No More Dieting: The Middle Path, Part 2

No More Dieting: The Middle Path, Part 2

In this episode, I discuss my rediscovery of real food. Yet what does that mean? What is real food versus fake food or Frankenfoods?

Links to the books I discuss:

Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food:

Nina Planck’s Real Food:

Gina Mallet’s Last Chance to Eat:

Key topics:

✔️ My weight loss and health & wellness journey has been slow, which is completely different from crash diets.
✔️ Our eating and exercise habits can re-trigger emotional trauma. Be aware of that.
✔️ Most fad diets recommend food consumption below the threshold of the Minnesota Starvation Experiment! Don’t believe me? Google it and read about it for yourself.
✔️ As I said in the last episode: Always talk to your doctor FIRST before you make any changes to your own eating habits and/or exercise routine. Don’t get in a hurry and cause more harm than good.

Need more? Email me:


Transcription by  Please forgive any typos!


Welcome to the Causey Consulting podcast. You can find us online anytime at And now, here’s your host, Sara Causey. Hello, Hello, and thanks for tuning in. So this week’s episode is a continuation of last week’s episode titled no more dieting, the middle path. I wanted to really dedicate an episode all its own to this concept of real food. As some of you living in other parts of the world that tune in on a regular basis may laugh at this. But I think for an American audience, unfortunately, it has gotten more and more difficult to determine what is real food, what’s fake food? What should we be eating? What should we not be eating? And, and I’m sure that my ancestors are probably listening to this going, Wow, what on earth has happened down there. Because two to three generations ago, depending upon what part of the country that you’re in, people were very intimately connected to the earth, they knew exactly where their food was coming from, they knew exactly what had and had not been done to it. But as things have gotten more and more industrialized, and we’ve gotten further and further away from the natural cycle of things, people have also gotten removed from that knowledge of the food chain, as well as just general knowledge of the seasons and the way that the Earth was sort of meant to operate. So before I get too far into this episode, I am going to reiterate my boilerplate language. I am not a doctor, a nurse, a health coach, a nutritionist, a dietitian, and nutrition scientist, etc. So it’s very important that you take into consideration your own individual health profile. Before you think about making any changes to your diet, or your exercise habits. You want to make sure that you have a conversation with your physician, someone who knows what medications you’re on, they know what underlying health issues that you may have, they have a good understanding of who you are and what your individual needs are. Don’t listen to the podcast and throw caution to the wind, you want to be smart and sensible about the decisions you make. There are a few books that I want to recommend. I will drop links to these books in the write up for this podcast episode. And I will also talk about each of them in more detail but sort of in respect to not burying my thesis, here they are. One is in defense of food by Michael Pollan. Another is real food, what to eat and why by Nina plank. And the third is last chance to eat the fate of taste in a fast food world by Jean amount. Obviously, there are many others in the same vein. These are just three that I in particular wanted to highlight for this episode. A little bit of backstory on what led me to these books the first time around now, Gina Mallet s book last chance to eat is recent discovery for me. But th works of Michael Pollan and Nin Planck are not. When I was in y 20s, I had a job where I work d a lot of overtime, and I al o had a long commute. I was stu k in the car for a long ti e getting to work. And then I w s stuck primarily in a cubicle t my job. Now there were tim s that I would have to get up a d move around and go out to t e shop and do more manual task . But for the most part, I w s stuck at a cubicle. And then I would have the long drive ba k home and I would be tired fr m working. I mean, there’s real y a difference between bei g mentally and emotionally drain d from the day versus having do e some sort of physical labo , physical activity. I mean, I really think the best of bo h worlds is when you can lay do n in the bed at night, your bo y has had a good amount f physical activity, your mind h s been stimulated and you’re tir d on all levels, not exhauste , not completely depleted, b t just tired and ready to have a good night’s sleep. But so oft n what happens in the Weste n world is we’re sat at a desk a l day, I’m no wonder people s y that sitting is the new smokin . I mean, we’re sat at a desk a l day, living in a very sedenta y type of way. We sit down on t e couch, and then we watch TV a l night. I’ve heard a number f Europeans who have either co e over here for like a bei g shamed students