Monday, June 22, 2009

Pay More, Eat Less

Michael Pollan in his "In Defense of Food," advises that we should "pay more, eat less" for our food. I couldn't agree more.

As sad as it is to say, real food---fresh fruits and vegetables--are more expensive than processed junk food. 200 calories worth of processed crap out of a box or a bag costs a lot less than 200 calories of cherries or grapes, or 200 calories of raw almonds.

But wait a second??? Aren't you reading this blog because you want to lose weight???? Isn't one of your problems that you are eating too many calories??

I eliminated all processed, manufactured foods from my diet and switched to eating a diet where the bulk of what I ate was fresh fruits and vegetables. But, I don't think my food bills went any higher?

Why? Well, first of all I cut down on the amount of meat, fish and dairy I ate. That was a huge cost saving. Also, because I emphasize eating raw vegetables and fruits with 60-70% of my weekly diet being raw vegan, I simply eat less. I may be paying more for fresh fruits and vegetables but I am eating way fewer calories than I did previously (hence, the 40 pound weight loss that has pretty much stayed off).

And, I follow the pay more, eat less maxim in other ways. If I really want a dessert (which I do on occasion), I don't go for a cheap, large nationwide-distributed snack. I go for the expensive, artisanal, gourmet version which costs a a heck of a lot more. Why? Because I get less for the money, hence fewer calories. I then SLOWLY eat it--savoring each delectable bite. By eating less (and savoring it), I take in fewer calories.

Plus, anything distributed nationwide is bound to have corn syrup or artificial sweeteners in it which you should avoid at all costs. Something made locally, however, is bound to use real sugar (not great but better than corn syrup or artificial sweeteners) and if you're lucky you may find a treat sweetened with honey or maple syrup.

Pollan puts it succinctly:

"To make the overall recommendation to 'pay more, eat less' more palatable, consider that quality itself, besides tending to cost more, may have a direct bearing on the quantity you'll want to eat. The better the food, the less of it you need to eat in order to feel satisfied. All carrots are not created equal, and the best ones--the ones really worth savoring--are simply more satisfying, bite for bite. to borrow Paul Rozin's term, exceptional food offers us more 'food experience'--per bite, per dish, per meal--and as the French have shown, you don't need a lot of food to have a rich food experience.. Choose quality over quantity, food experience over mere calories."

And, lose those extra pounds to boot.

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