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Jan 15, 2014 11:36 AM

Michael Pollan: Eat Anything You Want--Just Cook It Yourself

This cannot be stated often enough. Eat real food. I have gotten into so many long blowhard discussions about the prohibitive cost of organic foods (I disagree) and how people use that as an excuse to buy manufactured edible products instead.

I don't care if it's organic or not, just buy real food, cook real food and eat real food. It is that simple. It will change your life.

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  1. While I appreciate Michael Pollan's take on a lot of things, I fear this is a little oversimplified. Just eating real food that you cook yourself and even grow yourself doesn't guarantee health. Genetics still play a very large part in blood chemistry, body fat, etc. I cook all my own food. I eat at a restaurant maybe once a month. I cook healthy food at home, probably 75% of which is meatless. I have my own garden and raise my own chickens and buy what dairy and meat I do consume from local farmers. Yet I am still obese. Have always been obese. You wouldn't know it to look at me since I am tall, but my weight puts me in the obese category. Michael Pollan says that if you just eat clean healthy food you cook yourself then there is no deprivation needed. Maybe if you have Michael Pollan's metabolism. I don't. This isn't a magic bullet. A good idea, sure. And I'm lucky that my blood chemistry is all where it should be, BP is fine, blood sugar is low. But I'm still fat despite the fact that I do "all the right things".

    47 Replies
    1. re: meresyg

      I relate to this so much.

      In addition to metabolism, there also remains no diet where you can eat "as much as you want" where you never have to think about portion control/counting calories or some variation there of. I need to lose weight - buyt it's not a lack of knowledge for me. My mother is a dietician working specifically with obesity. I work really hard to cook most of my food, eat out minimally, and exercise 4-6 days a week. Not only do I avoid buying junk, but I also try to keep snacks at an extreme minimum. And this has been my lifestyle for years.

      I'm sure that part of my metabolism/genetics/biochemistry isn't helping me out. My BP is good, blood sugar good, cholesterol excellent. I don't have a thyroid problem. And I also don't weigh what I want. I know I'm prone to nibbling and that I don't get full in a way I'd like - but all of the food I keep around me is healthy.

      To lose weight, at some point I still need to do a mix of counting calories, limiting portion sizes, and/or doing considerable food elimination (i.e. no dairy). Period.

      Now compared to someone overweight who has high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and a risk of heart disease - I'm doing amazing. But it's not a magic bullet for weight.

      1. re: cresyd

        Me too. Heck, I gained weight when I started eating real, homemade food! I'm not obese and don't suffer from any serious illnesses. I eat well and knowing how good that is for me is very satisfying.

        1. re: cresyd

          Actually, there is a diet where you can eat as much as you want where you never have to think about portion control. You eat protein and natural fats and low-carb vegetables and no-cal beverages. Nothing else. I did this for 16 months and lost 120 lbs. PS All my numbers improved: BP, lipids, A1c. For details, pick up a copy of "Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution".

          1. re: mwhitmore

            I did mention doing "considerable food elimination", which that diet would qualify as.

            1. re: cresyd

              All weight reduction requires "considerable food elimination." Some foods promote obesity more than others, and some promote health more than others with or without weight loss.

              Buyer's choice.

              1. re: mcf

                What I was trying to say - probably unclearly - is that on some level all weight loss requires portion control/calorie counting. It's just how it's done.

                Now this can be done strictly through portion control (aka serving size) or choosing to eliminate an extensive food category (aka carbohydrates). Some may prefer a more severe Atkins style of food group elimination, others prefer strict calorie counting but leaving all foods "in play". And others enjoy a mix of that (i.e. reducing overall food consumed and cutting out something like gluten, dairy, refined sugar, etc.).

                And yes. Buyer's choice.

                1. re: cresyd

                  If I remove 90% of dairy and bread from my diet I will lose weight very quickly without changing anything else or exercising but I won't feel good. So, two decades ago I changed the portions and in some cases the type of dairy. If I go off on a cheese binge I must workout more or my #'s change.

                  Cutting back on sugar was the easiest part and I saw a big change in the texture and condition of my skin; head to toe. That was a big reward.

                  1. re: cresyd

                    It does not always require calorie counting, since different macronutrients effect different hormonal changes. For some folks it will, especially for the last 10lbs, though. More than one study has demonstrated 2x the weight loss on 50% more calories for low carb vs. low fat, high carb dieters.

