Pasadena Learning Gardens

Resourcing communities to create a healthier more sustainable future

What Should I Eat?

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So what should I eat?

Recommending a specific diet is very challenging given how different we all are.  Instead of making a lot of specific recommendations, we think it’s best to follow some basic guidelines that are easy to remember and practice in real life.  Here are two basic models that should be considered.  We’re convinced the best options lie somewhere in the space between them.  Also note that we believe the best course for you is unique to you, your history and your environment.

1. Michael Pollan through three books has identified three top-level rules which we champion:

  1. Eat Food – real food, not processed, what grandma would recognize
  2. Mostly Plants – meat is a side dish, and nothing is better than lots of leafy dark greens
  3. Not too much – more was better for most of our history, but not any longer

Here is a more detailed version of Michael Pollan’s, narrowed down to 10 Rules You Should Follow.  For the most complete guide to Michael Pollan’s theory, check out his books Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual and  In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto

2. Another excellent model was developed by Joel Fuhrman and is described in his book Eat to Live.  Fuhrman is a doctor who gets the hard cases, and when everyone starts using the term morbid to describe one’s obesity, it really is a matter of life or death.  He addresses the psychological/motivational issues around eating by opening each chapter with a compelling case study.   He looks at food based on nutrients and fiber per calorie, not per serving or by weight.  He believes that we should choose foods based on their nutrient density.  In a nutshell, he encourages us to eliminate grains, starchy vegetables, meat and dairy and to choose lots of veggies and some fruits.

We would also note: Although we would generally recommend eating organic, when price is an issue and conventionally grown food needs to be incorporated, there are certain foods that are more important to get organic than others from a health perspective.   Here is Dr. Weil’s  list of foods that you want organically grown. and there is a link to the healthy 15.  Also, we would encourage you to purchase organic eggs, meat, peanut butter, baby food, cereal, and milk (and we prefer raw).


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