If you enjoy walking through Whole Foods in La Jolla, Henry’s in Santee, or Trader Joes in Mira Mesa, People’s in Ocean Beach, you might well be a “foodie” or at least someone who enjoys a fine selection of healthy food. Purchasing or growing healthy food is one thing but you have to know how to eat right as well.
Here are some simple rules to keep in mind as you prepare your local, organic, natural, artisanal, seasonal, bounty and offerings. These rules will insure you have a “foodgasm” in the healthiest of ways. These rules are anchored in a must-read book if eating right is your goal. Written by Gary Taubes, “Why We Get Fat: And What To Do About It” is an education that will make you question nearly everything you ever thought about when it comes to eating, exercise, fat, calories, carbs, red meat and simple sugars.
Taubes maintains that obesity is not caused:
- by eating too much
- by exercising too little
- by consuming fat
Instead he believes that obesity is the result of consuming:
- too much refined sugar
- too much white flour
This fellow is no slouch. He is a reporter and “science nerd” who studied applied physics at Harvard and aerospace engineering at Stanford.
Taubes redefines obesity as a hormonally driven physical disorder, activated by carbohydrates, where the body can’t stop accumulating fat. He also believes that current nutritional wisdom is the result of poor science and politicking.
Taubes tells us: “fat isn’t the enemy; easily digested carbohydrates are.” He adds:
The very foods that we’ve been sold as diet staples—fat-free yogurt, plain baked potatoes (hold the butter), and plain pasta (hold the olive oil, sauce, and cheese)—actually reset our physiology to make us pack on the pounds.
And the foods that we’ve been told to shun—steak, burgers, cheese, even the sour cream so carefully scraped from that potato can help us finally lose the weight and keep our hearts healthy.
Now for his rules:
1. Diet has “die” in it. Don’t go ON a diet, rather, change what you eat. Diets, research tell us, predicts weight gain.
2. Smart nutritionists teach us to shop the “periphery of supermarkets.” This will help you avoid BHA, BHT, sodium nitrites—and instead choose whole fruits, organic veggies, real meats (rather than chicken fingers), fresh fish (instead of fish sticks) and healthy dairy products.
3. Calories don’t make you fat. Simple carbs like sugar, honey and refined white flour do. It’s your glycemic index that you need to watch — so peanuts, not pretzels, black beans, not watermelon, chocolate cake, not fruit roll-ups.
4. Think farms, not factories. Especially when it comes to meat. Remember these terms: organic, local, grass-fed, pastured and free-range.
5. Make your meals colorful. Dip your fork into colors that come from leafy, cruciferous or brightly colored vegetables.
6. Follow Taube’s weight loss plan that includes low carbs, much meat, plenty of plants, minimal dairy and eat when you’re hungry. Don’t limit fat. Say goodbye to pasta, bread, rice and hidden sugars. Be picky about your veggies due to some of their carb content.
7. Did I say anything about fruit? Good. Tread lightly on those pretty sugar filled devils.
8. Don’t worry about dietary saturated fat. The “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” reported no connection between saturated fats and rates of heart attack. It’s the trans fat that you ought to watch out for if you want to control your LDL cholesterol, heart disease and other chronic illnesses. Adding omega-3’s and monounsaturated fats will help reduce the risk of heart disease, arthritis and even lower the risk of some cancers.
Keep shopping in the wonderful San Diego meccas of healthy foods but be sure you are cooking and eating smartly. If you want to build a food kingdom, make exercise queen and healthy eating king. Or is it the other way around? Taubes makes the case that despite what we are told by health “authorities,” science tells us that exercise alone will neither help us maintain our weight if we are lean, nor lose weight if we are fat.