or they’ve co e over here for a period of ti e on a work visa, and they ta k about Americans as cou h potatoes. This idea of we sit t work and then instead of havi g hobbies or going out and doi g something active after work r before work in the morning, e just sit on the couch and wat h TV until we go to bed. There’s a lot of sitting involved n American culture. Of course, t e counterpoint to that s Americans work a lot. You kno , there’s this stereotype f Europe is okay, I’ll we’ll e out of the office for August a d September, you can email me n October, you’ll never hear fr m me, who were the two months th t I’m out of the office, t e working arrangement is qui e different. Americans, I thin , are much more given o workaholism, I hope that thin s will change. I’ve read a l t about the great resignatio , where a lot of people are sayi g To hell with this, they’ e they’re not willing to go ba k to the office, they’re n t willing to go back to a dangerous commute, to sit but n seat and an office when they’ e proven all during the pandem c that they’re capable of doi g their job from home. So we’ l see how this plays out. And I look forward to recording n episode about that. Because I think as more people in th s country just say, No, no o e rules if no one obeys, if peop e just sort of unite together a d say, no, we’re not going to o be but in seat in office jo s that don’t require it. If y u are an auto mechanic, or a waiter or waitress, you need o be physically present in t e space that you work in. I g t it. For a lot of people, thoug , that’s not the case. And I thi k if we can sort of put the mo e extroverted people to the si e and say, Look, if you guys wa t to all go hang out and sha e your germs with each othe , that’s cool. Y’all Do y’all. B t the rest of us kind of li e being at home and not bei g stuck in a cubicle all day. B t I digress. So at that point n my life, I was doing a lot f sitting and a lot of commutin , and it was a sedentary life. A d even though I was young, I wou d be so tired. And to give you n idea of how bad it got at time . You know, I remember working a lot of overtime. And being o tired, I had calculated o t precisely what time I needed o get up in the morning in ord r to have any shot of making it o work on time. And I rememb r like crawling out of the bed a d getting into the shower, a d like lathering myself up wi h body wash and then just layi g down and letting gravity and t e water run over my body, my tir d body to get all the suds of . And then it was sort of li e that was my equivalent f hitting the snooze button in t e morning. Instead of doing that I would just lay under the wa m shower water and try to gath r myself for the day. And I wou d get up out of the shower a d start caffeinated. Like Alrigh , how much how much caffeine can I consume without giving myse f some sort of heart trauma. A d after a little while of doi g this and been perpetual y gaining weight, getting a litt e heavier and a little heavier a d just feeling sluggish a d bloated and not optimal. I thought I’m too young to fe l this old. I feel decrepit. Y u know, I don’t I don’t understa d what’s going on with my body. o it became important to me o make health and wellness more f a focus in my life. Now, I w s still pretty given to extrem s at that point in my life. o unfortunately, I went about t the wrong way. I made a lot f insane decisions with my di t and exercise, I was in a b g hurry to try to lose weight. A d I would do these backbreaki g workouts I would work out ev n when I was sick. I mean, I d d some some insane things to lo e weight and that I don t recommend. So in the early pa t of my 30s I started readi g these books like the Omnivore s Dilemma and in defense of fo d by Michael Pollan. I also re d real food by Nina plank and t started a journey in me of, y u know, all of these frankenfoo s seem to be suspect, you I can I can remember times of eati g things that had a health ha o around them, they said lean r they said diet or they sa d healthy, but you could eat t and it would taste li e cardboard. And then with n almost no time you were hung y again. It was it was I’ e started to feel like that sce e in Bullitt where Steve McQu en goes in the in the store and he buys like TV dinners for ev ry night of the week. It was li e, you know how many of th se cardboard dinners or am I go ng to have to eat in order to f el full? Well, that can’t be a g od thing. I mean, to me, if you it down and have a meal you sho ld feel sated, not stuff l ke Thanksgiving dinner, but ou know, also not hungry in an h ur either. I knew like the peo le on the infomercials, there as to be a better way. Someth ng that became very important to me was to learn how to prope ly cook, and I did so by watch ng Gordon Ramsay show the F w rd the British version, not he weird abomination that they c me out with for American audienc s. That was really nothing like he British version. But the Brit sh show that aired I think it w s, it might have been on on ITV I don’t remember but I as fortunate enough to be able to track down some DVDs of the s ow