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

sandiasingh Jan 15, 2014 11:36 AM

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.


  1. j
    jpc8015 Jan 22, 2014 12:09 PM


    3 Replies
    1. re: jpc8015
      HillJ Jan 22, 2014 02:35 PM

      I adore bloggers who select a living subject as a pin cushion. Not.

      1. re: jpc8015
        paulj Jan 22, 2014 02:45 PM

        A more recent blog by the same author, a review of 'Cooked'

        1. re: paulj
          jpc8015 Jan 22, 2014 03:23 PM

          Great read.

      2. p
        pedalfaster Jan 21, 2014 03:39 PM

        "Eat Anything You Want--Just Cook It Yourself"

        I would just add raise, grow and kill it yourself.
        I think we humans are too far removed from our food sources.

        20 Replies
        1. re: pedalfaster
          paulj Jan 21, 2014 04:01 PM

          Unless you are raising bugs in the bathtub, that is easier done if you are wealthy enough to own property - preferably property beyond the reach of suburban zoning laws.

          1. re: pedalfaster
            small h Jan 21, 2014 04:20 PM

            I seek your advice about turning part of my apartment into a rice paddy. I'm most interested in ensuring that my crop gets the proper amount of light, since I'm on the 5th floor of a 21-story building (I do have east-facing windows). Also, how can I best protect my downstairs neighbors? They're nice people, but they probably won't take kindly to flooding. Thanks in advance.

            1. re: small h
              cookie monster Jan 21, 2014 05:09 PM

              Do you have a bathtub? That would probably work. Of course then you'd have to find some place else to keep the chickens you've been raising.

              1. re: cookie monster
                paulj Jan 21, 2014 05:50 PM

                How about guinea pigs on the balcony?

                1. re: cookie monster
                  small h Jan 21, 2014 05:54 PM

                  I was planning on putting the chicken coop in the coat closet, and using the bathtub for aquaculture. But I'm open to suggestions.

                  1. re: small h
                    paulj Jan 21, 2014 06:23 PM

                    But those chickens won't be free range ...

                    1. re: paulj
                      small h Jan 21, 2014 06:26 PM

                      Alright, alright. They get run of the hallway. Anyone know how to litterbox train a chicken? Are they cool with sharing said litterbox with my cat?

                      1. re: small h
                        ratgirlagogo Jan 21, 2014 06:31 PM

                        Come ON. What about your beehives??!!

                        1. re: ratgirlagogo
                          small h Jan 21, 2014 06:41 PM

                          Crap. Looks like I need to move the sheets & towels into the oven, which is really going to complicate my plans for growing mushrooms.

                          1. re: small h
                            cookie monster Jan 21, 2014 07:36 PM

                            Can't you grow the mushrooms in the dishwasher? Seems like the perfect dark, moist environment.

                            1. re: cookie monster
                              small h Jan 22, 2014 07:50 AM

                              Unfortunately, that's where I've installed my mini-methane processing plant. I really wanted to do my own drilling, but the permit process was unbelievably arduous. So I settled for just getting the unrefined stuff from a local supplier and finishing it in-house. Because I believe we should get closer to the source of all the things we consume. Why stop at food? Where do you think the gas in your stove comes from? The fuel fairy?

                              1. re: small h
                                jpc8015 Jan 22, 2014 08:01 AM

                                Where will I get my salt?

                                1. re: jpc8015
                                  paulj Jan 22, 2014 08:35 AM

                                  Copy Lewis & Clark - camp on the Oregon coast all winter, and boil lots of sea water.

                                  1. re: jpc8015
                                    small h Jan 22, 2014 08:48 AM

                                    Cry into your food.

                          2. re: small h
                            Kontxesi Jan 22, 2014 08:39 AM

                            I would be concerned about them taking over the box and not allowing the cat near it.

                            1. re: Kontxesi
                              viperlush Jan 22, 2014 09:05 AM

                              It's okay, the cat will just cull out the aggressive ones. After all isn't the cat on a BARF diet?

                  2. re: pedalfaster
                    juliejulez Jan 21, 2014 05:53 PM

                    I guess I'll have to figure out how to grow vegetables in the dead of winter when it's 20 degrees outside.

                    1. re: juliejulez
                      HillJ Jan 21, 2014 05:58 PM

                      Hydro gardening http://www.plantnutrients.co/gardenin...

                      just bust out a room jj, no problem :)

                      1. re: HillJ
                        juliejulez Jan 21, 2014 08:23 PM

                        The guest room is sunny. Our guests can just sleep on the sofa.

                        1. re: juliejulez
                          HillJ Jan 22, 2014 07:24 AM

                          Oh no, they must tend to the garden!

                  3. paulj Jan 21, 2014 03:27 PM

                    There's a curious religious side to Pollan's 'preaching'.

                    "Pigging Out: What 'Radically Unkosher’ Jewish Foodies Like Michael Pollan Are Missing By JONATHAN SCHORSCH"

                    I'm not sure that his grandmother would have recognized his homecooked BBQ as food.

                    "Indeed. Pollan devotes an entire chapter of his most recent project, Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation (Penguin Press HC, 2013)—more than a quarter of the book—to whole hog barbecue, reveling in details about learning from the pit masters of North Carolina, perfecting the technique of crackling (making crispy pig skin), and inaugurating his own, now-annual, pig roast tradition in the front-yard fire pit."

                    1. r
                      Rick Jan 17, 2014 05:23 PM

                      Great thread. I'm always baffled by the people that say it's too expensive to cook at home.

                      42 Replies
                      1. re: Rick
                        scubadoo97 Jan 17, 2014 05:34 PM

                        Yes me too. But I have built a very well stocked pantry and can make meals of many cusines on a whim. If I had to go out and buy condements for each meal beyond the main protein it would bump the cost of the meal at least is the short term. After a while the price per meal would go down as you built your pantry

                        1. re: scubadoo97
                          kariin Jan 17, 2014 09:28 PM

                          Yes, this. I teach, mostly casually w/friends and kids of friends, and mostly complete beginners, non-cooker, or never cookers.

                          Starting from scratch is _very_ expensive. They usually have no idea how to get started and don't have enough $ to begin with, much less go totally organic. So we start easy, one part of the day at a time (b'fast or dinner) and always start w/the things _they_ like to eat, not what i say or what the experts/pundits say.

                          My friends kid we started w/scones and biscuits, coffee (made @ home not Star$) and fresh whole fruit, dumb stuff - how long does milk last? whats the difference between 2% and whole. How do i eat a tangerine? are the seeds poisonous?
                          seriously, he was so embarassed. i thought he was being a goof but his family _never_ bought any fruit except apples and bananas.

                          I got him to taste soy and almond and rice types. Learn to buy fruit in-season.... ah, what does in-season mean?
                          whats a 'season' ? is that why stuff is cheaper sometimes?

                          Look, many food people are so highly informed, well-educated about all things food and lots are food snobs.
                          Peopple, especially under-30, who don't know hardly anything, are embarassed and feel stupid asking. So they don't.

                          You could be helping other people learn if you meet them where they are - not where you think they should be. Check yourself - food pepole (like all of us) can be huge
                          jerks. Drop the condecension. reach out to people.

                          1. re: kariin
                            paulj Jan 17, 2014 10:22 PM

                            ' soy and almond and rice types' - milk? I don't think my grandma would have recognized any of those. At least not the tetrapack processed versions. :)

                        2. re: Rick
                          juliejulez Jan 18, 2014 08:42 AM

                          Speaking from experience... to GET STARTED cooking at home after not doing it is expensive. For someone on a limited income, spending an extra $10-20 a week to get the staple items (on top of the food they'd normally buy) isn't really an option.

                          When I moved into my SO's house, I had to stock the kitchen. It took me a good 6 months and extra money to get it to where I am now, where I can stick to my budget of $50/week. I was averaging about $75-80 a week during the "stock up" period. I also learned a lot about shopping and stocking up during sales, and I had to meal plan pretty carefully to make sure my meals didn't require more than 1-2 more expensive ingredients a week. Thankfully, I had the free time to do this. A family with 2 working parents and kids probably wouldn't.

                          1. re: Rick
                            jpc8015 Jan 18, 2014 02:13 PM

                            Cooking at home is not expensive. Cooking the food that Pollan advocates is.

                            1. re: jpc8015
                              ChrisOfStumptown Jan 18, 2014 10:03 PM

                              I'm skeptical that it's unaffordable. I think it's more a matter of priorities. Households spend under 12 percent of their disposable income on food. In 1960 it was almost 19 percent. There is no "right amount" for this sort of statistic, but it does show that consumers have made a choice. They have chosen to spend less overall but consume more calories, principally from more meats, sugars, and refined carbohydrates.

                              Plenty of people I know complain about $4.99 organic chicken as unaffordable but don't think anything about dropping 5 bucks at Starbucks on a latte and a scone. I'm not judging, but think many do protest a bit much.

                              1. re: ChrisOfStumptown
                                MamasCooking Jan 18, 2014 10:07 PM

                                Where did you obtain those statistics? Do you have a link?

