Monday, February 5, 2007


Nutrition and diet. Everyone wants to lose weight and/or look and feel good. Look at the Biggest Loser. Losing weight is now a game. Atkins ran laughing to the bank. The South Beach guy is happily counting his money. The diet industry generates billions of dollars of revenue every year.

I'm tall. I'm thin. I have good genes. I drag myself out of bed to go to spin class twice a week. These facts I won't deny. I also eat pretty much everything that I want to. Generally (and luckily), I like salads, lean meat, vegetables, fruit and chocolate. I also occasionally partake in In-n-Out burgers, southern pulled pork sandwiches, ice cream cones and pizza.

Every now an then, people ask me how I stay thin. Luckily, I find a creative outlet in cooking so I make pretty healthy food at home. I cook lots of vegetables, and eat a lot of rice. Lately, I've taken to *gasp!* using simmer sauces from Trader Joe's with some chicken and vegetables. But, after reading an article in the New York Times today, I'm going to have to check the list of ingredients on the sauces.

Michael Pollan wrote a great essay in the New York Times*. It's about eating FOOD. Real food. Not food out of boxes or processed a million times and injected with nutrients, but FOOD. Not food that claims to be lower in fat/sugar to make you thin, but FOOD. Like your great-great-great grandmother ate (the author says your mom might not know enough about real FOOD). FOOD like I eat most of the time like brown rice, leafy greens, chicken, carrots and nuts. FOOD that helps keep me thin! And healthy!

I'm ecstatic. This is what I've been telling people for years! I eat what I want because what I want is usually real FOOD. When I was younger, I was allergic to ALL of the fun foods except peanut butter. Milk, wheat and eggs. There are very few junk foods without those ingredients. (See: rice krispie treats and Doritos) Maybe this is where I got my great love for watermelon and peaches, which, in season, I'd take any day over a bowl of ice cream. Maybe I love rice so much because I'm part Japanese and it was on the table at every meal instead of bread. Maybe I like chicken more than beef because that's what my mom made. Maybe I like FOOD because it tastes like FOOD and not chemicals. I can't wait for this to catch on with the rest of America.

But, if the diet industry has anything to do with it, people will still eat out of boxes and bottles and cans instead of from the local farmer's market. People will continue to balloon and health epidemics skyrocket. In the meantime, I'll tell anyone who asks that I eat everything I want. I guess I'm just lucky it's almost always real FOOD.

*Unfortunately, since I read it, the article is now in the archives, which requires a Times Select membership. It is titled "Unhappy Meals."

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