A philosophy to cook and eat by

14 Dec

As a general rule, I cook and eat by the following guidelines:

1. Severely limit consumption of artificial “food substitutes,” artificial sweeteners, pre-processed foods and preservatives.

2. Don’t consume an ingredient you haven’t heard of (especially if it has a lab-derived sounding name).

3. Try to limit the amount of ingredients in food to 5-8.

4. Eat all types of food – “good” and “bad” – in moderation.

Of course, when I eat out, I cannot completely control what is in the food I eat. I can choose restaurants based on quality of ingredients, but the real area of my control falls in my own kitchen. I eat out in moderation, thus limiting the amount of “unknowns” introduced to my body. When I cook, I try to make as much as possible from scratch. What I cannot make from scratch, I critically examine for artificial ingredients, or food substitutes that are not actually food. I attempt to consume as little pre-processed food as possible. I buy fresh, seasonal veggies instead of canned, and I make my own stock; I do anything I can to cut down on the amount of preserved foods I ingest.

When I began to follow these guidelines, about a year ago, I lost about 15 pounds without intending to or even exercising. Simply put, I cut out the fluff in my diet – the non-whole-food elements – and allowed my body to simply digest the types of food it is designed to handle. What fell off with those 15 pounds was the type of unhealthy fats that stick around for no good reason; the fats that my body isn’t designed to digest in the first place.

Food, and my intake of it, is one thing I can control. There are several things that will affect my health throughout life that I cannot control; for example, I don’t have the best family history when it comes to heart disease and related ailments, diabetes and thyroid disease. My body will always be prone to handle ingredients, especially unhealthy ones, in ways that are not the best for it. Thus, the best life insurance policy I can invest in is my diet. The better things I put into my body now and for the rest of my life, the better chance my body will have of dealing with everything else that life brings its way. I made that investment before I even knew much about cooking; the knowledge and passion I’ve developed since have led me to where I am today.

For more information on this approach to eating and cooking, see Michael Pollan’s excellent and informative book In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto.


One Response to “A philosophy to cook and eat by”

  1. Lori Ann Watson December 16, 2009 at 11:43 #

    Love the blog, Robin! Thanks for introducing me to Epicurious; now I have a new stack of recipes I can’t wait to try! 🙂

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