Journalist Michael Pollan recently published an interesting book called “In Defense of Food.” In it he argues we could maximize health by only eating food our ancestors would recognize. He advises us to focus on eating real food – mostly plants – and not too much of it. Pollan opposes processed food and corporate farming and says much of what we're eating now isn't even food, but "food like substances" … or "imitations of real food."
Here are his seven rules for better health:
1) Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.
2) Don't eat anything with more than 5 ingredients listed, or with ingredients you can't pronounce.
3) Don't shop in the middle aisles of a supermarket. That's where most processed foods are displayed. Instead, buy along the sides where real food like eggs, milk and fresh vegetables tend to be.
4) Don't eat anything that won't rot -- like Twinkies.
5) Leave the table when you're about 80% full.
6) Don't buy food where you pump gasoline.
7) Eat meals with people you love.
His book certainly makes you think about what you're putting in your body. While I haven't gone the organic route just yet – because I like the convenience and variety of a supermarket – over the years, I've cut down on junk food and have gone back to eating fresh food with few ingredients. I also buy an assortment of fruits and vegetables and salad. Sometimes I'll even bake a loaf of whole grain bread.
Here is my recipe:
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3 1/2 cups rye flour
2 1/4 cups buttermilk [Eyeball the amount as you work the dough.]
4 tablespoons brown sugar, or honey
1/4 cup of caraway seeds
1/8 cup flax seeds [Eyeball the amount.]
2 packages dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 eggs [The eggs are optional, but I use them to add protein.]
Extra whole wheat flour to sprinkle while kneading
Make sure the wet ingredients are lukewarm. Mix everything in a bowl until the batter is firm. Kneed until the dough is easy to handle. Place the dough in an oiled bowel. Cover and let rise in a warm place until the dough doubles [about an hour]. On a cutting board kneed again and shape into a loaf. Oil a large loaf pan and press your dough into it. Allow the dough to stand again in a warm area until it doubles. [Extra tip: For the best tasting bread you'll ever make, bake it in a cast iron dutch oven with a lid, instead of a loaf pan. You can add a cup of raisins also.] Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and bake for 25-30 minutes until done. Remove bread from the pan while it is warm. Slice and enjoy!