                    And no one eliminates "an extensive food category" in any diet I know of. I eat super low carb, but my plate is covered with healthy carbs.

                    1. re: mcf

                      I think we're going to agree to disagree on some of these points.

                      But I would say that cutting out (for non allergy reasons) gluten, dairy, meat, or any similar kind of elimination could qualify as an "extensive food category". Not to mention the Atkins diet of cutting out the vast majority of carbohydrates. Whether or not they're diets that have been studied in full in regards to weight loss, they all appear in various diet ideology.

                        1. re: cresyd

                          Even the strictest phase of Atkins includes more veggies than most folks eat daily. A link, if you're interested, to add to those I offered HillJ:

                        2. re: mcf

                          Obviously you have taken the time to research the glycemic index of vegetables...berries etc. and know how to properly follow a low carb diet. If a person knows what they are doing on a low carb diet they will eat very well. So many of us have been brainwashed to believe that processed foods like breads...cereals...sweets etc. are actual food groups. All of us can live without them in our diet.

                          1. re: MamasCooking

                            According the article I cited in

                            bread used to be a major component in the American diet.

                            "From the 1860s to the 1960s, Americans across class, gender, and, to a certain extent, racial lines got more of their daily calories from bread than any other single food: 25 percent to 30 percent, on average, and higher during times of war and recession."

                            Earlier, in the middle ages, dependence on grains was even higher, whether eaten as bread (bought from the baker), cakes (e.g. oat cakes), porridge or ale. Except the wealthy could indulge in meat.

                            1. re: paulj

                              Your point is? Human beings can subsist and thrive without highly processed bread in their diets. It is a food preference for many to consume highly processed breads....cereals and sweets.

                            2. re: MamasCooking

                              I eat berries very rarely. I pretty much eschew fruits. I find glycemic index to be completely irrelevent and non predictive of my own blood glucose results, as do most folks testing bg post meal. Results are all over the map.

                              1. re: MamasCooking

                                What about whole grain-not just wheat either- breads and grains? Those have nutritional value, certainly.

                                1. re: Hoppy12345

                                  Per calorie, they are nutrient impoverished compared to vegetables. Also, if it's not a berry or kernel, but is ground or broken, it's no longer a "whole grain" which passes through your body mostly undigested, probably the reason for any benefits.

                    2. re: cresyd

                      I love what you just said. I have two coworkers that exercise a lot on campus. They climb the parking garage stairs and keep up with one another. One is thin and muscular, the other is on the heavy side of normal, but i'd absolutely love to be in the shape she's in. She works really hard with a buddy and so what if she's wider than the other one?
                      I have no idea what either of their diets are, but even if they ate nothing but lard sandwiches and cake they'd still be in better physical shape than most people. And I doubt that's wht they eat, BTW.

                    3. re: meresyg

                      I don't think that's what Pollan is advocating. Genetics and age play a huge role, of course. His point is to eat simple, real foods, stay away from processed foods and be moderate. It's not a 100% guarantee you will turn into George Clooney, but chances are you will be in better overall health and not develop morbidity diseases like heart disease and diabetes.

                      1. re: sandiasingh

                        The short that you linked to, at the end of it, he says "eat whatever you want, just cook it yourself." Seems to me that is part of what he is advocating. And the text underneath the short also says "no need for fad diets or deprivation." Again, he is oversimplifying this. I do agree with his basic premise. It is healthful to eat whole foods that you make yourself. But he should back off of the idea that excess weight, obesity, and associated health issues will go away if we just cook at home.

                        1. re: meresyg

                          His point being if you have to make your own french fries or cupcakes, you won't eat as much of those. Totally agree.

                          I don't hear anywhere in this short where he guarantees weight loss. He talks about health, not weight loss. Of course they are related, but don't always go in lock-step.

                          1. re: sandiasingh

                            ha! if you have to CLEAN UP after french fries, you wont' make as many of them!

                            1. re: sandiasingh

                              I find that for some people even the good stuff is avoided because of the work involved. When I buy a whole fish it takes time to filet it. Not a difficult task but some folks will avoid the good stuff because of the prep time. My BIL won't buy a whole pineapple because it's too much work to cut it down, WHAT?! My baking pals don't break open their own nuts because of the mess.

                              So, even when you make the effort to buy smart, make foods yourself-you have to embrace the time and effort.

