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Food Rules:  Tips for Healthy Eating

 
Adapted from Food Rules: An Eater's Manual by Michael Pollan

 

Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.
 
Imagine your great-grandmother at your side as you roll down the aisles of the supermarket. There are now thousands of foodish products in the supermarket that our ancestors simply wouldn't recognize as food. The reasons to avoid eating such complicated food products are many, and go beyond the various chemical additives and corn and soy derivatives they contain, or the plastics in which they are typically packaged, some of which are probably toxic. Today foods are processed in ways specifically designed to get us to buy and eat more by pushing our evolutionary buttons — our inborn preferences for sweetness and fat and salt. These tastes are difficult to find in nature but cheap and easy for the food scientist to deploy, with the result that food processing induces us to consume much more of these rarities than is good for us. The great-grandma rule will help keep most of these items out of your cart.
 
Note: If your great-grandmother was a terrible cook or eater, you can substitute someone else's grandmother — a Sicilian or French one works particularly well.

 

Eat your colors.
 
The idea that a healthy plate of food will feature several different colors is a good example of an old wives' tale about food that turns out to be good science too. The colors of many vegetables reflect the different antioxidant phytochemicals they contain — anthocyanins, polyphenols, flavonoids, carotenoids. Many of these chemicals help protect against chronic diseases, but each in a slightly different way, so the best protection comes from a diet containing as many different phytochemicals as possible.
 

Michael Pollan is an investigative journalist who wrote about how our food system has been industrialized and fundamentally changed in recent years so that the food we eat today is quite different than what our parents ate when they were growing up.  Other recommended reading by Michael Pollan: Omnivore's Dilemma, 2006 - available in both young readers and standard editions.

 

Inch by Inch, Row by Row

 

Planting a backyard garden is a great activity for families, keeping kids active and engaged while offering health and budget benefits, too.  For a successful planting season and harvest, it's important to sow your seeds at the right time of year for your climate.  Below is a reference chart for South Florida produce.  

 

SOUTH FLORIDA PLANTING SCHEDULE 

 

JANUARY

FEBRUARY

MARCH

APRIL

MAY

JUNE

JULY

AUGUST

SEPTEMBER

OCTOBER

NOVEMBER

DECEMBER

AMARANTH

 

 

plant

plant

plant

plant

plant

 

 

 

 

 

BEANS

plant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

plant

plant

plant

plant

BEETS

plant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

plant

plant

plant

BONIATO

 

 

plant

plant

plant

plant

plant

 

 

 

 

 

BROCCOLIi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

plant

plant

plant

plant

CABBAGE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

plant

 

 

 

CALABASA

 

 

plant

plant

plant

plant

plant

 

 

 

 

 

CANTALOUPE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

plant

 

 

CARROTS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

plant

plant

plant

plant

CAULIFLOWER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

plant

plant

plant

CELERY

plant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

plant

plant

CHINESE CABBAGE

plant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

plant

plant

COLLARDS

plant

plant

plant

 

 

 

 

plant

plant

plant

plant

plant

CORN

plant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

plant

plant

plant

CUCUMBER

 

 

plant

 

 

 

 

 

plant

plant

plant

 

EGGPLANT

plant

plant

 

 

 

 

 

plant

plant

plant

plant

plant

ENDIVE

plant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

plant

plant

plant

plant

GARBANZO BEANS

 

 

plant

plant

plant

plant

plant

 

 

 

 

 

KOHLRABI

plant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

plant

plant

LETTUCE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

plant

plant

plant

plant

MALABAR SPINACH

 

 

 

plant

plant

plant

plant

 

 

 

 

 

MUSTARD

plant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

plant

plant

plant

plant

OKRA

 

plant

plant

plant

plant

 

 

plant

 

 

 

 

ONION

plant

plant

plant

 

 

 

 

 

plant

plant

plant

plant

PEAS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

plant

plant

PEAS, SO

 

 

plant

plant

plant

 

 

plant

plant

plant

plant

 

PEPPERS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

plant

plant

plant

 

 

PEPPERS, HOT

 

 

plant

plant

plant

plant

plant

 

 

 

 

 

POTATOES

plant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

plant

plant

plant

plant

PUMPKINS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

plant

plant

plant

 

 

RADISH

plant

plant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ROSELLE

 

 

 

plant

plant

plant

plant

 

 

 

 

 

SPINACH

plant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

plant

SQUASH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

plant

plant

plant

plant

STRAWBERRIES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

plant

plant

plant

TOMATOES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

plant

plant

plant

 

 

TURNIPS

plant

plant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

plant

plant

WATERMELON

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

plant

plant