Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

"Eat Food. Not too Much. Mostly Plants" - In Defense of the Word of Wisdom


One of the more interesting new books regarding diet and health is Michael Pollan's "In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto." Pollan calls for a return to eating real foods rather than focusing on what ingredients we have in processed foods. He argues that the collective wisdom of numerous studies on health and nutrition can be boiled down to this statement: "Eat Food. Not too Much. Mostly Plants." Makes a lot of sense to me, and resonates beautifully with the Word of Wisdom, given to Joseph Smith in 1833, which emphasizes plants as the basis of our diet (though meat is included, "sparingly").


Random thoughts: A food that played an important role for LDS communities in Utah and Idaho is the lowly beet. Americans often overlook the majesty of the beet in cooking. A variety of wonderful Spanish tapas include freshly cooked beetroot in various forms. There is so much that can be done with this healthy vegetable. For example, before going to Church, last Sunday, I tossed six beets into a crock pot and covered them with water. Into the water I sprinkled a lot of caraway seeds, a little cardamom, some garlic, salt, and a little basil (I'll use lavender today instead). When I came back, I poured in a couple ounces of vinegar and let them continue to cook for another couple of hours, though four hours is plenty, and I'm not sure the vinegar is best. They were so tender, juicy, and flavorful when we had them for dinner. And healthy!

I always include broccoli and watermelon at salad bars for their anti-cancer benefits, and use them at home regularly (watermelon when in season). And I'm glad that my favorite berries also have great health benefits. There are so many benefits to the amazing plants that the Lord has given us (with a little help from creative horticulturists and farmers). Oh, and have you tried broccoli sprouts? I recently interviewed the president of a sprout company and learned some amazing information about the health benefits of broccoli sprouts, in addition to getting the inside scoop on an incredible patent battle he won against Johns Hopkins University. Will be part of a book I'm working on - but I digress. Veggies, fruits, grains - so delicious! And really, who can remain an atheist after contemplating the mysteries and delights of the strawberry?

Yikes, it's fast Sunday, and I'm falling into temptation. I hope none of you are thinking about food right now.

By the way, while food prices are skyrocketing in recent months, canned tomato products such as spaghetti sauce and related products are often available at surprisingly low priced. A couple pounds of spaghetti sauce can be purchased at Aldi or some other places for $1 or less. Seems like a good item to add to food storage now. Just another random thought.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

The mysteries and delights of the strawberry are indeed wondrous, along with the Universe and the rest of the cosmos, with or without a belief in God.

Anonymous said...

Great article.

Before my mission I received a blessing in which I was told I'd be able to live the Word of Wisdom on my mission. Everybody in the room but me thought it was weird; I knew it was meant for me because I was concerned that my diet of health foods would be completely replaced by an asian diet high in fatty fried foods and low-nutrient white rice.

I was quite happy to hear this blessing and then arrive at my mission to find that all missionary apartments were stocked with large bags of cracked wheat for health purposes. :)

Mmmm...fiber!

Anonymous said...

I'm reading "In Defense of Food" right now, and also have been pondering its Word of Wisdom connections.

The thing that's kept coming to my mind during the whole book is verse 4 of the WoW: ". . .In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation."

Michael Pollan pretty clearly lays out who those "conspiring men" are - the meat, dairy, and processed food industries (along with government officials and nutrition scientists who refuse to take a stand against them) - whose "designs" are to make maximum profit from the very food products that jeopardize our physical health.

Terry Foraker said...

I've been thinking a lot about health and nutrition lately, largely as a result of being mildly autistic and having autistic twins as well and searching for non-pharmaceutical helps. While researching the topic, I've become more aware of just how many toxins we Americans we have taken in over the decades in our food and elsewhere; I suspect that a lot of the maladies we face are caused by these toxins. There's an interesting and frightening book that I checked out from the library yesterday called "The Crazy-Makers: How the Food Industry Is Destroying Our Brains and Harming Our Children" that has a lot to say about that. No doubt, a closer adherence to the WofW beyond the minimal requirements regarding coffee, tobacco, liquor, and so forth would greatly benefit us physically and mentally.