                                1. re: MamasCooking
                                  ChrisOfStumptown Jan 19, 2014 12:20 AM

                                  The data on household spending on food vs disposable income is here:


                                  Lots of related data is also available


                                  1. re: ChrisOfStumptown
                                    Savour Jan 22, 2014 11:04 AM

                                    But that's ignoring other factors like the astronomical rise of housing costs. (well above inflation or income growth in many areas). If you have to spend a higher proportion of your income on housing, you will by default be spending less on other things.

                                    1. re: Savour
                                      jpc8015 Jan 22, 2014 11:52 AM

                                      Don't forget that the cost of higher education has been outpacing inflation for decades. Isn't Michael Pollan a college professor?

                                      1. re: jpc8015
                                        Savour Jan 22, 2014 12:15 PM

                                        And education and enrichment for your kids as public schools have been gutted. I have a daughter in public school, and while I love her school, I also pay a boatload of money for afterschool care, gymnastics and swimming lessons, and summer camps. Not to mention the boatload of money we pay for our son's daycare. In 1960 I would have been a Stay at Home mother and our income would have been smaller but I wouldn't have been paying for these things and we would have bought our house for $15,000 instead of a LOT more. Of course a lot more of our income would have been spent on food. (And we spend a lot on food)

                                        1. re: Savour
                                          jpc8015 Jan 22, 2014 12:22 PM

                                          Which public schools have been gutted? Every year we spend more and more money on public schools and get less and less out of them.


                                          1. re: jpc8015
                                            Savour Jan 22, 2014 12:46 PM

                                            California's public education system is a shambles, particularly when you compare with the 1960's. Has a lot to do with property tax limits (Prop 13 was passed in 1978). Our elementary school has no: library, P.E., arts, music. We fill in as much as possible through grants and volunteerism and partnering with city services (the kids go to the public library down the street). There's no G&T program at the school, and AFAIK there aren't any special accommodations for special needs students. It's possible that the dollars per student are higher (though adjusted for inflation?) but I don't know where those dollars go.

                                            1. re: Savour
                                              jpc8015 Jan 22, 2014 12:51 PM

                                              Go walk through faculty parking at your local high school and see what kind of cars the administrators are driving. You should be able to answer your own question about where the money goes.

                                              1. re: jpc8015
                                                The Chowhound Team Jan 22, 2014 01:58 PM

                                                Folks, this is getting way away from anything to do with food. Can we let the school funding discussion go, please?

                                                1. re: The Chowhound Team
                                                  jpc8015 Jan 22, 2014 02:02 PM

                                                  I knew that was coming.

                                                  1. re: jpc8015
                                                    Savour Jan 22, 2014 02:07 PM

                                                    Ha. Me too. :)

                                2. re: ChrisOfStumptown
                                  scubadoo97 Jan 18, 2014 10:21 PM

                                  Where can I buy a $4.99 organic chicken? I'll take a case

                                  1. re: scubadoo97
                                    GH1618 Jan 18, 2014 11:10 PM

                                    Here you are, $4.90/lb. Less by the case.


                                    1. re: GH1618
                                      juliejulez Jan 19, 2014 08:08 AM

                                      4.90/lb is a lot different than 4.99 a chicken. If the whole organic chicken cost 4.99 you bet I'd be buying that instead of the non-kind. Unfortunately 4.99/lb is more accurate.

                                      And, I know for me personally, I don't go to places like Starbucks, nor do a lot of other people on a strict budget... so again, saying "just cut out something else" is an unrealistic suggestion for people who really cannot afford it.

                                      1. re: juliejulez
                                        GH1618 Jan 19, 2014 09:49 AM

                                        He didn't write "4.99 a chicken." Chicken is sold by the pound.

                                    2. re: scubadoo97
                                      mcf Jan 19, 2014 08:43 AM

                                      I understood what was meant, since $4.99 is cheap for a whole feedlot chicken. It was an error, but not hard to figure out, no?

                                      1. re: mcf
                                        scubadoo97 Jan 19, 2014 08:54 AM

                                        Yeah I assumed the $4.99 was per pound and was just making fun with the missing information. But when the $4.99 was compared to a coffee drink it was not a good comparison. A regular 4 lb chicken would be $20. Not cheap

                                        1. re: scubadoo97
                                          ChrisOfStumptown Jan 19, 2014 09:53 AM

                                          I think the comparison is fine. I know plenty of people who have daily coffee shop use, but I don't know anyone who eats four pounds of chicken a day. The USDA serving is four ounces, which is 12 servings given a pound of waste.

                                          Multi member households also have multiple versions of the coffee+scone issue.

                                          1. re: ChrisOfStumptown
                                            mcf Jan 19, 2014 10:04 AM

                                            The USDA can kiss my ass. With all due respect. If you know any family of 12 who dines on one scrawny chicken, that makes me very sad.

                                            1. re: mcf
                                              ChrisOfStumptown Jan 19, 2014 12:27 PM

                                              The only person who mentioned a family of twelve is you. Also with all due respect.

                                              If advice must apply equally well to all three hundred million people in the US, then there is no possible advice to be made on any topic. If the standard is that would work well for a large number, then eating less processed and restaurant food seems reasonable.

                                              1. re: ChrisOfStumptown
                                                mcf Jan 19, 2014 12:29 PM

                                                My point was just that 4 oz. is not a meal. If that's raw weight, it's not even a snack!

                                                1. re: mcf
                                                  paulj Jan 19, 2014 02:15 PM

                                                  It is generally agreed that FDA 'service size' is on the small side, and needs revision. In any case 4oz (113g) is their usual serving size for raw meats.

                                                  For a whole chicken the estimated yield is
                                                  70% meat and skin, 58% meat only, less than 50% cooked.

                                                  4oz, or 9-10 servings per 4lb bird makes more sense when making something like chicken and dumplings or soup, as opposed to fried chicken (where each person wants 1-2 whole pieces).

                                                  1. re: paulj
                                                    GH1618 Jan 19, 2014 06:37 PM

                                                    Do you have a citation to support "It is generally agreed that ..."? The Reference Amount Customarily Consumed (RACC) is a standard which is used to establish consistent labelling. It is only a reference number, not advice on what anyone should eat, and it is based on survey data. Some people, at some meals, will eat more and some will eat less. Even if people are on the average eating more than they did when the numbers were set, that is no reason to redefine a unit in established use.

                                                    1. re: GH1618
                                                      paulj Jan 19, 2014 06:55 PM

                                                      This is one of several articles about making the serving sizes more realistic. I think we've even discussed it on CH.


                                                      1. re: paulj
                                                        GH1618 Jan 19, 2014 07:25 PM

                                                        Good article, thank you. But it only convinces me that many people in the business of regulating food labels or advocating for healthier eating are in favor of revising serving sizes. I guess it depends on what is meant by "general agreement." I expect a large majority of consumers pay no attention at all to the labels, and that many of those who do are capable of interpreting the information correctly.

                                                        My own opinion is that there is not much wrong with the RACC numbers now, although there may be a few adjustments needed. I think for the unadorned meat catagory, four ounces (uncooked) is a convenient number. Anyone who wants the numbers for larger portions can easily compute them.

                                                        1. re: GH1618
                                                          GH1618 Jan 19, 2014 07:41 PM

                                                          I'll elaborate by adding that the people who are concerned about the obesity epidemic are behind this because they don't know what to do about it that would be politically acceptable. Arguing for label revisions as one way to attack the obesity problem is a way of creating the appearance that they are doing something while actually doing nothing at all.

                                    3. re: ChrisOfStumptown
                                      scubadoo97 Jan 19, 2014 08:45 AM

                                      Now that we know it's not a $4.99 chicken, 4 lbs of chicken would be $20. While I don't advocate spending $5 on a coffee at *$ spending $20 for a meal to cook for your family may be too much for some households to spend when a non organic chicken may go for less than a third of that

                                      1. re: scubadoo97
                                        mcf Jan 19, 2014 08:53 AM

                                        I can get an organic chicken at Trader Joe's or Costco for under $3 per lb. If one is buying from small producers at specialty markets, I suppose one might get stuck for $4.99, but it's certainly not necessary or the norm.

                                        But I know that it's a luxury not everyone can afford even at that price.

                                        1. re: mcf
                                          scubadoo97 Jan 19, 2014 08:58 AM

                                          Not everyone can afford a Costco membership and Trader Joe's has a very limited number of stores in this country.

                                          There are a lot of people that can't afford to buy organic, that's all I'm saying. And it's better for them to buy non organic foods and cook it at home than to buy processed foods. This was the theme of the video which I agree with.

                                          1. re: scubadoo97
                                            mcf Jan 19, 2014 09:33 AM

                                            I was agreeing that not everyone can afford it.

                                            And also that $4.99 was an avoidable price point for those who can.

                                      2. re: ChrisOfStumptown
                                        paulj Jan 19, 2014 09:12 AM

                                        That '12%' is some sort average across all households; it doesn't apply to every one. Some households spend a fraction of that on a personal chef, others depend on SNAP for most of their food.

                                        1. re: paulj
                                          ferret Jan 19, 2014 09:28 AM

                                          1/6 of the overall population relies on some form of food assistance.

                                          1. re: paulj
                                            ChrisOfStumptown Jan 19, 2014 10:06 AM

                                            Of course it is. But the same thing is always true, so I don't see the relevance.

