Food rules - yes, you need them in the USA


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The food and eating culture in the US is damaging to your health and general well-being to say the least. Processed foods are everywhere and good, healthy, clean food is scarce.Sitting down at the table having a home cooked meal is considered an exotic habit here where people prefer to bring food home that they eat standing up, normally only using their hands and fingers as utensils. Unhealthy snacks with extremely poor nutritional value such ad bread sticks, fried processed chicken meat, and so called salads are served as school lunch here, together with a sweet drink and a cookie. I strongly recommend the book  Food Rules for you who wants to reconnect to the Scandinavian life style. If you have americanized kids, discussing every rule, at the dinner table, is a great way to prepare them for a healthy life.

It is difficult to make the kids maintain the good eating habits from Sweden but we try to sit down at our dinner table every night and have home cooked food based on meat and vegetables. The latest book by Michael Pollan professor of Science and Environmental Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley is genious and such a good support for us to maintain a sound and sustainable eating culture here in the USA. After only five years in this country it is amazing that we now recognise rules we never should have thought about in Sweden, such as rule 58, do all your eating at a table. Who would have thought of that in Sweden! Pollan, lists many other good rules in his book Food Rules, An Eater's Manual. Very good rules we already try to stick to are, don’t buy any food you see advertised on television. The S-policy is another great rule and reflects how i grew up, no snacks, not sweets, no seconds except on days that begin with an S. Easy to understand and remember and easy to follow.
In an interview on the radio program Democracy Now, Michael Pollan explains how the food industry is making money by "So, for example, a potato is 69 cents a pound, OK? Not a lot of money. But Terra Yukon Gold French fries—I’m sorry, potato chips, come to $10.37 a pound, OK? A lot of value added simply by slicing and frying in oil and marketing beautifully and having a nice bag. So the tendency is going to be to complicate foods. That’s how you make money". It really makes sense to buy uncomplicated and unprocessed food. Another rule of Pollan's is therefore to buy food that come from plants, but not out of a plant. And really it makes sense, both to your health and to your food budget.
Processed food is unfortunately a staple diet for many families in the USA. It was an eye opener to see the youtube clip of the British cook James Oliver visit an elementary school in West Virginia, he showed the kids tomatoes and potatoes and they did not know what it was. I guess if you have fries that comes out of a box all the time you cannot know what a potatoe looks like. These kids must be the optimal consumers for the food industry, they will accept just about anything that is presented to them in bags or boxes and they are completely helpless because they cannot cook themselves. Here is another smart rule from the Food Rules that is very easy to follow, do not eat anything that comes out of a box. Another easy to follow rule that will benefit your health and economy.
Eating out of a box brings me back to the school lunches, Michael Pollen claims in his Democracy Now interview that the surplus of pork due to the swine flu scare is now surved as a variety of processed dishes to the American school children as no one else wanted the meat. Is this the way the US value their children, like little trash bins that should eat what no one else wants?

I will again, try to make my middle school student to bring a lunch bag with nutricious food to school. It must be cool to eat right at school!

Read the whole interview with Michael Pollan here http://www.democracynow.org/2010/2/8/michael_pollan_on_food_rules_an

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