and I really enjoyed it. But he encourages people to get back in the kitchen to learn how to Cook, not to be dependent on fast food and takeout and t ke away and TV dinners. And he proves that you can cook g od food in a way that’s fast. ou don’t have to stand over he stove for hours and hours. ou don’t have to make complica ed gourmet cuisine. If you do ‘t want to, you can cook thi gs that are simple that your k ds will enjoy your picky spo se will enjoy. Like there really is something for everyone that ou can make. And then you’ll k ow exactly what’s been done to he food, you won’t have to j st rely on getting something out of a drive thru window. And ou know, it’s loaded with tr ns fats and salts and suga s, you’ll you’ll know exac ly what’s been done to the fo d. That show helped me tremendously. And I really be an to clean up my diet. Now w th that being said, I still ad some rather head in the clo ds tactical mistakes that I as making. And that’s one of he reasons why I wanted to rec rd this episode was to really s rt of pull the curtain back nd say, Here were the mistakes t at I made at that point in time I felt like anything that ad organic or all natural no preservatives, no high fruct se corn syrup on the label as automatically good. So I as still buying things l ke desserts and cereals and st re bought bread. You know, as l ng as it appeared to have he health halo around it, I as continuing to buy it. So in s me ways, I had done a really g od job of getting rid of thi gs that were cardboard that did ‘t have much nutritional value to speak of. But I was still eat ng a lot of sugar. I love sugar I mean not to say that I do ‘t like things that are salty or things that that have the mo my sort of fat response to the to the tastebuds. But, you know I like sugar. And I find that i ‘s almost like being a hummingb rd if you’re drinking a lot of sugary sodas, or even if they re they’re the diet sodas with he artificial sweeteners, the m re that you just sort of assa lt your palate with constant swe t, sweet, sweet, sweet, swe t. That’s what you want all he time, you begin to crave m re and more of those sweet tast s. And those types of bevera es tend to crowd out things l ke water, you know, or lik a healthy glass of wine, some s rt of healthy dairy drink or probiotics, you’re not drink ng those things, you’re drink ng the sugary or the fake sug ry soda pops. So at that point I was still consuming a lot of sugar, as well as fake sugar, as well as just empty carbs nd starches, things that did ‘t have much stick to the r bs where you know, you would ea a meal and you would feel full or a while but then you would be back in the kitchen aga n, rummaging around looking or something to graze on. So l ng story short, I fell off he wagon, I got back in the ha it of relying too much on st ff that I could microwave thi gs that I could make quickly, ot really having a good gauge of portion control. So I felt l ke throughout my 30s it was a it of a battle, I’d have th se periods of time where I wo ld lose a few pounds and then g in a few pounds back, especia ly during times of stress. I me n, once I got sucked into he insane world, that is th rd party contingency ba ed staffing, I felt like I had to put a lot of things in my l fe on hold, which definit ly included having the time to c ok meals and really be intentio al about the types of foods tha I was shopping for. And I k pt telling myself well, as soon as I get the hang of it. As soon as I learned the reins, as soon as I you know, make these deals nd get all this money. As soon as as soon as as soon as then I an go back to eating healthy. An I just started to get that cre p, you know, a few pounds a y ar and then a few pounds the n xt and a few pounds the next nd you know by the end of a deca e, you’ve gained 10 or 15 poun s. And it’s like, well, hell, t is isn’t what I meant to A few years ago, I worked with a health coach slash personal trainer. And one of the things that she had me do was to keep a food diary for a week. And she said don’t don’t edit anything. Don’t censor anything and don’t make any changes yet either. If you’re not sure about portions, then you will have to like weigh your protein servings and take measurements of the things that you’re eating. I need to know a clear picture, but dish out to yourself whatever you would normally be eating day in and day out because I can’t diagnose what’s going on if I don’t know the real picture. So I took meticulous measurements and and I didn’t cheat on anything. I didn’t know Okay, well I’m gonna eat a little fun size candy bar and just not tell her and it’ll be it’ll be my little secret. No, I didn’t do any of that. I was very honest about everything that was going on. And I turned the food diary in and she said you know it’s funny because this is light years away from what I normally see. We’re not having to have conversations about why it’s not healthy to have a Big Mac and french fries every single night or how having an An entire pizza with a two liter of soda pop every Sunday night, as you’re watching sports on TV is probably ruining