Home > nutrition > Nutrition


I don’t know how to start this post. I think about nutrition a lot, but I don’t have a story to tell about my habits. There are things that I do, but how can I recommend them to others? My decisions are based on life experiences plus a slightly obsessive tendency to read the nutrition advice in all magazines I open, more recently the Health section of the New York Times online, and various food-related books. That doesn’t mean what I do is right for anyone else. But I guess I have two main points to say, in case you didn’t get the memo yet. 1) Eat less processed food for a more healthful diet. 2) Being vegetarian is probably good for the world, so any reduction in your personal meat consumption is a step in the right direction.

I was a vegetarian for two and a half years, until I started training for the Philly Marathon. I wasn’t the *best* vegetarian; I changed my habits for environmental reasons and I never stopped liking meat. My biggest weakness was chicken wings, and when drunk would occasionally buy wings. In August I went on vacation with my family and was camping, and it was easier with the camping-cooking set-up to eat meat, so I took a vacation from vegetarianism. When I came back, for about a month I verged between going back to vegetarianism and officially eating meat again. I think one day I came back from a run, and really wanted meat, and decided satisfying my hunger was important. Now I am trying to eat mostly vegetarian. I tend to not cook meat and get it when I go out.

Here is the environmental insert: Meat takes ten times as much plant calories to produce the calories you actually consume. In a world where farming space is limited and people are multiplying, it makes more sense to eat plants directly than animals that eats those same plants. That isn’t the only aspect of the complex problems with farming, shipping food, and making sure the world is fed, but if you just look at the basic problem, more people can be fed off the limited farm land if all the land produced plants that were directly consumed by people. So please, consider cutting back your consumption of meat. Even a few meals a week that you eat vegetarian can make a difference. (Although if you are replacing meat with highly processed soy products that have the texture of meat, that switch may not make a difference from the energy perspective).

I think I eat pretty damn healthy. I eat a lot of vegetables and fruit, I tend to eat whole grain things over processed grains, I cook a lot of my food, I have reduced my consumption of sugared deserts, and I think I use less salt than other people when cooking. With that said, I also like beer a lot and I like being full.

So I’m not perfect, darn.

I recently got “Food Rules” by Michael Pollan, and I think these 64 rules are a good summary of my basic beliefs about foods. Other books I really valued reading were “The End of Overeating” by David Kessler and “Food Matters” by Mark Bittman, which is half cookbook, half compilation of food related info. I think one of the more interesting perspectives these books provide is that the food we eat today is driven by what the government promotes and subsidizes, which is driven by companies who want to make money, not by people who know about health.

Categories: nutrition
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: