Aaron E. Carroll, a professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine has written a new article for the New York Times health section and it deals entirely with what we should and shouldn’t be eating.
What I love about the article is that is it so vague- it really leaves a lot open to personal choice.
First of all, nothing is being labeled by Dr. Carroll as “the bad guy”. Which, I think, makes sense.
The thing is, these days it can be hard to tell what’s bad for us and what isn’t. There really does seem to be a study to support any point of view: red meat is terrible for us as it causes cancer, but it’s good as we need more iron, fruit is great to eat for breakfast as it increases our fiber and nutrients, but horrible as it has “all that sugar”.
One can run in circles trying to find the end.
So, what to do. Dr. Carroll has a few extremely sensible rules to apply to your own eating, to make for a healthier life.
His major focus is on eating less-far less- processed foods, and on eating more food that hasn’t been altered in any way before you buy it.
So, fresh fruits and veggies, meat, eggs, fish, butter, cheese: everything is a-go. Salt and fat aren’t the enemy, he says, (I agree! Look at the French!) but should be used to complete home cooked meals so that they are tasty and satisfying. Use what you need, it’s advised, and stay within normal limits. Simply don’t go overboard.
When it comes to beverages, remember that water reigns supreme. Drinking coffee, alcohol, and anything with calories in it- even milk, he recommends- should be taken as an exception to the rule and ingested in moderation.
And if you like eating out at restaurants, just remember to apply the same rules you would to your eating at home. Listen to your body. It’s easier to over eat when you eat out, as the portions are so big. Follow the rules regarding processed foods and eat primarily at restaurants that prepare their food from scratch. They aren’t hard to find, and if you feel that they are too expensive, look for another. Diners can offer great, simple meals cooked from scratch at a fantastic price.
So, ditch the processed burgers and fries but eat non-processed food you like and you will be eating a healthier diet.
Amidst all these bits of advice, Dr. Carroll also has one recommendation that is the most fun.
When it comes to meals, eating at home with family and friends is the best way to go, states Dr. Carroll. The benefits can be multiple. Inviting in guests can work to motivate us to cook more often, and eating with people we care for will keep us both happy and healthy.
Healthier and happier and eating great food: sounds like a good recipe to me.
To follow more of Dr. Carroll’s ideas, check out his blog on health research and policy at The Incidental Economist.