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Eat Food, Not too Much, Mostly Plants…only shop at The Farmers Market

Posted Sep 12 2008 11:42am

The big buzz for those that write consistently about food and nutrition (and presumably know more about it than I do) is an article from the New York Times titled: Unhappy Meals.

Long, long article, distilled down to, “Eat Food, Not too Much, Mostly Plants."

A number of bloggers have tackled simplifying the details. Moms and many other forms of life just DON'T HAVE TIME, or the attention span, to work through 12 online pages. Both Slashfoods and Silicon Valley Moms do a reasonable job, but I thought I should take a stab at it, after my post on organics over the weekend.

Here’s my take:

- Cut down on meat

- Buy as few processed foods as is humanly possible for a parent (Start your grocery shopping at the farmer’s market or produce section, then go from there)

- Diversify – buy lots of different vegetables and fruits and ignore the whining when your kids say, “What is this!!??”

Not too much new here, but I was struck by the following statement:

Simplification has occurred at the level of species diversity, too. The astounding variety of foods on offer in the modern supermarket obscures the fact that the actual number of species in the modern diet is shrinking. For reasons of economics, the food industry prefers to tease its myriad processed offerings from a tiny group of plant species, corn and soybeans chief among them. Today, a mere four crops account for two-thirds of the calories humans eat.

When you consider that humankind has historically consumed some 80,000 edible species, and that 3,000 of these have been in widespread use, this represents a radical simplification of the food web. Why should this matter? Because humans are omnivores, requiring somewhere between 50 and 100 different chemical compounds and elements to be healthy. It’s hard to believe that we can get everything we need from a diet consisting largely of processed corn, soybeans, wheat and rice.


Having worked as Director of Marketing for a very large food company, I shouldn’t be so surprised at the first part of this. I already knew that we seem to exist mostly on corn, since it used both for cooking oil and high fructose corn syrup (sugar). I didn’t realize however that only 3 additional crops made up the bulk of the rest.

Sigh, The Hamster is in for it now! It’s salad time, sweetie.


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