                                            People underestimate how difficult times were in the past. In my life I remember the great inflation of the 1970s and the big unemployments of the early 1980s before the new era of the 1990s and 2000s. Plenty of people had hard times then.

                                            I think the houshold DPI is calculated from disposable personal income for all household and dividing by number of households. The point could be made that income inequality skews this figure. But on the other hand standards of living have grown since 1960 and one percent of income buys many more calories than than 1960. People in the past not only paid more, they got less bang for their buck.

                                            1. re: ChrisOfStumptown
                                              ferret Jan 19, 2014 10:32 AM

                                              Actually, food programs through the 70's ensured that most people had enough access to food. The 1/6 figure today doesn't have enough access to food. They rely on SNAP, WIC, charities and other sources but there is still substantial need beyond that. For example, a family of three earning $19,500 annually is considered well-off and is ineligible for assistance.

                                              1. re: ferret
                                                ChrisOfStumptown Jan 19, 2014 12:36 PM


                                        2. re: jpc8015
                                          scubadoo97 Jan 19, 2014 08:38 AM

                                          I think the basic premise was not that it had to be organic or free range but to not buy processed foods and to cook it yourself.

                                      3. ChrisOfStumptown Jan 16, 2014 09:09 PM

                                        I'm a little surprised on the amount of pushback to Pollan's piece.

                                        The basic facts of the situation are that Americans have put on a huge amount of weight over the past few decades, with an accompanying rise of dietary disease. In that time, America's diet has changed in favor of convenience foods. The percentage of household income spent on food is at near historic lows going back as far as you wish to look.

                                        For certain America would be a much healthier nation if people ate their own cooking.

                                        81 Replies
                                        1. re: ChrisOfStumptown
                                          paulj Jan 16, 2014 09:15 PM

                                          Shall we start by closing all Chowhound boards except Home Cooking and Cookware?

                                          1. re: paulj
                                            ChrisOfStumptown Jan 16, 2014 09:40 PM

                                            Even food media & news?

                                            1. re: ChrisOfStumptown
                                              paulj Jan 16, 2014 10:34 PM

                                              Only the posts about restaurant trends that should be eliminated ...

                                            2. re: paulj
                                              ratgirlagogo Jan 17, 2014 10:11 AM

                                              Hey, what about Gardening??

                                              1. re: ratgirlagogo
                                                paulj Jan 17, 2014 10:23 AM

                                                I forgot about that. That needs to be put front and center. Gardeners are the only ones who can completely avoid processed foods. Nearly everything I buy at the grocery has been processed to some degree or other.

                                                1. re: paulj
                                                  ratgirlagogo Jan 17, 2014 05:09 PM

                                                  Wow, you're an optimistic gardener for sure:) I'd say even the most productive gardener is going to have trouble producing enough, say wheat and rice to feed themselves without recourse to a market - that's some pretty heavy gardening, the kind that moves into light farming. I'm not that ambitious, I just grow herbs and peppers on my front porch.

                                            3. re: ChrisOfStumptown
                                              cresyd Jan 17, 2014 08:19 AM

                                              I won't speak for others - but I know that my pushback for Pollan doesn't come from disagreeing about cooking more at home, but rather a tone of his suggestions.

                                              I just returned to the US after living overseas in a country where my local salary and the cost of food meant that I spent a far higher percentage of my income on food than I would in the US. It was a great experience in learning how to cook more, and discovering areas where I used convenience foods where I didn't need to.

                                              I also learned areas where the equation of "price+time" made some convenience foods far more worth the price versus home made (pasta comes immediately to mind). I feel as though Pollan's approach has a tone of "all or nothing" and thus if you can't do it all, you don't know what new ideas to keep in mind.

                                              I do cook more at home than the average America, and I can't do everything Pollan preaches. So am I already going "half way" and just put his ideas aside? Or are there a few extra new ideas that would have really unique impact. And if those ideas cost me a bit more than I'd love to spend (either money or time), it'd be nice to hear exactly why that'd be a great idea.

                                              1. re: cresyd
                                                HillJ Jan 17, 2014 08:25 AM

                                                No more of a tone than say when Jamie Oliver took to the public schools and tried to shake up the cafeteria model. Or Gordon R. stepping into a restaurant on its last heel to rework the place and hopefully help it reopen under better circumstances. The tone is one of help, assistance, education and it's not geared to make us feel bad. It's only a perspective based on that 'spokesperson' sharing what they believe. These ideas can't' be one size fits all or the be all answer for everyone. But that doesn't make them offensive when we don't warm up to the premise.

                                                When I watched the clip the OP linked and even with 60% of one of Pollan's books under my belt, I don't feel I've really gotten his full stance on American's eating habits. I've only scratched HIS surface.

                                                1. re: HillJ
                                                  ferret Jan 17, 2014 09:22 AM

                                                  The difference with Oliver and Ramsay's approaches is that they're dealing with entities that are already in the foodservice industry and have either lost their way or otherwise need educating/reinvigorating.

                                                  Pollan verges on "let them eat cake" preaching by providing a not-especially-helpful personal perspective on lifestyle that is not especially relevant to the vast majority of the population.

                                                  1. re: ferret
                                                    jpc8015 Jan 17, 2014 09:35 AM

                                                    You mean we are not all millionaires and professors at Berkley?

                                                    1. re: jpc8015
                                                      HillJ Jan 17, 2014 10:11 AM

                                                      You don't need to be a millionaires or a professor to benefit by eating healthy.

                                                      1. re: HillJ
                                                        jpc8015 Jan 17, 2014 10:22 AM

                                                        You don't, but the approach advocated by Pollan is prohibitively expensive and a logistic nightmare for the vast majority of people.

                                                        Pollan is a major contributor to the enormous smug cloud covering the entire bay area. Alice Waters does her part though too.

                                                        1. re: jpc8015
                                                          HillJ Jan 17, 2014 10:27 AM

                                                          I couldn't disagree more. Mainly because the ideas advocated by researchers don't come with a mandatory response by anyone.

                                                          Ignore it, dismiss it if it doesn't 'speak to you' but I don't see the point of suggesting some negative emotional word attachment (smug cloud) as the basis for factual rebuttal.

                                                          You sound angry enough to preach about it.

                                                          1. re: HillJ
                                                            jpc8015 Jan 17, 2014 10:33 AM

                                                            When Pollan goes around demonizing the people who provide the vast majority of the food we eat and the methods they use to get it to us it does provoke a response. The fact is that factory farming has kept food affordable, period.

                                                            I have read his books, I have read his articles in the New York Times. The man is a self important douche bag who emits a giant cloud of smug. He thinks he is better than you.

                                                            1. re: jpc8015
                                                              mcf Jan 17, 2014 11:19 AM

                                                              " The fact is that factory farming has kept food affordable, period."

                                                              Not period. It's made us sick and increasingly defenseless against serious diseases.

                                                              He's reporting on an bad industry, one the U.S. CDC says is causing antibiotic resistance at a minimum.

                                                              1. re: mcf
                                                                GH1618 Jan 17, 2014 05:29 PM

                                                                The CDC report does not condemn "factory farming," only the inappropriate use of antibiotics in animals, and they also blame overuse of antibiotics in humans.


                                                                It is true that the decreasing relative cost of food in the US is due to more efficient food production. This applies to farming practices which do not contribute to the problem of declining effectiveness of antibiotics as well as those that do.

                                                                1. re: GH1618
                                                                  mcf Jan 17, 2014 05:38 PM

                                                                  Condemnation is not on their list of duties. They *assess* threats to health and this one is very high on the list. 80% of the antibiotics manufactured in the U.S. end up in feedlots and on produce.


                                                                  Then there's the fouling of soil and waterways with all sorts of drugs and chemicals used in a variety of farming operations.

                                                        2. re: HillJ
                                                          mcf Jan 17, 2014 10:37 AM

                                                          Not what he's advocating, though, not overall.

                                                          1. re: mcf
                                                            HillJ Jan 17, 2014 10:45 AM

                                                            I was not speaking for Pollan. Those were my thoughts. You don't need to be a millionaires or a professor to benefit by eating healthy...

                                                            You know I'm naive. Naive about how angry people get over ideas that come from other people. As if it's the last word on a topic. As if the mind control comes right off the page.

                                                            I should know better.

                                                            1. re: HillJ
                                                              GH1618 Jan 17, 2014 10:59 AM

                                                              One needn't be angry to think Pollan is overrated. I'm inclined to agree with jpc8015's characterization of Pollan and Waters, but I'm not angry about their influence. I just think they are irrelevant to the lives of most people, even here in their backyard.

                                                              1. re: GH1618
                                                                HillJ Jan 17, 2014 11:04 AM

                                                                I question what any of us base relevance on. What influences us is personal, our reactions subjective.

                                                                I don't have enough information under my belt to make such a determination. But I don't anger easily.

                                                                1. re: GH1618
                                                                  mcf Jan 17, 2014 11:17 AM

                                                                  Due to his publications about the integrity of our food supply and its effects on environmental, public and personal health, he's relevant to you whether you choose to disregard or disrespect him or not.

                                                                  He's made huge contributions on that front..

