Let’s Eat Real Food

dairy productsI’ve been reading, with great pleasure, Jeffrey Steingarten’s book, The Man Who Ate Everything.

Steingarten has been the food critic at Vogue magazine since 1989. The book provides a fascinating peek into his life, travels and food experiences- and also into his opinions on nutrition.

I love Steingarten’s firm stance, that food should be real. His chapter about the low-fat diet fad is especially entertaining, because he makes fun of some unfortunate low-fat cookbooks that have basically taken the pleasure out of eating and are advocating a very liberal use of processed stuff (butter substitutes, egg substitutes, artificial sweeteners etc.) Inedible! He determines, after trying to make some of the recipes.

I agree. Food should be nutritious, and it should definitely not be bad for us or make us sick (as a diet too-high in sugar and saturated fats might eventually do). But food should also be enjoyable, satisfying, and – above all – it should be real. Many attempts at creating food substitutes that would be “better” than real food have turned out disastrous – one of the examples Steingarten mentions is the fake fat Olestra, which was supposed to provide us with the experience of real fat but without the calories, but turned out to cause digestive problems and -worse – to deplete the body of important nutrients.

So where does that leave us? I believe it leaves us with what we always had – the basic rules we seem unable to escape. Eat real food, in moderation, and emphasize plant-based foods. Eat lots of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, beans and legumes. Add some dairy (milk, cream, yogurt, cheese and sour cream) and eggs, fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids and – sparingly – poultry and lean meats.

Eat these foods until satiated, but not uncomfortably full. Drink plenty of water. Stay away from processed foods and minimize consumption of sweets. And you should do fine!

Of course, this is not as sexy as saying “I found a pill that would enable us all to pig out yet stay slim!” — but so far, each and every time we thought we found the magic cure to our western-world food struggles (abundant food, too little activity), it backfired in a major way.

So back to the basics we go – and let’s start with eating real food.

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Sour Cream Pumpkin Bread

pumpkin bread

Tender and moist, this pumpkin bread is our favorite breakfast these days.

1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
6 TBS (84 grams) unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs

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