the rest of your diet. Like we’re not, we’re not having to have those types of conversations. By and large, the stuff that you’re eating is pretty good. It’s pretty high quality. So I think it’s the portions, I think what you need to do is look at the sizes of what you’re dishing out to yourself, instead of having a six ounce steak, maybe you have a four ounce instead of having half a cup of something, maybe you dial it down to a third of a cup, and see if you can get full on less, because the stuff that you’re eating is not bad, you’re not picking out on junk food and candy bars and cookies and things. So I think it’s the portion control, I think it’s the portion sizes. And if you make some tweaks and changes there, I think you’ll be alright. And I’ll just cut to the chase and be very honest with you and say it for me, it didn’t help. I tried, I’m like, Okay, I’m going to white knuckle my way through this. And I’m going to hope for the best. And I’m going to see if this works out, I’m going to eat less, and follow her advice and see if I can do this. But for me, it felt like deprivation it It turned a lot of things emotionally. For me. So much of what goes on is about the emotional relationship that we have with food, especially if we had any kind of trauma in childhood, you know, if somebody picked on you about your size, made snide comments if you got bullied or teased at school, like all of a sudden, these these triggers can come back. Or if you’ve been in a situation of food and security that happened to my best friend Johnny, when he was a child, both of his parents were alcoholics. And sometimes they would work sometimes they wouldn’t. Sometimes there’ll be food in the house, a lot of times there wouldn’t. And he often as a child did not know where his next meal was going to come from. And so when he would spend the night at a friend’s house, or one of the neighbors would go, oh, gosh, I think I realized what’s going on over there. And they would invite him over for dinner or invite him to stay the night and have breakfast, just to make sure that he had you know, a safe place to be. And plenty of food, he would eat like crazy because he just didn’t know when when might I get a meal again? I don’t know. So we can have these emotional triggers that that take us back to a past event. And so for me this idea of like, okay, you need to pay more attention to your portions and then start cutting back triggered deprivation, you’re not good enough. You’re You’re ugly, you’re fat, You’re gross, you need to have better self control. Why did you let this happen? So it it, it was not effective. For me that was not the right strategy at the right time. And it caused a lot of emotional alarm bells to start going off. I started to see these people during the pandemic like Oh, look at me, I lost all this weight. Oh, look, I finally have six pack abs. And by that I mean like Hollywood actresses and singers and entertainers, people that literally have an entire team dedicated to making them look a certain way. They have their own personal chef and dietitians and nutritionists and personal trainers, it’s like all they have to do is show up. And then they just get whirled around and makeup and Photoshop and plastic surgery and they can look at really any way that they want to. And I thought, gosh, you know, as if this time period isn’t tough enough on people, now we’ve got this crap to look at. And it made me mad. So I’m like, Okay, well, the first thing you need to do is figure out figure out why is triggering you. For one thing, I’m not a big fan of the people who have been moralizing during the pandemic, like Will you have a view use the time during lockdown? Have you read 500 books? Have you become the next Albert Einstein or Stephen Hawking? Have you learned a foreign language or two or three or four? What have you done during the lockdown and it’s like, Look, pal, some people had to survive. Some people had to do whatever they needed to do to keep their house or to keep their car, keep the family together. Some people have lost family members or they’ve been violently ill themselves like the it wasn’t like the pandemic and the lockdowns with some kind of global block party or some kind of global neighborhood party where we all just stayed home and played music and drank beer and had fun. It was a crisis. It was a global pandemic. So it gets on my nerves to hear these people and go, what did you do? Did you become a better person after those like, Hey, we just had to survive, okay? And then also feels deceptive to me, that someone who has an entire team of professionals and millions upon millions of dollars to invest on their appearance, like it’s very difficult for the average person to keep up with a standard like that. After I unpacked my triggers, I thought, okay, but so what like, if somebody else has an entire team of people dedicated to making them look good, or they have an entire team of people that can assist them in losing a gazillion pounds in two months. So like, does that negate any possible steps that you could take? Does that absolve you