                              1. re: HillJ

                                Buying whole items, like fish, pineapple or nuts, as opposed to cut up forms, has nothing to do with eating healthier. It's just a trade off between cost and effort. It's addition of things like sugar (in canned pineapple) or salt (salted nuts) that make a difference in the healthfulness of prepared foods.

                                1. re: paulj

                                  You missed my point. If Mr Pollan is suggesting that we eat fresh, whole food then the foods you are using as comparison would not be on his list. A fresh pineapple vs cubed pineapple in syrup? So on this I believe we disagree.

                                  Cutting a fresh whole pineapple (healthy) takes some effort and time vs. opening a can (not as healthy).

                                  My point paulj, was that even making healthier choices (fresh vs canned) require making an effort. Pollan used the homemade french fry example (takes effort, you'll eat less of it). I used a pineapple example (takes time but it's healthier).

                              2. re: sandiasingh

                                He's wrong about health and weight loss, though.

                                1. re: mcf

                                  mcf, I'm curious because of your consistent attention to health, medical views and weight loss on so many threads; who you would point to for advice and science in this particular discussion.

                                    1. re: jpc8015

                                      That's not what I was asking. I was focused on writers and folks researching these large and complex topics for the public.

                                      I would hope your own doctor would be a part of self-awareness but even my doctor reads Michael Pollan and others.

                                      So, for someone like mcf that is well read, I'd be interested to learn what researchers and writers they follow.

                                      1. re: HillJ

                                        I want to clarify; I don't follow anyone without doing my own independent research of the peer reviewed literature. I arrived at my diet via PubMed, then read authors and vetted their worth through the filter of my own obsessive combing of all I could find.

                                      2. re: jpc8015

                                        Right, the person with no nutrition education.

                                      3. re: HillJ

                                        MIchael Eades, M.D., Gary Taubes, and nutrition researchers Mary Gannon, Frank Nuttal. Eades' Protein Power blog is great for lay explanation and detailed analysis of nutrtition/diet research and other topics.

                                        Protein Power was the only diet book I ever read that was accurate compared with the peer reviewed science and offered its bibliography.

                                        1. re: mcf

                                          Thanks mcf, I appreciate the reply and the referenced information.

                                          1. re: HillJ

                                            Here's another link for you to follow, if you choose:

                                    2. re: sandiasingh

                                      Because all fat people make and eat French fries and cupcakes.

                                      1. re: meresyg

                                        Is that the take away message you're getting? See, I'm only hearing that Pollan recommends we all be more self aware and healthful in our choices in order to maintain a healthful life.

                                        I don't think he's singling out as much as doing the math.
                                        If you live on a diet of high fat food your health can change. Not rocket science is it?

                                        1. re: HillJ

                                          If you don't get enough fat you die. And there are no health risks of having a lot of it that have not been debunked, and were never legitimate to begin with.



                                          1. re: mcf

                                            If I ate a diet rich in fat derived from cupcakes, greasy food and the like, the results from my medical check ups would change. I'm not sure that I need to remove good fats from my diet (which I don't) but I would not entertain the idea that bad fats (my own list let's call it) would benefit me.

                                            If YMV's I applaud you.

                                            1. re: HillJ

                                              The only bad fats don't come from real, wholesome foods. They don't come from properly raised critters.

                                            2. re: mcf

                                              Please, please please read what you LINK!
                                              "people without high risk of heart attack".
                                              That's IMPORTANT.
                                              I don't know whether Metabolic Syndrome counts as high risk, or what criteria they're using...

                                              But a lot of things can be bad for a segment of the population.

                                              Giving advice without qualifiers is poor form.

                                              1. re: Chowrin

                                                The best diet for those with metabolic syndrome which is what leads to CVD is reduced carb. It also controls diabetes without meds in most. I DO read what I post, and enough other literature constantly to know what I'm saying.

                                                Numerous studies have found no CVD benefit from low fat diets, only elevated triglycerides, and low HDL caused by such diets, and the most predictive of CVD.

                                            3. re: HillJ

                                              Did you watch the short? Calories don't matter as much long as it is cooked by a human being. And, you won't be making French fries and cupcakes often if you do your own cooking, so you won't be fat. Both of those statements are in the short.

                                              Yes......high fat diets can change your health for the worse. No, not rocket science. BUT, you can still be overweight and eat super, super healthy. You can not eat baked goods, candy, soda, fast food, restaurant food and make all your food at home, and still be overweight. He is oversimplifying because he eats that way and he isn't fat and is extrapolating that to everyone else.

