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Food Rules or Keep it Simple

With so much food "advice" out in the media and online, I am finding people getting very confused and frustrated.  How many "Super Foods" do I need to eat?  Was it cabbage or broccoli that is good for fighting cancer?!

I have read and re-read Michael Pollan's Food Rules many times.  It is such an important book with its simple and easy to follow ideas.  I want to share some of the easiest and most important ideas here.  Forget the lastest fad and stick to these simple rules and you will be happy, healthy and well fed.  And best of all, it's not rocket science.

Here are two facts:

1)  Populations who eat a "Western diet" eat a lot of processed food, meat, fat, sugar and refined grains (notice the lack of veggies!).  Consequently these populations suffer from high rates of obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardio vascular disease and cancer.

2)  Populations who eat all sorts of traditional diets, not just one type but all traditional diets, don't suffer from these diseases.

The good news for us is as soon as you move away from eating a Western diet the sooner you will see a dramatic improvement in your health.

So "What should we eat?"  

Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants.

Ahhhh......simple no?

There are 64 simple rules in Pollan's book.  I will cover the most important and simplest to follow in my next few posts.  I'll also post some good-for-you recipes to follow too.

I want to start with what is my favourite rule:

Don't eat anything you great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.

Who told us what to eat before the scientists and government did?  Our grandmothers and mothers did, that's who.  If she wouldn't recognize it, don't buy it.  So simple.

Here is one of my new favourite veggie recipes.  You can also add some soft tofu to this for a little protein boost.  

***The soybean chili paste and black vinegar can be found at Asian supermarkets.

 Szechuan Eggplant

3 Tblsp canola oil
2 small eggplants, cubed
3 roma tomatoes, chopped
2 Tblsp soybean chili paste***
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tblsp fresh ginger, minced
1 Tblsp soy sauce
1 Tblsp sugar
3 tsp black vinegar***
1 tsp sesame oil
4 green onions, chopped
200 ml water
2 tsp cornstarch

In a medium skillet heat the canola oil over moderate heat.  Saute the garlic, ginger and chili paste for 2 minutes.  Add the eggplant and saute for 7 minutes.  Add the sugar, soy sauce and roma tomatoes.   In a small bowl, mix the water, sesame oil and cornstarch and add to the eggplant mixture.  Simmer for 12 minutes.

Stir in the black vinegar and green onions.  Serve over noodles or rice.

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