from having to focus on your own health and wellness does that There’s nothing that you can do for yourself, except drown your sorrows in some cheeseburgers? No, of course not like you’re still responsible for your own life, and for doing what you have the capability of doing. From there, it became a decision of, okay, instead of looking at these people and going well, how nice for you, that you decided to become a fitness junkie, or some kind of workout Queen, during the pandemic, while the rest of us gained the quarantine 15. Like, do something about it. If you want to make changes in your own life, then you should do that. Quit focusing on everybody else and focus on yourself and ask yourself the question, what is it that I want. And I made the decision to go back to some of those books that I mentioned at the beginning real food by Nina plank, and in defense of food by Michael Pollan. And to get back in the kitchen, I did have time, I was no longer in the situation of having to commute it’s been lots and lots of time in the car be stuck in a cubicle somewhere under constant surveillance. When I take my lunch break, I actually can cook and prepare food if I want to, or I if I want to do meal prep, then I have the ability of doing that. On the weekend. I’m not in the situation that I was in before. And so part of what I needed to do was to suck it up, Quit making excuses and quit prioritizing other things in my life and to just make the time to do the cooking and the cleaning and the prep and and get get my head on straight. And just to be clear, this for me has not been a fast journey. So often when we go on fad diets, we lose a lot of weight, especially like water weight and bloating upfront. And then it gets more and more difficult. And we’re like having to white knuckle our way through something that makes us feel miserable. And I knew after reading Dr. Aamodt’s book why diets make us fat, and and reflecting on how miserable I had been during the yo yo dieting phases of my life. I knew that wasn’t a path I wanted to walk down again. I want to read a passage to you from Nina Planck’s book, real food. What is real food. My rough definition has two parts. First, real foods are old. These are foods we’ve been eating for a long time. In the case of meat, fish and eggs for millions of years. Some real foods such as butter are more recent. It’s not absolutely clear when regular dairy farming began, but we’ve been eating butterfat for at least 10,000 years, perhaps as many as 40,000. By contrast, margarine hydrogenated vegetable oil made solid and dyed yellow to resemble traditional butter is a modern invention. nearly a century old. margarine is not a real food. Second, real foods are traditional to me traditional means the way we used to eat them. That means different things for different ingredients. Fruits and vegetables are best when they’re local and seasonal grains should be whole fats and oils unrefined. From the farm to the factory to the kitchen, real food is produced and prepared the old fashioned way, but not out of mere nostalgia. In each of these examples of real food, the traditional method of farming, processing, preparing and cooking enhances nutrition and flavor while the industrial method diminishes both. And then she goes on to read out things like beef, milk, eggs, lard, olive oil, tofu, bread and grits as the raw whole forms of these things are better than if you go and buy them at a fast food joint or someplace where they’ve been processed to all hell. I want to read another passage from the same book. The food industry is highly competitive and relentlessly innovative producing 1000s of new food products every year. Most of these new foods are merely new combinations of old ingredients dressed in a new shape. individually wrapped cheese slices instead of the traditional we’ll have pressed cheese or new packaging, whipped cream and an aerosol can. Or the new recipe that has been tweaked to ride the latest food Gray’s cholesterol free cheese or low carbohydrate bagels. Real Food on the other hand doesn’t change because it doesn’t have to my morning yogurt is a masterfully simple recipe for cultured milk passed down for 1000s of years. So that’s my custom definition of real food. It’s old, and it’s traditional, and quote in the book, she talks about growing up on a farm and eating things that were homegrown and traditional as a child and then deciding later in life that all of that was bunk and that she needed to have a virtuous diet. I want to read that passage to you because I think a lot of us, regardless of gender or age can relate to it. I know I certainly can’t. A typical teenage girl I was anxious about all sorts of things and place my anxiety squarely on what else food. The experts said that many of the foods I grew up on like Yorkshire pudding topped with a pool of hot butter. Were unhealthy. The Smart advice was to be a little bit more vegetarian eat less meat, less dairy and less saturated fat. The medical wisdom began to dovetail with our somewhat alternative subculture, our farming friends and the college