Press, April 2013), he homes in on what he believes is the single-most important step we can take to make our food system healthier and more sustainable.

Why is home cooking so important?
Cooking is key to changing our health and the environment. People who cook for themselves eat healthier diets. You could cook Twinkies, but it’s really hard to do and you’re not likely to do it more than once in a lifetime. You’re not going to reform the way we farm and process food unless you cook. Local food isn’t going to get big if people aren’t cooking. If you let corporations cook for you, they’re going to buy food from the biggest monocultures.

What are the three best tips you picked up writing this book?
Patience, presence and practice. To really be present while you’re cooking and to not be fighting something else you want to do. Don’t rush things. I think we have a tendency to cook too fast, with the burner too high. When you’re sautéing onions, give them a half hour to cook and they’ll get sweeter and more translucent and the dish will be so much more delicious. We’re in this time panic and we feel like everything’s got to happen in 20 minutes.

What about people who only have 20-30 minutes to make dinner on a weeknight?
Well, that same person has an hour for yoga or surfing the Web. We put pressure on the kitchen to save 10 minutes to do something else. I’m just arguing that it’s important—for your health, your family life and your sanity.

What’s one forgotten food?
Frozen vegetables are one of the great overlooked benefits of an industrial food system. They are often picked at their nutritional peak and frozen right away. I think frozen spinach is pretty good (and, by the way, it’s already cleaned).”

I agree completely.

Does cooking your meals take more time than popping some processed thing into the microwave for dinner? Sure. It is worth it? Of course.

I invite you to share this with your microwaving friends.

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