                                                                  1. re: GH1618
                                                                    MamasCooking Jan 17, 2014 05:21 PM

                                                                    Exactly. They are marketing to a certain demographic that reside in the hills of Berkeley not tenants of public housing over in Oakland:)

                                                                    1. re: MamasCooking
                                                                      Kalivs Jan 18, 2014 12:08 AM

                                                                      Oakland's farmers' market was the first to accept food stamps and has long courted a diverse network of purveyors. There are many dedicated people who are trying to make sure fresh, local food is available to people, regardless of income.

                                                                      1. re: Kalivs
                                                                        MamasCooking Jan 18, 2014 02:34 PM

                                                                        First out of the bay area?

                                                                  2. re: HillJ
                                                                    mcf Jan 17, 2014 11:03 AM

                                                                    I think you're the one getting heated, I'm certainly not. I just have a different view of the facts. I don't understand why it's a personal issue for you? In all sincerity, not criticising.

                                                                    I have taken much good from Pollan's writings about food production, and been irritated by how much damage his public platform can do, given his advocacy on a topic where he's truly uninformed, and adhering to a personal ideal.

                                                                    1. re: mcf
                                                                      HillJ Jan 17, 2014 12:35 PM

                                                                      You're not hearing my tone. I couldn't be farther from angered, mcf. I've already stated my own naive nature on this subject and you've taken time to offer alternatives to my thinking. So what's the issue? I don't have any.

                                                                      I also said I would read further and I plan to.
                                                                      I also haven't agreed with some of the other discussions this thread led to. Also no biggie. I'm listening and read along like everyone else.

                                                                      When I said, I don't anger easily that's what I meant.

                                                                      1. re: HillJ
                                                                        mcf Jan 17, 2014 12:47 PM

                                                                        Okay, I sorry. I take it back. My bad.

                                                                        1. re: mcf
                                                                          HillJ Jan 17, 2014 12:49 PM

                                                                          Given the size of the subject matter and the rapid fire discussion, I can see where you might have misunderstood my interest.

                                                                          FWIW, this entire thread has given me a good deal to think about. And I believe that was the OP's point after all.

                                                            2. re: ferret
                                                              HillJ Jan 17, 2014 10:03 AM

                                                              The difference is that they are different people with different focuses, beliefs and approaches to how American's eat and deal with food preparation...in diff settings.

                                                              Plenty of media attention pro and con was paid to Jamie Oliver (how dare he) and Gordon over the work they have put forth.

                                                              I tried to make a small analogy, perhaps I failed.

                                                            3. re: HillJ
                                                              cresyd Jan 17, 2014 10:24 AM

                                                              I would say the difference between Pollan and specifically Oliver's approach with the schools is that Pollan does not truly provide workable options. When Oliver goes into a school kitchen he knows their limits of what they can spend, the staff they have, the training had by the staff, etc. So Oliver approaches them with, ok - given these limits lets go with - and then presents a plan.

                                                              In Pollan's approach to the home cook, or really society at large - there are times when the tone does not feel like it takes into account other's limits (most notably, time and money). When he makes comments like "I could make more money if I worked x more hours a week, but I choose to use that time to cook" - I don't hear the voice of a man saying "I'll continue to do without having a vacation this year so I can use that time to cook". Let alone, "I'll continue to not pay all of my bills so I can use that time to cook".

                                                              In my opinion, Pollan is very good with big ideas on food and cooking but dreadful at translating them to a diverse public.

                                                              1. re: cresyd
                                                                HillJ Jan 17, 2014 10:31 AM

                                                                Maybe because Pollan and Oliver approach the research from a different context. I brought in the comparison because fault with their approaches to provide a fix have been challenged. They do speak to different audiences. I agree. They aren't the same type of advocate but they both have been met with harsh criticisms.

                                                                Who knows maybe Mr Pollan will offer workable options in his next book and Mr Oliver will feel strongly about new projects. These are two men with a great deal more than one project on their plates.

                                                                1. re: cresyd
                                                                  ennuisans Jan 17, 2014 03:48 PM

                                                                  Maybe because Pollan, as a journalist, is trained to find information and present it in an understandable way, rather than tell people what to do with that information.

                                                                  Oliver meanwhile is trained to know what to do with food but not so much on how it gets to him.

                                                                  Really the criticisms of both guys comes down to those differences more than anything.

                                                              2. re: cresyd
                                                                pamf Jan 17, 2014 09:59 AM

                                                                Having read "Omnivore's Dilemma" and "Cooked" I never got the impression that Pollan was preaching. He is writing about his own journey of discovering his relationship with food. His work is very personal and reflective.

                                                                When it gets condensed down to sound bites later in the media, then maybe that's when it starts to sound preachy.

                                                                As a professor of journalism, his research and investigation are impressive and the writing style is clear, precise and compelling.

                                                                I recommend that if you have the time and enjoy expanding your understanding of your relationship to food (and that's why we are all on CH right?), you should go to the source and read one of his books and then judge for yourself.

                                                                1. re: pamf
                                                                  HillJ Jan 17, 2014 10:01 AM

                                                                  Beautifully stated, thank you. Next time, I'll rely on you or another well spoken CH to convey what I so poorly try to say.

                                                                  Now, I'm off to read more to learn much more on my own.

                                                                  1. re: pamf
                                                                    jpc8015 Jan 17, 2014 10:03 AM

                                                                    The books are preachy. Especially "In Defense of Food".

                                                                    1. re: jpc8015
                                                                      pamf Jan 17, 2014 10:05 AM

                                                                      Haven't read that one yet. I will take my own advice and read it, along with some of his other earlier works. I'll report back. Heading to Amazon . . .

                                                                      1. re: jpc8015
                                                                        ratgirlagogo Jan 17, 2014 10:13 AM

                                                                        I would agree. It's not a bad thing to be preachy, necessarily, but the books are preachy.

                                                                        1. re: jpc8015
                                                                          cresyd Jan 17, 2014 10:39 AM

                                                                          I also think that Cooked is pretty preachy.

                                                                          Now if someone is preaching (or being preachy) and it's a 'sermon' I can relate to, then it doesn't feel bad. Ultimately the end of my story is that Pollan is never going to be the food leader I'd like him to be. I find that he speaks of many things I agree with, but then I find him to abandon me half way.

                                                                          Pollan hates the microwave for their association with frozen dinners. Fine, hate on frozen dinners. But the microwave itself? For someone with less time, it means that all those hours put into a meal the day/weekend before can translate into a super fast meal on a busy night as opposed to convenience food alternatives.

                                                                          1. re: cresyd
                                                                            GH1618 Jan 17, 2014 10:43 AM

                                                                            Not only that, but reheating in a microwave is energy-efficient. My microwave stopped working, so I now reheat food in my gas oven.

                                                                            1. re: cresyd
                                                                              ferret Jan 17, 2014 10:47 AM

                                                                              I have 3 ovens in my kitchen, 4 if you count the microwave. The microwave is used daily, the others - not so much.

                                                                              1. re: ferret
                                                                                cresyd Jan 17, 2014 10:57 AM

                                                                                I've lived off and on with a microwave my whole adult life and I can do just fine without one - but I do much better with one.

                                                                                I'm not saying I'm asking for Pollan's next book to be called Nuked! or something - but his total disregard for the equipment loses me.

                                                                                1. re: cresyd
                                                                                  HillJ Jan 17, 2014 11:06 AM

                                                                                  If I'm following you and your interpretation of Pollan vs microwave he's making those statements in the context of prepared foods and his stance on their nutritional (or lack thereof) value. Not exactly an anti microwave comment across the board.

                                                                                  1. re: cresyd
                                                                                    ferret Jan 17, 2014 11:15 AM

                                                                                    (Hence the "preachy" criticism.) I'd be more impressed if he actually looked at how most Americans lived rather than being the Martha Stewart of food writers. Sure, we'd all love to eat daily meals with our families that consist of items grown in our gardens or sourced from local farmers and were painstakingly prepared by mom and served on heirloom dishes with candles made from beeswax lovingly collected from our backyard hives.

                                                                                    There's a place and a market for that kind of thinking, but once you start turning it into the standard that we should all strive for -- then it becomes preachy.

                                                                                2. re: cresyd
                                                                                  Savour Jan 22, 2014 10:25 AM

                                                                                  The microwave is the best, most foolproof way to poach eggs. I use it mostly for that, steaming vegetables, and reheating coffee. Occasionally popping (from the kernel) popcorn. Pollan tends to have tunnel vision.

                                                                                  1. re: Savour
                                                                                    linguafood Jan 22, 2014 10:36 AM

                                                                                    Please share your MW poaching method. Is it the one where you crack an egg into a 2-cup bowl with 1 cup of water, then nuke for 1 minute? I've not been too successful with it.

                                                                                    1. re: linguafood
                                                                                      mcf Jan 22, 2014 10:47 AM

                                                                                      Do you always end up with the yolk cooking too fast, the white too slowly?