                                              1. re: meresyg

                                                I did watch the short video. I haven't addressed calories in any of my remarks actually. I don't count calories. I only get weighed at the doctors office. I eat smart, I make much of what I eat from scratch, I also indulge and workout regularly.

                                                As I have said, Mr Pollan is one (and not new) point of view. Plenty of researchers are guilty of over and under stating plenty of information. Which is why it's not rocket science (imvho) unless you want it to be.

                                                I don't disagree that super thin people can be riddled with health problems or that being overweight automatically means you're at death's door. What I believe is that we take information for what it's worth and make the best decisions we can to benefit by optimal health.

                                    3. re: meresyg

                                      Very well said. I grew up eating like that in the late 50's and 60's and I still eat a very healthy diet. But guess what a few years ago when I was in my early 50's and weighed 145 lbs. ( I am 5'9" female) I developed hypertension that requires a handful of medications to manage. Diet had nothing to do it.

                                      1. re: meresyg

                                        Honestly, what Pollan and his Bittman clone understand about metabolism and nutrition would not crowd the head of a pin.

                                        Food production, quality, yes. Diet, they are zeros.

                                        1. re: paulj

                                          Haha! No, I believe the words "real" and "food" were around before "Real Food."

                                        2. Organic foods ARE cost prohibitive for many people. I am on a pretty strict budget ($50/week for 1.5 people... my other half travels during the week), and do well on a higher protein diet with little processed foods. I don't like "low cost" protein foods like beans and eggs, although I wish I did. So, I eat meat. I have one store that's within reasonable distance from my house (4 miles), so I do the majority of my shopping at that one store. I can get non-organic boneless skinless chicken breasts on sale for 1.99/lb. The organic variety is 5.99/lb on sale. Bone-in skin on chicken thighs are 99 cents/lb on sale. Organic is around $3.99/lb. I can get a broccoli crown for 99 cents a pound on sale. The organic variety is at least double that per pound, and my store also sells them with much longer stalks than the non-organic variety, so I end up paying more that way too.

                                          These amounts might not sound like a lot, but when you're on a very strict budget like I am, it really adds up. Now, I don't eat a lot of processed food and buy organic when I can, but I'm tired of people insisting that eating all organic is not that expensive. It is.

                                          Also, just because you aren't eating organic, doesn't mean you're eating manufactured food, so saying it's either one or the other is pretty extreme.

                                          Lastly, I know plenty of people who cook all their meals at home... but still eat pretty unhealthfully, and are unhealthy themselves. So "cook it yourself" is not the solution.

                                          15 Replies
                                          1. re: juliejulez

                                            I'm on a budget of about $100 per month. cooking for two adults

                                            1. re: Chowrin

                                              Are you able to buy all organic everything?

                                              1. re: juliejulez

                                                Heck no. I don't even try. Just shop at costco.

                                            2. re: juliejulez

                                              I'm a meat eater too, but if that's your go-to then you will have some difficulty on a tight budget. I don't believe I insisted that organic is not that expensive. It is more expensive, but when and if food is a really high priority in your life, I think it becomes trade-off time. Did for me anyway.

                                              I think the "cook it yourself" concept indicates people are willing to stop and think about what they are eating. Of course not everyone will make good choices still, but for many people it is a good solution. It can be life changing.

                                              1. re: sandiasingh

                                                Well when the trade-offs become "pay a bill that's due" or "buy the organic chicken"... sorry but I have to choose the bill that's due. To tell me it's just about trade-offs is kind of BS and shows a lack of awareness of how it is for a lot of people. That's what it comes down to for me, and many many other people. I (and many other people who have suffered during this economic downturn) have already cut as many corners as possible... so it's not even really an option to cut out anything else. And honestly, if I end up with extra money, I'll probably do something like get a haircut (haven't had one in a year), or put it in savings... not spend it on overpriced food.

                                                1. re: juliejulez

                                                  Why do you think I don't understand that? I am fully aware of "how it is for a lot of people."

                                                  1. re: sandiasingh

                                                    So why tell me "it's just about trade-offs"? What trade-offs do you suggest? Because to me, I read it as not buying/doing something else in order to be able to afford organic foods. When there's nothing to stop buying or doing, then that doesn't really work.