students who worked on our farm each summer, were health conscious and green. In those circles being a vegetarian better yet a vegan was environmentally nutritionally and ethically correct. In quote, she talks about the things that primarily made up her diet during that point in time, which were things like fruits and vegetables, brown rice and beans, whole wheat bread, imitation foods with soy and rice, and then things that she ate a lot of by her own admission, juices and nonfat frozen yogurt. I want to read to you the passage about how this made her feel. As for my health, I felt terrible. My digestion was poor and I was Moody, tearful, tender in all the wrong places before I got my period. In cold and flu season, I got both. I was depressed to partly to stave off the gloom. I ran three to six miles a day, six days a week on this virtuous regimen. I also gained weight steadily and before I knew it, I was plump. How plump? Well, women and weight is a treacherous topic. No one agrees on the definitions and people get touchy. So I’ll try to be objective. I’m almost five feet five inches tall and weigh 119 to 125 pounds, much of it muscle. In my vegetarian days I was 147 pounds and soft all over. That’s a body mass index or BMI of almost 25 squarely in the overweight category. And quote, I can relate to this because I have been on the so called virtuous diets myself. I did have a vegetarian stage in my life for I think it was maybe two or two and a half years and I went through exactly what Nina is describing I was pale and anemic and I felt rundown quite a lot of the time I was also pretty dewy and pretty soft in the middle and eating a lot of fake foods, imitation things that had been made out of soy or fake meats and fake cheeses and fake whatever it was just it was a lot of subsisting on things that were phony and look at your decision is completely your own. You may be for medical reasons or for ethical reasons on a vegetarian or vegan diet. I believe there are plenty of ways to do that in a healthy manner where you’re actually eating real nutritious foods. Unfortunately, for me, I wasn’t I was eating a lot of Franken foods and and fake things that made me feel less than optimal. While I like Michael Pollan’s books, I would not say that I worship at the altar of Michael Pollan. Some people read his books as though they are some kind of gospel truth sit down, like the tablets on Mount Sinai. I disagree. I think there’s a lot of good information. And I would really, as one of my mentors used to say, I would really recommend that you use it as information for your decision making, but that you don’t treat it like it’s gospel, do this gun to your head, or else I just don’t feel that way about Pollan’s work. I mean, the central thesis in in defense of food is this eat food, not too much, mostly plants. I’m in complete agreement with him when it comes to eat food, eat real, actual food, not the frankenfoods or the food like products, as he calls them, things that have been pressed and shaped and distorted and packaged to look like food. Things that are mostly in the middle of the supermarket, not around the periphery, not in the fruits and vegetables, Produce Section meats, the cheeses, the things that anybody would recognize as being actual food, but the things that are in the middle, that come in boxes and packages that have all kinds of artificial sweeteners and flavors and colors and who has and doodads to get the kids interested? That’s not really a safe zone. Again, I agree with him on that. Not too much. What does that mean? How can there really be a consensus on what is not too much? Too much too little? I mean, there’s I feel like there has been so much research on these starvation diets, how they don’t work in the long run, and they make you feel terrible, they crash your immune system. So for me, I take a little bit of about that, in my opinion, as well as my own direct experience. If your diet is making you wake up in the middle of the night hungry, you go to bed hungry, you think about food constantly. your entire life revolves around Oh my God, when can I eat again? I’ve already had all of the carbs I’m allowed or I’ve already had like 80% of my calories for the day and my stomach is growling and I feel like dog poop. I really need to eat it. Food is just like boop boop boop boop boop is your constant thought. And it’s because you’re on one of these extreme low carb or low carb or low whatever the hell diets. I mean, to me that represents a problem. It’s a horrible way to live. And you don’t just have to take my word for it. Go to Google and type in the Minnesota starvation. Paramount and read about it. In the Second World War, a group of conscientious objectors were asked to volunteer for medical research. And in one of the studies, the young men were put on these very restrictive diets to figure out how we could treat victims of mass starvation in Europe. And in case you’re wondering, okay, but what were the parameters around that? What what would that even look like? Well, I’ll tell you, like many hungry people in Europe, the men