                                                                                      1. re: mcf
                                                                                        linguafood Jan 22, 2014 11:01 AM

                                                                                        Yeah, pretty much. I've done shorter increments, but that still leaves the whites pretty..... mushy. I've all but given up on poached eggs, and might just move on to (very) soft-boiled instead. That way, at least they keep their shape (another issue I have with pan or skillet poaching -- the damn whites flying all over the fucking place) and might be in the properly cooked state that I love :-)

                                                                                        1. re: linguafood
                                                                                          small h Jan 22, 2014 11:07 AM

                                                                                          Have you tried these?


                                                                                          I love mine. Damn whites stay put. The only downside is you have to grease them, but that's not such a hardship.

                                                                                          1. re: small h
                                                                                            mcf Jan 22, 2014 11:37 AM

                                                                                            I've thought about getting those.

                                                                                            1. re: small h
                                                                                              linguafood Jan 22, 2014 11:42 AM

                                                                                              Yep, have 'em. Used 'em. Whites stuck, despite greasing. And I found them awkward to deal with.

                                                                                              Maybe poached eggs and I are just not meant to be together in my house. Just in restaurants..... wah.

                                                                                              1. re: linguafood
                                                                                                mcf Jan 22, 2014 11:45 AM

                                                                                                That's disappointing! Now I wish I'd saved the aluminum egg poacher I grew up with. It made the prettiest poached eggs. It was like this, but not non stick. :-) http://www.amazon.com/Excelsteel-Stainless-Non-Stick-Poacher/dp/B002CGSYBM/ref=sr_1_3?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1390419959&sr=1-3

                                                                                                This one might be better: http://www.amazon.com/Egg-Poacher-for...

                                                                                                1. re: mcf
                                                                                                  linguafood Jan 22, 2014 11:49 AM

                                                                                                  I don't know if we're talking about the same concoction, but my mom had a saucepan you'd fill with water, and then put an inset with little indentations on top that you'd put a little pat of butter & then cracked the eggs in. Put on the lid, et voilá.

                                                                                                  Of course, those aren't truly poached, more like steamed in butter. But what could possibly be wrong with that?

                                                                                                  I found a similar one here in the US, but the indentations for the eggs were too small for the ginormous eggs American chickens seem to lay -- whites all over, so I've not used this anymore either.

                                                                                                  >BIG sigh<

                                                                                                  1. re: linguafood
                                                                                                    mcf Jan 22, 2014 11:56 AM

                                                                                                    My mother's was like the ones I posted, and we put butter in it and maybe wiped it around. The cups were set into holes in a piece that sat on top, and had little tab handles to remove them individually once done the way each person wanted.

                                                                                                    1. re: mcf
                                                                                                      linguafood Jan 22, 2014 11:59 AM

                                                                                                      Sorry, I s'pose I could've actually checked your links :-)

                                                                                                      Yes, those are similar, 'cept ours didn't have extra cups to insert.

                                                                                                      And $37.99 for a 2 egg poacher? Holy maccheroni!

                                                                                                      1. re: linguafood
                                                                                                        mcf Jan 22, 2014 12:44 PM

                                                                                                        Yeah, that seems really steep.

                                                                                                2. re: linguafood
                                                                                                  small h Jan 22, 2014 11:50 AM

                                                                                                  Oh, that's too bad. I spray the inside with olive oil (should I also try to get you to buy a Misto?) and run a butter knife around the egg to free it. What I like especially is that the poached egg is flat on one side, so it sits well on toast.

                                                                                                  1. re: small h
                                                                                                    linguafood Jan 22, 2014 11:51 AM

                                                                                                    The MW method does that, too. Nicely shaped and all. If it weren't for the overcooked yolk/undercooked white.

                                                                                                    1. re: linguafood
                                                                                                      mcf Jan 22, 2014 11:58 AM

                                                                                                      This could work! http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

                                                                                                      1. re: mcf
                                                                                                        linguafood Jan 22, 2014 12:02 PM

                                                                                                        That's actually kind of cool. And *much* cheaper than I expected once I saw it was a WS product... I was guessing it would be twice as much as for the 2 eggs poacher :-D

                                                                                              2. re: linguafood
                                                                                                Savour Jan 22, 2014 12:07 PM

                                                                                                1 cup bowl, 1/2 cup of water. The amount of water makes a big difference. I usually flip it at the end and add another 5-10 seconds to set the white on the underside.

                                                                                                1. re: Savour
                                                                                                  mcf Jan 22, 2014 12:45 PM

                                                                                                  How cooked is the yolk compared to the white?

                                                                                                  1. re: Savour
                                                                                                    linguafood Jan 22, 2014 02:22 PM

                                                                                                    Thanks, I'll give it a shot. Hope I have a 1 cup bowl :-)

                                                                                                    1. re: linguafood
                                                                                                      jpc8015 Jan 22, 2014 02:25 PM

                                                                                                      A teacup works nicely.

                                                                                                      1. re: jpc8015
                                                                                                        linguafood Jan 22, 2014 02:35 PM

                                                                                                        If ya have one. I think my espresso cups are too small.

                                                                                                        Maybe a ramekin.

                                                                                                        1. re: linguafood
                                                                                                          jpc8015 Jan 22, 2014 02:54 PM

                                                                                                          You could do a quail egg in that cup.

                                                                                                          1. re: linguafood
                                                                                                            Savour Jan 22, 2014 04:11 PM

                                                                                                            I use a 8 oz. ramekin.

                                                                                    2. re: ChrisOfStumptown
                                                                                      mcf Jan 17, 2014 10:46 AM

                                                                                      I think that's the smallest part of the health equation. The problem is faulty government and other health authority guidelines bought and paid for by certain food lobbies. Sugar, grain, corn and pharma, notably.

                                                                                      1. re: mcf
                                                                                        paulj Jan 17, 2014 11:36 AM

                                                                                        It doesn't follow. There's nothing in the guidelines that say 'eat more convenience foods'. Nothing about eating more sugar or corn sweeteners. People are not automatons following every dictum of the government or medical bodies.

                                                                                        From a USDA study (1999 publication)

                                                                                        "A continuation of recent (1992-96) growth rates in per capita servings
                                                                                        through 2005 suggests that, on average, diets will fall short of Pyramid serving recommendations for fruits, some vegetable subgroups (dark
                                                                                        green leafy vegetables, deep yellow vegetables, and dry beans, peas, and lentils), and dairy products, while servings of added sugars and added fats and oils will far exceed recommended upper consumption limits.

                                                                                        1. re: paulj
                                                                                          mcf Jan 17, 2014 12:08 PM

                                                                                          Those are non issues. If you doubt it, just check out investigations of the sugar lobby winning the war over the food pyramid, and their dollars, along with cereal and drug dollars buying recommendations for 55-60% of calories from carbs and added sugars even for diabetics.

                                                                                          When research demonstrated that grains raise blood sugar as much as table sugar does, in allegiance to their sponsors, the diabetes assn. proclaimed that sugar was now OK for diabetics, not any worse than grains, when clinical evidence indicated limits on grains were in order instead. Perverse.

                                                                                          Then they buried a study they'd funded that found that simply by increasing protein and lowering carbs, diabetics could control their disease and be empowered.

                                                                                          At the time, I believe General Mills and Cadbury Schweppes were their top two corporate donors.

                                                                                          1. re: mcf
                                                                                            paulj Jan 17, 2014 12:50 PM

                                                                                            The OxFam report discussed here:

                                                                                            shows that nutritional problems, both the poor access to fresh produce, and obesity and diabetes, are not limited to the USA. The reach of the American sugar lobby does not reach to Holland or Saudi Arabia.

                                                                                            1. re: paulj
                                                                                              mcf Jan 17, 2014 12:56 PM

                                                                                              I'm discussing U.S. food production and nutrition guidelines and the clinical outcomes.

                                                                                              And our drug and food manufacturers are polluting a lot of other countries. At least Sweden has abandoned the low fat carb wagon; too expensive to pay for all the health problems that ensue. http://healthimpactnews.com/2013/swed...

                                                                                              1. re: mcf
                                                                                                paulj Jan 17, 2014 02:44 PM

                                                                                                If this is report that they are crowing about
                                                                                                SBU is not jumping on the low-carb bandwagon.

                                                                                                Many of the items in the summary are marked as 'insufficient evidence'. There is talk of moderate low carb diets being good for short term weight loss, but in the long term there is little difference compared to other diets.

                                                                                                fig 2.19 compares US and Swedish (2005) guidelines.

                                                                                                2005 is the latest I see on this official site

                                                                                                2012 Nordic recommendations
                                                                                                "Typical features of a healthy dietary
                                                                                                pattern as described in NNR 2012 include plenty of vegetables, fruit and berries, pulses, regular intake of fish, vegetable oils, wholegrain, low-fat alternatives of
                                                                                                dairy and meat, and limited intake
                                                                                                of red and processed meat, sugar,
                                                                                                salt and alcohol."

                                                                                                1. re: paulj
                                                                                                  mcf Jan 17, 2014 05:13 PM

                                                                                                  It's a first step and a big change for them, but still potentially ketogenic for many, at least initially.

                                                                                                  At 20% calorie from carbs lower limit, and 40% maximum maintenance puts it right where Protein Power or Atkins often ends up in maintenance at the high end, though it's rare for folks to find 40% optimal. They make it clear it's modeled on Atkins.

