Knowledge is Power When Selecting Food—and taking control of your health

Why has eating become so confusing?  Making what should be a simple decision about what to eat has become almost paralyzing—given the abundance of food options and contrasting opinions on what foods are best for health.

In this video from Vox, Ezra Klein sits down with Mark Bittman to discuss the basics of the American food system… in 12 minutes.  I share it with you superwomen because understanding the system of food in America gives you the power to take control of your health. It´s worth your valuable time.

In case you can´t see the whole interview, I highlighted selected quotes worth sharing. 

Veteran cooking writer Mark Bittman talks food in America and its relationship to healthcare, regulation, and the environment. Hosted by Ezra Klein for Vox.

Inexpensive versUs cheap food
(minute 00:18)

“Americans spend 7% of their household income on food which is not just less than people in developing countries but it´s also less than people in the UK, less than people in France, less than people in Belgium, less than people in essentially any other industrialized nation.”
– Ezra Klein

“You could spend a really small portion of your income on food, and you’re basically buying calories; you are not buying nutrition, and that’s a deadly thing to be doing.”
– Mark Bittman

 

Losing sight of the big picture—real food
(minute 02:12)

“We know what it is that we ought to be eating. It´s more fruits and vegetables and less animal products and processed stuff. Let´s talk about that. Let´s set the local and organic and micro-greens aside and say if you like that stuff; if you can afford that stuff, more power to you, but the important thing is that everyone focus on eating real food.”
– Mark Bittman

“If you want to live a healthy life and you want to live into your eighties or even into your nineties and not develop diabetes, it´s important when you are young to be eating well—eating less processed foods and less junk and so on.”
– Mark Bittman

Choosing what to eat
(minute 04:55)

“It just has become, I think, incredibly stressful, honestly, to eat and feel like you are not screwing someone or something over—possibly yourself—very badly.”
– Ezra Klein

I think it goes back in a way to, if you are eating whole food, real food, natural—there´s really no good word for it—but real food, you are definitely reducing your carbon footprint—I mean unprocessed food versus processed food. You are definitely making less of an environmental impact, and you are also eating better for yourself. So by choosing—a little corny sounding— to increase the amount of plants and other real foods in your diet, you are both helping the planet and helping yourself.”
– Mark Bittman

 

The humane treatment of animals
(minute 09:48)

“More and more people are seeing—or at least were seeing before laws were passed to try to keep people from seeing—just how badly animals are treated. I´ve said this for years, if you are going to produce animals like widgets, you´re going to lose your own soul. We produce 8 or 10 billion animals a year, it’s a really big number, and we eat that meat as if it didn´t matter and it does matter, and it matters not only from an environmental health perspective but from— cruelty is a little abstract, but we are responsible.” - Mark Bittman

 

Take-Away Message

In my opinion, the take-away message from this interview is to keep it real.

  1. Understand the direct association between your food and your health and the health of the planet.
  2. Prioritize your health. Take the time to buy and prepare real foods more often. The time and money you spend in prioritizing whole food nutrition will pay off in all aspects of your health and well-being.
  3. Focus on the big picture, rather than micromanaging the minutia of your diet, and shift towards eating more plants and less meat.

As Mark Bittman acknowledged, we basically know what foods we should be eating—more fruits and vegetables and less animal foods.