had never had meat and calories were set at 1800 or less. So think about the last time that you were on one of those highly restrictive diets, I’m willing to bet that you were eating a hell of a lot less than 1800 calories. I know I’ve been on some of them before that wanted you to be somewhere in the 1000 to 1200 range. Now again, it may be that your doctor has you on a special diet, so that you can have surgery of some kind or you can have gastric bypass. I’m not sitting here telling you to subvert your doctor’s advice. I’m not talking to people that are in some sort of medical situation. I’m talking to those of us who have been yo yo dieting and wondering why in the hill, starvation doesn’t work in the long run. It just doesn’t. So that’s one of the reasons why I sort of nitpick or bristle a little bit at Michael Pollan’s idea of not too much because I get it you know, obesity is at an all time high. There are plenty of people out there that are doing the supersize me they go to fast food joints every day, they hold pizzas, they drink multiple liters of soda pop. But there are a lot of the rest of us that aren’t doing that we’re not having like a Roman emperors banquet. Every time we sit down at the table, we’re just trying to figure out why the hell can I lose these pounds, there’s something going on, I would also sort of take a little bone of contention with mostly plants. For some people, eating a plant based diet makes them feel full, they feel satisfied, they don’t have any health ramifications from it. For other people, they have difficulty with anemia, with hair loss with osteoporosis. So talk to your doctor and listen to your body. Our genes are different. Yes, we’re all human beings, but our genes expressed differently. And we come from different parts of the world, we have different traditional diets that would make sense to our genetics. So I would agree with him that we should be eating real food and not fake stuff. But I don’t necessarily know where we draw the line on not too much, mostly plants. Again, his book is still very much worth reading. But I would caution you against taking it as some kind of gospel. A book that I have discovered in recent times that has become like a revelation for me is the food critic Gina malletts book last chance to eat the fate of taste in a fast food world. I actually learned about this book from Nina plank, otherwise, I’m not sure I would have ever discovered it. But it has been amazing. And I think even before Michael Pollan started to tackle this topic, Gina Mallett was talking about health ism, people getting obsessed with macronutrients. And instead of eating for pleasure, or eating for an overall sense of health and well being eating for something very specific, now this food has got to have vitamin A, and this one needs to have vitamin C. And I need to make sure that I count my carbs today. And then I also need to make sure that I steer clear of too much saturated fat like how it became some sort of health obsession, some way of beating mortality, so that you could live forever if you just ate the right foods or the right magical combination of foods. And it’s like a toy. Give me a break. There are some places in the book where she peppers in no pun intended, she peppers in recipes, different things that she remembers eating from childhood or things that she encountered in restaurants. And it’s just an overall interesting read. Now, I know some people if you go to like some people were like, Oh, I don’t get this book at all. She spends too much time talking about eggs. I guess for some people, maybe the metaphors used in the in the book are lost on them. But I honestly found it not only interesting, but really helpful on my own culinary journey and on my own quest to be on this middle path, something in between being too aesthetic and denying myself pleasure, but then also not not being the Emperor Claudius at a giant banquet and eating to the point of stuffing myself. I also purchased based on mallets recommendation the Escoffier cookbook, and that too, has been a revelation. Now yes, there are some recipes in there that are incredibly rich and decadent. They would not be things that you would need to be cooking and eating on a regular basis. But it has certainly helped me to understand different flavors, different spices, different combinations of things that I can cook that go well together and how those flavor profiles interact. So that as I’m thinking about what I want to eat, what I might want to cook up for the week, I have some choices. I don’t feel that I’m getting bored. I don’t feel that my routine is getting stale. I really, truly have a banquet, pun intended Pun intended of choices. So I’m going to be less bold than Michael Pollan. And instead of giving you three basic rules that I would say are pretty much universal. I would simply say that what I’ve found for myself is that getting rid of things like artificial sweeteners, a lot of preservatives, artificial flavorings, really focusing on actual food. For example, the ingredients of an apple, or Apple, the ingredients in