                                                                                                  This means that you slowly add carbs back if you're at goal weight or if you're in good diabetic control, whatever your purpose is, until you find your own individual limit, not some government agencie's fantasy number.

                                                                                                  "In addition, advisors to the Swedish government speak to other benefits of an Atkins-like diet that permits higher-fat foods. Those benefits highlighted include both satisfaction and satiety, which are in large part, responsible for greater long-term sustainability. This news also follows suit with research released in the June issue of the British Journal of Nutrition, which showed that a carbohydrate-managed approach, such as the Atkins Diet, is more effective for long-term weight loss and maintenance than a conventional low-fat diet.[2] Investigators on that study also showed that low-carbohydrate diets were both beneficial and safe for the highly-insulin resistant, carbohydrate-intolerant population, who need to keep carbohydrate consumption low long-term."

                                                                                                  At the lower end of the guidelines, the diet is ketogenic, since ketosis is typically induced at about 100 carb grams per day, initially.

                                                                                                  1. re: mcf
                                                                                                    paulj Jan 17, 2014 08:58 PM

                                                                                                    "Debunking News of Sweden’s “Low-Carb, High-Fat” Guidelines"
                                                                                                    As I suspected, Sweden did not issue new guidelines. I gave the link to the recent 'Obesity and diet' review study, which found some benefits to a moderate low carb diet, but that is the extent of the news.

                                                                                        2. re: mcf
                                                                                          jpc8015 Jan 17, 2014 12:18 PM

                                                                                          The federal government is the last place in the world I would go to get nutrition advice. For that, I would go to a doctor...but I guess that may be like going to the federal government now.

                                                                                          1. re: jpc8015
                                                                                            mcf Jan 17, 2014 12:24 PM

                                                                                            Who do you think runs the CDC, FDA and NIH? Doctors refusing to sign strong ethics policy agreements that would limit their receipt of industry monies.

                                                                                            Medical school does not teach nutrition. As one Harvard medical researcher put it: "Drug companies own medicine."

                                                                                            1. re: mcf
                                                                                              jpc8015 Jan 17, 2014 12:29 PM

                                                                                              I don't mean that I would go to just any doctor. You have to build a relationship with your doctor so that over the course of years they are able to understand what works for you. Any "doctor" employed by the federal government is nothing more than a pimp.

                                                                                              1. re: jpc8015
                                                                                                paulj Jan 17, 2014 12:36 PM

                                                                                                Does that include doctors working for the VA and the military?

                                                                                                1. re: paulj
                                                                                                  jpc8015 Jan 17, 2014 12:37 PM

                                                                                                  No. I guess I should have thought that through a little farther.

                                                                                                2. re: jpc8015
                                                                                                  mcf Jan 17, 2014 12:47 PM

                                                                                                  Good luck with that.

                                                                                        3. Dave MP Jan 16, 2014 01:49 PM

                                                                                          I think Pollan is making a totally valid point in this video. He's basically saying that if you cook everything yourself from scratch (i.e. using ingredients that would have been recognizable 150 yrs ago), you'll probably end up eating healthier on the whole. I don't think he expects everyone to do this 100% of the time, but it's a good goal to keep in mind.

                                                                                          Many types of foods that I can buy easily are things that are too time-consuming for me to make frequently myself. French fries, donuts, burgers, etc.

                                                                                          I actually used to have a rule for myself that I would never purchase cookies. If I wanted cookies, I had to make them myself. The only problem was that I ended up getting very good at making cookie dough from scratch extremely quickly :)

                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Dave MP
                                                                                            juliejulez Jan 16, 2014 02:50 PM

                                                                                            Haha Dave, I was just thinking when I was reading upthread... I had to cut out baking at home except for special occasions because I did it far too often and had no self control! Yet, I've had a package of store-bought cookies (berry newtons) in the pantry for over a month and I only have one every now and then. (It's also freaky that they are still good after a month).

                                                                                            1. re: juliejulez
                                                                                              emily Jan 16, 2014 06:57 PM

                                                                                              I love to bake and could do it daily, so Pollan's advice doesn't really apply to me (nor is it probably meant to). If I bake a batch of chocolate caramel cupcakes, the two of us end up eating 10 cupcakes over the course of a few days. If I go buy a Sprinkles cupcake instead, I end up eating exactly one cupcake.

                                                                                              1. re: emily
                                                                                                viperlush Jan 17, 2014 08:09 AM

                                                                                                Same here. I'd bake cookies/ cake everyday if they were better for me. That's why the BF's coworkers love me. I bake when I want a couple cookies or to try a new recipe, and they get the leftovers. Of course I don't let them know that they are my guinea pigs.

                                                                                                1. re: emily
                                                                                                  paulj Jan 17, 2014 10:05 AM

                                                                                                  You are supposed to eat all 10 yourself.

                                                                                                  The subject line is: "Eat Anything You Want--Just Cook It Yourself" - that applies to family members as well as the chief cook and bottle washer. Each person must cook for him/her self to benefit from his dictum. :)

                                                                                                  1. re: paulj
                                                                                                    ennuisans Jan 17, 2014 03:41 PM

                                                                                                    This is a fair point. I've moved back with my retired parents and would be glad to cook full-fat and sugar foods every day, but the work I do doesn't do my diabetic dad any favors if he eats the results.

                                                                                                  2. re: emily
                                                                                                    Dave MP Jan 17, 2014 01:09 PM

                                                                                                    To be fair, there are lots of people who would buy more than one Sprinkles cupcake.

                                                                                                    Being able to buy cupcakes at a store probably increases overall cupcake consumption, on average, since there are loads of people who eat cupcakes all the time, but never bake them.

                                                                                                    1. re: Dave MP
                                                                                                      mcf Jan 17, 2014 01:31 PM

                                                                                                      It really comes down to how/why you make those choices.

                                                                                                      I don't bring such stuff into my home, or onto my restaurant table as a rule. Don't miss it, don't eat it that way.

                                                                                                      . I'll taste a sample in a store now and then, or buy one single mini cupcake and walk away. At home, you won't bake nor eat just one mini cupcake. But you can walk into a bake shop or dept. and get just one.

                                                                                                      And then forget about them again.

                                                                                              2. j
                                                                                                jpc8015 Jan 16, 2014 09:19 AM

                                                                                                Michael Pollan does not understand economics. It is very easy to buy all your food from your local farmers market and nearby producers when you are a millionaire who works from home and lives in the heart of the American produce producing region. For many of us working stiffs that is much more difficult if not impossible.

                                                                                                18 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: jpc8015
                                                                                                  HillJ Jan 16, 2014 09:22 AM

                                                                                                  This is a valid argument in a broad spectrum.

                                                                                                  Take the pineapple...you can buy a fresh whole pineapple in January for .99, 2.99, 5.99 in my area of NJ. You can buy it whole, cut or halved. You pay extra for having someone else cut it for you. You can buy what you'll use in a week. Heck, I've even seen pineapple sold in the produce dept by the cup. And the markdown bin has some very worthwhile produce waiting for a 'home.' Great choices, one decision.

                                                                                                  The economics of any food purchase aren't dictated by one person offering an overview. Only YOU know what works for you but the choices for what works for any of us are grander than ever.

                                                                                                  1. re: HillJ
                                                                                                    jpc8015 Jan 16, 2014 09:45 AM

                                                                                                    I live just outside of Salem, Oregon in the Willamette Valley. We get great produce from May through October. We get nothing in the winter.

                                                                                                    During the summer my wife and I make a point to visit the Salem Farmers Market almost every Saturday. We load up on produce. How does Michael Pollan suggest that I eat local produce in January?

                                                                                                    1. re: jpc8015
                                                                                                      HillJ Jan 16, 2014 09:54 AM

                                                                                                      You'll have to ask Mr. Pollan (smirk) that one. Frozen fruit pieces go on sale, working with the produce you can get in the winter is the obvious answer. I shop everywhere and work with what I can afford. No brainer, yes?

                                                                                                      I was trying to address the economics you mentioned. Mr Pollan doesn't know every situation true but you and I know what we can buy in our community to make the food budget work. And that is the only way to go.

                                                                                                      1. re: HillJ
                                                                                                        jpc8015 Jan 16, 2014 09:57 AM

                                                                                                        Agree. We do a ton of canning and freezing in the summer to try and get that produce to last through the winter. We just ran out of berrins last week though and my three year old wants berries in his oatmeal. I have no problem going to Costco and buying a clamshell of berries from Mexico. A lot of people don't have that option though.

                                                                                                        1. re: jpc8015
                                                                                                          ennuisans Jan 16, 2014 10:00 AM

                                                                                                          "We do a ton of canning and freezing in the summer to try and get that produce to last through the winter."

                                                                                                          See? You're doing better at this than I am.

                                                                                                          1. re: jpc8015
                                                                                                            HillJ Jan 16, 2014 10:03 AM

                                                                                                            I agree.

                                                                                                        2. re: jpc8015
                                                                                                          ennuisans Jan 16, 2014 09:57 AM

                                                                                                          How are any of us to reply on Pollan's behalf? This is where thinking for ourselves comes into play. It's something I've had to address as well, and the answers I've found are:

                                                                                                          1. Don't. Hit the grocery store and buy what's in season, mostly root vegetables.

                                                                                                          2. Preserve what you get in spring and summer. (This is not cost effective for me, so see #1.)

                                                                                                          If we avail ourselves of local farmer's markets 3 or 6 or 9 months of the year we're still better off on the whole than otherwise.