                                                    1. re: juliejulez

                                                      Julie...just keep in mind that the whole organic.....local foods movement is the result of mass marketing. The producers are business people whose goal is not to optimize our health status but to make lots of money.
                                                      I know you are from California like me so here is an example. A friend told me about Strauss Family Dairy products (Tomales Bay west of my hometown of Petaluma). All grass fed organic from cows in Marin and Sonoma Counties. The only store that carries it here is Raley's so I rush there to get my old fashioned milk in a glass bottle ...a glass bottle Julie!!
                                                      It was almost $7.00 for one half of a gallon. And tastes no different from any other whole milk. Yeah so now I buy milk on sale and pour it into my sterilized glass Strauss milk bottle. Works for me:)

                                                      1. re: MamasCooking

                                                        Oh totally it's a trendy thing right now. I try to buy local when I can, I live in a ruralish area here in CO so there's some decent things to buy in summer from the farm markets, and even from my grocery store who uses local suppliers if possible (nothing like what I could get in central CA though!). But most of it still isn't organic. I figure I'd rather buy the stuff I can see growing as I drive around, than worry about whether or not it's organic. But come winter... it's not local food and it's definitely not organic for the most part... just not an option around here.

                                                        And yeah, we had a dairy leave a flier on our door the other day... they do home delivery and the prices were similar to what you mention. I already have to buy lactose-free milk for the SO at $4 for a half gallon... not about to start paying more than that! It was also funny cause they also deliver cheese.... Tillamook cheese, so nowhere near being local. Pretty sure I can buy that at the grocery store.

                                                        1. re: juliejulez

                                                          Actually, it was Michael Pollan (in a NY Times magazine interview) himself who said that fresh and local was preferable to organic, assuming that the organic stuff was less local.

                                                          1. re: EricMM

                                                            I agree with this. I can get great produce at the local farmers market. It is not certified organic although the farmer may use mostly organic practices.

                                                            On the other hand, I can go to a Whole Foods and Oreo equivalent organic cookies.

                                                            1. re: jpc8015

                                                              I get my Newman's O's at Grocery Outlet. That way I can be frugal and organically righteous at the same time. :)

                                                              1. re: paulj

                                                                Be careful. If you keep doing that you will have a smug cloud following you around after not too long.

                                                2. re: sandiasingh

                                                  People can eat well and maintain optimal health status even while consuming non organic foods. The issue is eating a well balanced diet that will yield the nutrients needed. I am also skeptical of the consumption of organic foods being *life changing*. I am asking you as an R.N. and a Chowhound to define exactly what you are alluding to when you say *life changing*. I also think that most adults are quite capable of selecting foods based on their own abilities etc.I also think it is pompous for someone to imply otherwise as you have done here.

                                              2. I don't find "real" to be a helpful descriptive term for food.

                                                15 Replies
                                                1. re: GH1618

                                                  In today's discussions on food issues, "real" means not processed. Fresh or raw, not in a package. A head of lettuce, not a bag of lettuce. A raw potato, not potatoes in a box or frozen container.

                                                  What does it mean to you?

                                                  1. re: sandiasingh

                                                    Not on my end of the discussion, it doesn't. Everything you do to your food is a process. If you cook at home, you are processing your food.

                                                    Euphemisms such as "real" and "processed" are no substitute for saying precisely what is being done to the food and why that is either good, bad, or indifferent.

                                                    1. re: GH1618

                                                      I think this is really helpful. If you tell me that a head of lettuce is better than a bag of lettuce - it helps if you tell me why. Is it the bagging process that's the problem? Or is there some benefit to the leaves when they're attached? Those are different considerations. Is an organic orange (aka a food with an uneaten peel) the same in its benefits to the human body (as opposed to the environment) versus an organic tomato (eaten peel)?

                                                      By oversimplifying terms like real and processed it doesn't enable people to make smart choices about what they can achieve and what choices make sense for their lives/health.

                                                      1. re: cresyd

                                                        Yes, it is the bagging process, the moisture that collects inside the plastic and the formation of e. coli. There are hundreds of news articles about it if you google it. That's after it's been torn apart and sent down a conveyor belt to be packaged. The rawest or most basic form of food is the most nutritious. I am not a raw advocate, but anything you do to a food including boiling, sautéing, freezing, etc. will diminish the nutrient value, but that's what we do as humans.

