I guess you could say that I am on a bit of a quest as far as the health + food thing goes, and I believe I decided, just now, to continue telling you all about my journey. I think a part of me assumes that I am going somewhere with it all, so might as well continue documenting it.
First things first, here’s a list of all the books that I have read on these subjects (linked to GoodReads because I don’t want to advertise for a money-maker site):
And I am currently reading, Real Food: What to Eat and Why.
And this is a list of the documentaries that I have watched (linked to the best site I can think of that isn’t a money-making site):
Fed Up (added 2/17/2013)
I believe that’s all of them, but there may be more. I’ve also read a WHOLE BUNCH of stuff on the interwebs, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to try to recreate THAT list. I’ll do better about linking going forward.
I am not in any way qualified to “review” any of these books or documentaries, but I can tell you that I have learned from all of them. I won’t lie – there is some overlap between these books and documentaries – but each one has contributed to my overall knowledge base and informed some of my decisions.
And while I STILL do not have a specific eating or nutrition plan sussed out for myself, I have plucked out a few bits here and there and have been making some small changes and some decisions.
Here is what I think matters:
Overall nutrition intake. We are malnourished. I am very much malnourished. In my lifetime of 41 years, I have never given nutrition much thought other than as it relates to my weight. And, at best, I would have figured that taking a multivitamin would just about cover it. Except I don’t like them and have been buying various supplements for years and then forgetting to take them.
Organic produce. In a lot of cases, organic matters. There is some produce that bears up well to industrial farming techniques, but a lot of it does not. And as long as I am trying to be healthy, I don’t see how short-cutting it on this point is a good idea. Not all produce has to be organic, which is good, because it’s expensive. And we don’t have money like that, if you know what I mean.
Pastured animals. This matters on a whole bunch of fronts, most of which actually require whole books to explain. The impacts are across environment, economy, and health. And that is without talking about ethics. But for purposes of health, the nutritional differences between pastured and industrial animal products are vast. As far as I can tell, there is no point to eating industrial animal products unless you like eating pesticides, antibiotics, and hormones and want to be fat and sickly.
Thoughtful Choices. This is, by far, the most important part of the equation. Bottom line, according to my take on things, is that the old model of just eating what’s easily available, easy to prepare, and easy to choose because it’s designed to taste good to a broad range of people, does NOT work. If you want to be healthy and prevent disease, you have to put some thought and effort into it. There is no escaping this part. Well, I imagine there IS escape from this, but it would be expensive and boring and possibly gross. Because someone else would have to develop the food plan, prepare the food, and you would have to eat it because you would rather be lazy than figure it out yourself.
Local is important. The logistics of eating food that is not grown or produced locally affects its nutrition. I am not smart or skilled enough to explain why, and frankly, can’t even recall which, exactly, of these documentaries and books taught it to me, but after forced ripening, transportation, detriment to local economies, and everything else that goes into shipping food around, the gist is.. if you can get it locally, you should.
There are other things that matter – things like how food is prepared, combinations of foods, and variety, but as an infant in this quest, I cannot even being to piece it all together. As I said in a previous post, I have to just trust my common sense a little on this one. At least, for now.
I AM a nutjob, though, and I DO have propensities for spreadsheets and checklists and uberplanning, so there may come a day when I graph it all out. If that day comes, I promise to share it. Because my husband isn’t interested, so someone has to be.