                                                                                                          But Pollan's recommendations are not bad simply because we can't afford them or don't live where they are practical, any more than Suze Orman's advice is bad simply because I can't save up 6 months of living expenses or fund a 401(k). That's not on them.

                                                                                                          1. re: ennuisans
                                                                                                            HillJ Jan 16, 2014 10:03 AM

                                                                                                            I agree completely.

                                                                                                            1. re: ennuisans
                                                                                                              jpc8015 Jan 16, 2014 10:12 AM

                                                                                                              I agree that Pollan's advice is good advice for those who are fortunate enough to be able to take advantage of it. Then there are the other 316,999,999 Americans...

                                                                                                              1. re: jpc8015
                                                                                                                HillJ Jan 16, 2014 10:15 AM

                                                                                                                Oh come on :) First of all, Pollan's advice is not new information. Second, the abundance of choices at every price point exists today. Discounters, small produce markets, mega grocery stores, wholesale, you name it. And the barter and food sharing going on is no small enterprise either.

                                                                                                                1. re: HillJ
                                                                                                                  jpc8015 Jan 16, 2014 10:20 AM

                                                                                                                  I can go to the store and buy a chicken for five or six dollars. The "Pollan" chicken costs 4x that much. If it comes down to paying my auto insurance or buying chicken that makes me feel good about myself, guess which path I am taking.

                                                                                                                  Fortunately for Pollan, he does not have to deal with those sorts of trade-offs.

                                                                                                                  1. re: jpc8015
                                                                                                                    HillJ Jan 16, 2014 10:23 AM

                                                                                                                    I make no assumptions about Pollan. I don't fault people for having deeper pockets or for trying to be a part of educating the public.

                                                                                                                    But I certainly respect and agree we all make choices that work for ourselves. OTOH, my husband would have a different opinion about Mr Pollan. Makes for very interesting dinner conversation!

                                                                                                                    1. re: HillJ
                                                                                                                      jpc8015 Jan 16, 2014 11:33 AM

                                                                                                                      I don't fault Pollan for being a succesful author with deep pockets; I've read most of his books. I just think that he is a little self righteous and there is an enormous gap between what he advocates and reality.

                                                                                                                      1. re: jpc8015
                                                                                                                        HillJ Jan 16, 2014 11:39 AM

                                                                                                                        I think right now he's been given the microphone and he's using it. I haven't read all of his books or every word of the book I did read. I don't read a great many books of this nature. I do talk to a great many professional though and for the most part the pros I know don't find much off about his perspective. That it's not leading people down a unhealthy path but maybe a hard to reach path.

                                                                                                                        I rely on simple solutions. I eat well, I sleep well, I workout, I maintain a youthful mindset, I'm never retiring because I see no point (you rest, you rust) and I try to respect the beliefs others have.

                                                                                                              2. re: ennuisans
                                                                                                                mcf Jan 16, 2014 10:30 AM

                                                                                                                Right. They're bad because they ignore good clinical science.

                                                                                                                1. re: ennuisans
                                                                                                                  ferret Jan 16, 2014 10:36 AM

                                                                                                                  Thinking people don't need Michael Pollan to tell them that controlling what you buy, and ensuring that you prepare your meals rather than relying on convenience foods is optimal to good health and well-being. Just like I don't need someone to tell me that finding a job that pays well for a workday that's 8 hours or less, requires next to no commute or business travel and places no stressful demands will ease my life.

                                                                                                                  Being helpful is taking you to the next step, what he's doing is being preachy, which helps no one.

                                                                                                                  1. re: ferret
                                                                                                                    mcf Jan 16, 2014 10:52 AM

                                                                                                                    His early writing about meat production was a huge eye opener for me, got me doing a lot of additional research and due diligence about the sources of my food and created a lot of movement toward a more sustainable food supply. So I regard that as tremendously helpful.

                                                                                                                    It's health and nutrition he's out to lunch on, metabolic science, etc. As he demonstrates with his stupid advice atop this thread. He should get out of the cooking/dietary advice business, he sucks at it.

                                                                                                                    1. re: ferret
                                                                                                                      MamasCooking Jan 17, 2014 02:18 PM

                                                                                                                      I agree with you. We are all more than capable of making our own food decisions without the influence of a journalist who has limited insight and training about how the human body functions in regards to nutritional needs. His soapbox is social and political not physiological or holistic.

                                                                                                            2. paulj Jan 16, 2014 01:10 AM

                                                                                                              What would great grandma eat?



                                                                                                              1. f
                                                                                                                ferret Jan 15, 2014 04:40 PM

                                                                                                                Pollan tends to be an elitist in his "common-sense" approach to a "healthful" lifestyle. Not everyone is born to wealth and not everyone can afford to buy a spectrum of wholesome and organic ingredients.

                                                                                                                As George Burns used to say it's too bad the people who really know how to run the country are too busy driving cabs and cutting hair. Pollan's time would be better spent feeding the hungry rather than proselytizing about what we all need to do about our diets.

                                                                                                                12 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: ferret
                                                                                                                  GH1618 Jan 15, 2014 06:32 PM

                                                                                                                  Yes, for every person shopping at Whole Foods, there are a thousand struggling to make ends meet. It has been documented that it costs more to buy healthy food, not merely "organic" food.

                                                                                                                  1. re: ferret
                                                                                                                    MamasCooking Jan 15, 2014 06:59 PM

                                                                                                                    He is also not coming at food issues from a strictly scientific nutritional base. I thought he was a journalist. Does he have secondary science degrees?

                                                                                                                    1. re: MamasCooking
                                                                                                                      GH1618 Jan 15, 2014 07:09 PM

                                                                                                                      His degree is M.S. English. He is on the faculty of a school of journalism which has appointed him to a position as a science journalist, so that is something like a credential, albeit not from a scientific body. It is more usual for science writers to have some actual scientific training themselves.


                                                                                                                    2. re: ferret
                                                                                                                      bob96 Jan 15, 2014 08:28 PM

                                                                                                                      Nor does everyone live in the SF bay area, with relatively easy access to a huge and diverse food culture and quality produce almost year round. Having grown up in a first generation Italian NY family that ate well and simply--we shopped everyday for fresh bread, seasonal produce (no grapes in winter, ever) and kept canned and frozen foods to a minimum, I try to maintain my grandparents' traditions, out of respect, yes, but mostly for taste and health and, let's not forget, pleasure. But it's never easy, and it does not help to call things "real"--which then implies other things are "fake". With some exceptions, all foods are real. And you don't need to have Marin County organic foragers on speed dial to eat well. With some common sense, restraint, and a little humor, you can eat healthily and well with conventional foods on hand--yes, by cutting back drastically or avoiding stuff like frozen pizza, soda, snacks, and the usual suspects, and by looking first to quality raw ingredients you prepare yourself. And it need not always be local, especially if you're living in Butte or Bismarck in January. Or work 2 jobs and have kids to feed. Let's also remember the sometimes crushing limits to "real" eating that class, race, and circumstance can present; it's not simply about being "enlightened" enough to make the proper personal choice.

                                                                                                                      1. re: ferret
                                                                                                                        cresyd Jan 15, 2014 08:29 PM

                                                                                                                        Pollan leaves himself so open to criticism by an inability to provide some kind of a 25% version of what he proposes.

                                                                                                                        If in my budget I can say "I'm ok with one less luxury ingredient, no more diet soda or no more lunches out - so that means I can buy 4 more organic or local items", or "I can now rearrange my schedule so I will have an extra 30 minutes to cook or shop 3 days a week" - how do I maximize that? Instead of laying out the ideal cooking and shopping plans, give me 4 purchase and cooking changes that would make me feel good about that choice.

                                                                                                                        What I think might be a nice alternative would be breaking down those choices depending on where an individual might connect most. If a person connects most with choices for the environment - what are 5 great choices? Avoiding chemicals - 5 other great choices. Cooking more at home - 5 options. Weight loss/healthy eating - 5 more options. And make those points concise, not "buy all organic/local vegetables" - but "by buying organic apples specifically xyz".

                                                                                                                        Pollan makes himself an easy to discard by his inability to see how expensive his proposals are, both in terms of dollars and time.

                                                                                                                        1. re: cresyd
                                                                                                                          ennuisans Jan 15, 2014 11:38 PM

                                                                                                                          So it's not enough that he brings important points to our attention, he has to tailor each point to our own perspectives? We have no work of our own to do?

                                                                                                                          Pollan establishes the ideal, or tries to. And it's a simple and far from elitist ideal, roughly speaking: eat what your grandparents ate. I can adapt my diet from that principle myself without his spoon to feed me. And if adapting means buying conventional potatoes more often than organic, at least I'm buying potatoes rather than Biggie Fries that day.

                                                                                                                          Pollan is just the lighthouse. The ship is up to us.

                                                                                                                          1. re: ennuisans
                                                                                                                            cresyd Jan 16, 2014 05:54 AM

                                                                                                                            Most health/wellness/lifestyle authors do that.

