“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
This is my favorite Michael Pollan quote, which sums up his dietary advice in three concise sentences. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with Michael Pollan, he is a food writer for the New York Times and has written books such as The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food, both of which I own and love.
Pollan believes that most dietary related health problems come from over-consumption of processed foods. One of the guidelines he recommends is to avoid processed foods with more than 5 ingredients and that contain high fructose corn syrup. These tend to be markers for foods that are highly processed. He also says to avoid foods that your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food– Go-Gurt, breakfast cereal bars, non-dairy creamer — stay away!!
For five days this week (starting tomorrow) I am going to try eating Micheal Pollan style by not consuming anything with more than 5 ingredients or that contain high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils, or artificial sweeteners. This shouldn’t be an extreme change from my normal diet because I generally try to eat whole foods rather than processed foods, but I will definitely be making some sacrifices.
What I can’t eat:
- Boxed cereal- I didn’t find any dry cereals at the grocery store that had less than five ingredients. Kashi cereals all have more than 5, and even Publix Bran Flakes have high fructose corn syrup.
- Luna bars, Cliff bars, Odwalla bars, etc- Way more than 5 ingredients. However, Larabars are OK!
- Store bought bread- Don’t pass the 5 ingredient test. Most have high fructose corn syrup. This week I will be eating my own freshly baked bread! (See end of post!!)
- Yogurt- Homemade yogurt would pass the test, but I’m not going to make my own yogurt. The ones I like from the store have too many sweeteners.
- Most of my favorite ice creams- except Breyer’s Natural Vanilla only had 5!!!! I looked at sooo many ingredient labels trying to find an ice cream that passes this test. (Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla has high fructose corn syrup- that surprised me- and other Breyer’s vanilla flavors like “vanilla bean,” “extra creamy vanilla,” and “slow churned” had extra additives. I couldn’t believe how complicated vanilla ice cream could be!)
- Chips, pretzels, crackers- or basically anything that comes in a box.
- Girl Scout Cookies
- Kashi frozen dinners- love these, but too many ingredients. This week I will be cooking!
- Canned whipped cream- I love Redi Whip! But not this week.
- Sabra Hummus- too many preservatives.
What I can eat:
- Fruits and veggies- I just bought some bananas, pineapple, apples, dried figs, peppers, sweet potatoes, corn, and avocado.
- Breyer’s Natural Vanilla Ice Cream- The only one I saw with just five ingredients: Milk, Cream, Sugar, Natural flavor, Natural tara gum.
- Any baked homemade good- I don’t bake with partially hydrogenated oils or high fructose corn syrup. Anything I bake with natural, whole foods is okay to eat.
- Meat from the deli- I bought some oven roasted turkey sliced at the deli. I’m assuming that the freshly cut deli meat doesn’t have too many preservatives.
- Oats- I will definitely be making a lot of oatmeal this week!
- Beans- black beans, chick peas, etc.
- Tribe All Natural Classic Hummus- I thought about making my own hummus, but then this was on sale, and tahini is expensive. Ingredients: Chickpeas, Canola Oil, Sesame Tahini, Sea salt, Citric acid, Spices. Okay, so this is actually 6 ingredients, but it beat Sabra. I’m making a small exception…
- Organic Cheese- I bought some organic sliced Muenster for sandwiches. The non-organic brands had too many preservatives.
Not sure how alcohol fits into this plan, but I’m pretty sure Pollan would approve of a glass of wine or beer. But I’m only doing this for 5 days, so I will probably just avoid alcohol.
To prepare for the week, I decided to attempt to make my own bread! I used Zesty Cook’s recipe for Quick and Easy Whole Wheat Bread. All that is in it is yeast, water, honey, molasses, whole wheat flour, and wheat germ. I also sprinkled oats on top. Can’t get much more natural than that. But I forgot to buy molasses, so I substituted more honey instead. I also decided to omit the wheat germ (didn’t have any) and add ground flax!
I had some extra dough that didn’t fit in my bread pan, so a made some rolls on a cookie sheet
This was super easy to make, but when I was cooking it, I was having problems with it getting really crispy on the outside while still being wet and doughy on the inside. I cut off an end piece when it was hot out of the oven, and I really liked the crispy crust, but I’m worried that the inside is a little too doughy. Hopefully, it will cook a little more as it cools. I know that flax can be used as a fat substitute when mixed with water, so I wonder if added flax could make it too doughy?? Despite the doughiness, it is still pretty freakin’ delicious, and I am excited about eating it this week!!
I also found some delicious looking healthy recipes that use really fresh ingredients to try this week for dinners, so stay tuned!!