                                                        Large "organic" farms are barely that anymore. They are still factory farms and can be certified USDA organic and still use some forms of chemicals. The best source, of course, is local and organic, but if you can't buy organic (which is at least under some scrutiny compared to a box of mac and cheese), buy local. The fresher the food the more nutritious.

                                                        I'm not sure I understand your question about the orange and the tomato, but I prefer to keep my pesticide, herbicide and fungicide exposure to a minimum with or without a peel.

                                                        1. re: sandiasingh

                                                          My point of the tomato/orange question is in regards to the edible part of the plant being directly exposed to chemicals or not. I don't eat orange rind, I will eat tomato peel - therefore if I can only buy one organic item is it worth it to pick the organic tomato over the orange? Or if there's no difference, then I just pick the one that's relatively cheaper? Or is the message to those on a budget to drastically cut what they're "entitled" to eat.

                                                          My questions weren't so much about specific food questions - but rather that just using terms real/processed may not necessarily mean much to someone not in the know. Or if someone is like "I can't buy everything organic, therefore I won't bother with anything organic" - there is room to argue for the value in say organic X but not leaving aside organic A, B, and C until that person is in a softer financial position.

                                                          Slogans like "real food" are nice, but not necessarily meaningful on their own.

                                                          1. re: cresyd

                                                            Yes, pick the organic tomato over the orange. An orange rind is very thick and since you don't eat it, you would not be ingesting chemicals directly although they may migrate to the interior. We tend to eat more tomatoes than oranges at a given time (such as in tomato sauce), so I would definitely go with the tomato.

                                                            I have very strong feelings about what some people feel other people are "entitled" to eat and have gone to battle with my local food pantry who is of the persuasion that people in need will eat any old swill, just toss them a bag of cheetos and they'll be happy.

                                                            If someone doesn't understand the difference between what is generally known as "processed food" and "real food," then explain it to them. People need to be educated and it doesn't take a lot. I try to educate and inform and then I let it go. My friends and family know where I stand and I don't bug them about it.

                                                            For people who want to improve their food purchases and have to make tough choices, tell them about the "dirty dozen" and how avoiding certain chemically-laden foods would be a step in the right direction.


                                                            I'm not using the words "real" and "food" as a slogan. I'm open to suggestions on how to say that a food is not processed.

                                                          2. re: sandiasingh

                                                            Actually, E. coli gets into produce due to cross contamination from humans and other animals. You are more likely to get it from fresh spinach than horrible frozen stuff.

                                                            1. re: Kalivs

                                                              Yes, I agree. I don't know if it can survive freezing. I believe e.coli can occur in water they use to wash the vegetables, liquid fertilizers, etc. The bacteria inside the plastic bags is probably something else. I've read so many press releases about e.coli in bagged greens that I cannot eat a salad in a restaurant anymore. Besides the fact that it tastes like crap.

                                                              1. re: sandiasingh

                                                                Years ago I lived in a South American country. Nearly all of our produce came from small nearby farms (except the tropical fruits were trucked in). There wasn't any organic certification program, but since production methods were pretty traditional, I'm sure the use of synthetic pesticides was small, and the fertilizer is organic. But we almost never ate raw salads. The few things we ate raw had to be peeled, or washed in an iodine solution. The fear was that the fertilizer was 'too' organic.

                                                                With that perspective, I'm amused by the worries about the safety of prewashed greens in the USA.

                                                              2. re: Kalivs

                                                                Yes, but after the outbreak several years ago, the spinach growers improved their process for checking for preventing contamination. Fresh California spinach should now be as safe as any fresh vegetable.

                                                                1. re: sandiasingh

                                                                  "The rawest or most basic form of food is the most nutritious. I am not a raw advocate, but anything you do to a food including boiling, sautéing, freezing, etc. will diminish the nutrient value, but that's what we do as humans."

                                                                  This is actually untrue for any number of foods. Tomatoes become *more* nutritious after being cooked, and many nutrients in foods only become available after the cooking process.

                                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                                    If you don't process the heck out of carrots, you get 10% of the bioavailable vitamin A.
                                                                    Grind 'em or cook 'em.

                                                              3. re: GH1618

                                                                My wife does a ton of canning during the summer. When she drops those cans in the boiling water, that is described as processing the cans.

                                                              4. re: sandiasingh

                                                                <A head of lettuce, not a bag of lettuce.>

                                                                So if I pick up a head of lettuce at the grocery store and put it in a bag, it goes from real to fake?

                                                            2. It's what I do every day.