                                                                                                                            Not everyone would need or benefit from such a break down, but at the moment Pollan is very easy to dismiss as a rich person's food guy. My other issue is that if it's just "eat what your grandparents ate" - then in terms of what my grandparents served my parents, it was just about ever new convenience food introduced in the 50's and 60's. Not everyone has some pastoral history and family cookbook they can go back to.

                                                                                                                            If the point is that Pollan is the inspiration and everyone else is supposed to put their pieces together, then fine. I'll find another lighthouse I can relate to better. I'm not going to read a series of his works just to find the few bits that inspire me. Because holistically, he doesn't speak to me as offering an achievable lifestyle. And I hardly think I'm alone in that thought.

                                                                                                                            1. re: cresyd
                                                                                                                              thinks too much Jan 16, 2014 07:50 AM

                                                                                                                              There might be a generation gap between you and Pollan if your parents grew up in the 1950's & 60's. Try to eat what your great grandparents ate.

                                                                                                                              1. re: thinks too much
                                                                                                                                cresyd Jan 16, 2014 09:27 AM

                                                                                                                                There is a generation gap as my father was born in the mid 40's and my mother was born in the mid 50's. But that doesn't change the fact that I don't know what that is. (Not to mention that from anecdotes I've heard, my mother's grandparents died of heart disease complications in their mid 50's and 60's - so who knows if that'd be recommended either)

                                                                                                                                As far as I'm concerned being told to eat what my great grandparents ate is the same as being told to eat what "cave men" ate. I don't have any actual basis to rely on and would still need a book to tell me what that was.

                                                                                                                                1. re: cresyd
                                                                                                                                  Chowrin Jan 16, 2014 10:22 AM

                                                                                                                                  Considerably more weevils, rockdust, and spoiled meat.
                                                                                                                                  Less ecoli contamination.

                                                                                                                        2. re: ferret
                                                                                                                          ratgirlagogo Jan 16, 2014 02:15 AM

                                                                                                                          Pollan is kind of odd in that he's apparently (based on his book "Cooked") a pretty recent convert to home cooking - odd I mean in that you'd think that anyone who had been so interested in food and its local/fresh/organic sourcing for so long would have been more interested in preparing it. Like all recent converts, he's more Catholic than the Pope on the subject and prone to lecturing.

                                                                                                                          1. re: ratgirlagogo
                                                                                                                            GH1618 Jan 16, 2014 05:44 AM

                                                                                                                            Especially the current pope, who said "who am I to judge."

                                                                                                                        3. scubadoo97 Jan 15, 2014 12:15 PM

                                                                                                                          It's what I do every day.

                                                                                                                          1. g
                                                                                                                            GH1618 Jan 15, 2014 12:08 PM

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

                                                                                                                            15 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: GH1618
                                                                                                                              sandiasingh Jan 15, 2014 12:25 PM

                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                GH1618 Jan 15, 2014 12:35 PM

                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                  cresyd Jan 15, 2014 12:46 PM

                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                    sandiasingh Jan 15, 2014 01:54 PM

                                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                                      cresyd Jan 15, 2014 02:17 PM

                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                        sandiasingh Jan 15, 2014 02:46 PM

                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                        Kalivs Jan 15, 2014 04:43 PM

                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                          sandiasingh Jan 15, 2014 05:15 PM

                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                            paulj Jan 15, 2014 06:05 PM

                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                            GH1618 Jan 15, 2014 06:20 PM

                                                                                                                                            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.

                                                                                                                                          3. re: sandiasingh
                                                                                                                                            Chowrin Jan 16, 2014 09:14 AM

                                                                                                                                            "the formation of ecoli"

                                                                                                                                            1. re: sandiasingh
                                                                                                                                              linguafood Jan 16, 2014 11:17 AM

                                                                                                                                              "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
                                                                                                                                                Chowrin Jan 16, 2014 11:26 AM

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

                                                                                                                                          4. re: GH1618
                                                                                                                                            jpc8015 Jan 16, 2014 09:28 AM

                                                                                                                                            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.

                                                                                                                                          5. re: sandiasingh
                                                                                                                                            small h Jan 15, 2014 01:57 PM

                                                                                                                                            <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. juliejulez Jan 15, 2014 12:07 PM

                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                            Chowrin Jan 15, 2014 12:19 PM

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

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Chowrin
                                                                                                                                              juliejulez Jan 15, 2014 04:17 PM

                                                                                                                                              Are you able to buy all organic everything?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: juliejulez
                                                                                                                                                Chowrin Jan 16, 2014 09:13 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Chowrin
                                                                                                                                                  juliejulez Jan 16, 2014 10:57 AM

                                                                                                                                                  I do! :)

                                                                                                                                            2. re: juliejulez
                                                                                                                                              sandiasingh Jan 15, 2014 02:59 PM

                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                juliejulez Jan 15, 2014 04:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                  sandiasingh Jan 15, 2014 04:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                    juliejulez Jan 15, 2014 04:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                                                      MamasCooking Jan 15, 2014 06:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                        juliejulez Jan 15, 2014 06:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                          EricMM Jan 16, 2014 01:56 PM

                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                            jpc8015 Jan 16, 2014 02:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                              paulj Jan 16, 2014 02:24 PM

                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                jpc8015 Jan 16, 2014 03:01 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                2. re: sandiasingh
                                                                                                                                                  MamasCooking Jan 15, 2014 05:44 PM

                                                                                                                                                  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 lifestyle....budget....preferences...cooking abilities etc.I also think it is pompous for someone to imply otherwise as you have done here.

                                                                                                                                              2. paulj Jan 15, 2014 12:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                Shouldn't you be capitalizing 'Real Food'?


                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                                                  sandiasingh Jan 15, 2014 12:20 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                2. m
                                                                                                                                                  meresyg Jan 15, 2014 12:02 PM

                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                    cresyd Jan 15, 2014 12:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                                                      sandiasingh Jan 15, 2014 03:04 PM

                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                        mwhitmore Jan 16, 2014 09:06 AM

                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                          cresyd Jan 16, 2014 09:24 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cresyd
                                                                                                                                                            mcf Jan 16, 2014 09:34 AM

                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                              cresyd Jan 16, 2014 09:45 AM

                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                HillJ Jan 16, 2014 09:51 AM

                                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                                  mcf Jan 16, 2014 10:17 AM

                                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                                    cresyd Jan 16, 2014 12:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                                                                      jpc8015 Jan 16, 2014 12:48 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      I like the Jesus Diet.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cresyd
                                                                                                                                                                        mcf Jan 16, 2014 03:21 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        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: http://nusi.org/the-science/review-of...

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                                                        MamasCooking Jan 16, 2014 01:32 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                                          paulj Jan 16, 2014 02:32 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                            MamasCooking Jan 16, 2014 02:44 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                            mcf Jan 16, 2014 03:22 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                              Hoppy12345 Jan 21, 2014 06:40 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Hoppy12345
                                                                                                                                                                                mcf Jan 22, 2014 07:19 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                                    EWSflash Jan 17, 2014 06:21 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                                                                    sandiasingh Jan 15, 2014 02:54 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                                                                      meresyg Jan 16, 2014 06:48 AM

                                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                                        sandiasingh Jan 16, 2014 07:36 AM

                                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                                          Chowrin Jan 16, 2014 09:12 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sandiasingh
                                                                                                                                                                            HillJ Jan 16, 2014 09:19 AM

                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                              paulj Jan 16, 2014 09:57 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                                HillJ Jan 16, 2014 10:02 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                                              mcf Jan 16, 2014 09:35 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                                                                HillJ Jan 16, 2014 09:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                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: HillJ
                                                                                                                                                                                  jpc8015 Jan 16, 2014 09:55 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                  Your physician.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jpc8015
                                                                                                                                                                                    HillJ Jan 16, 2014 09:59 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                                                                                      mcf Jan 16, 2014 10:29 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                                                      mcf Jan 16, 2014 10:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                      Right, the person with no nutrition education.

                                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: HillJ
                                                                                                                                                                                      mcf Jan 16, 2014 10:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                                                        HillJ Jan 16, 2014 10:38 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: HillJ
                                                                                                                                                                                          mcf Jan 16, 2014 03:37 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          Here's another link for you to follow, if you choose: http://nusi.org/

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                                                                            paulj Jan 16, 2014 03:54 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            "Billionaires Fund A 'Manhattan Project' For Nutrition And Obesity"


                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                                                                                              mcf Jan 16, 2014 05:17 PM


                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: sandiasingh
                                                                                                                                                                                    meresyg Jan 16, 2014 10:14 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: meresyg
                                                                                                                                                                                      HillJ Jan 16, 2014 10:19 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                                                        mcf Jan 16, 2014 10:50 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                                                          HillJ Jan 16, 2014 11:19 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                                            mcf Jan 16, 2014 03:24 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                                                                            Chowrin Jan 16, 2014 11:29 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                                              mcf Jan 16, 2014 03:26 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                                            meresyg Jan 16, 2014 11:21 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                                                              HillJ Jan 16, 2014 11:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                                    MamasCooking Jan 15, 2014 05:53 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                                                                                      mcf Jan 16, 2014 09:33 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                      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.

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