chicken is chicken, the ingredients in a steak is bovine, you know what those things are. They’re not like a one of those cereals or like prepackaged dinners, where you flip it over and look at the ingredients, and it’s a bunch of crap, you don’t even know what it is, and you can’t pronounce the discussion of things like pesticides and herbicides and antibiotics in the system. That’s a conversation for another time, I understand that we do live in a sea of chemicals, like it or not, I feel like there’s only so much that you can do. But as with my analogy of looking at these people in Hollywood that lost weight, and oh, look at me look at how I use the pandemic, okay, well, you can either sit back and be jealous and be angry. Or you can say I’m going to roll up my sleeves and do what I can’t. I can’t prevent pesticides being sprayed on every single thing that I eat, I can’t know, you know, every single thing, where did it come from and what all has been done to it, I do the best that I can. I have a garden, I grow my own herbs and spices as much as I can. I’m conscientious of what I can do. But I don’t sweat everything else. I think about Tony Horton in p90x all the time saying do your best and forget the rest. That’s really all that we can do. I do my best to find and buy or grow and raise good high quality, nutritious food. And that’s the best that I can do. So I have to forget about the rest and not worry about it. My day to day eating habits are what what I myself would label to be more classically, were traditionally European. In particular, I would say that I draw a lot from French and Italian cooking. I’m a bit suspicious about the standard American diet because it seems like it’s just so full of junk things that are processed too much salt and sugar and fake fats not like healthy fats, but trans fats and things that have been made up in a lab like what Nina plank talks about the difference between butter and margarine. I trust the butter more than I trust the margarine. I eat fruits and vegetables every single day. But yes, I also have bread and it’s bread that I make myself. I know some people are gonna say I don’t have time for that, well, maybe if you can afford to get a bread machine, then it might be less labor intensive than making it yourself. But there are some recipes online that are incredibly simple. And after you need the dough and you let it set and rise for a period of time, just throw it in the oven, it’s really not as difficult as people think that it is. And it’s much healthier and much tastier than something you’re going to get off the store shelf that’s loaded with preservatives at the grocery store. I mean, real bread does not last for long periods of time, you’re gonna have to eat it or put it in the freezer because as Michael Pollan points out, real food will rot. It’s not like the junk food like the Twinkies and the Big Macs that look literally the same year after year, you could put one of them on a shelf, and it just never seems to die. That’s not natural. I love meats and cheeses. I also drink wine on a pretty regular basis. Again, I don’t free pour, I don’t go This looks about right, I guess this is a serving, I measure it out. And I have either a three and a half or four ounce serving. And I stick to wines that are dry. I don’t drink things that are sweet, like dessert lines or wines and alcoholic beverages that are basically like liquefied candy. And for me that’s both a taste and personal preference thing as well as a health decision, I have found that I can become like a hummingbird. If I drink too much sugar and eat too much sugar, then it becomes a massive craving and I’m just like sugar sweet all the time. And that’s I just don’t feel that my body functions as well as it could when I’m like that. That’s what my middle path looks like these days, I leave the door open for change because as my body changes and my metabolism may change over the course of time then I may have to make some modifications to this eating style. But for me, it definitely feels much better, much more natural and much easier to maintain than trying to white knuckle my way through some kind of fad diet. Or meticulously count every calorie and decide myself worth based on my weight or based on how many calories or carbs I consume that day. Today, I’m a good person because I stayed on my diet tomorrow. I’m a bad person because I don’t. That’s a horrible place to be in and I honestly don’t wish it on anybody. So if you are in search of your own middle path that the books that I’ve recommended, maybe things that you want to check out, but as I’ve said before, always make sure that you stay in contact with your doctor. Don’t go off the deep end and do more harm than good. This is about truly finding health and wellness. And I hope all of you listening out there, stay healthy and stay well. We hope you enjoyed today’s episode. If you haven’t already, please take a quick second to subscribe to this podcast and share it with your friends. Thanks for tuning in. We’ll see you next time.

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