Would You Change The Food On Your Plate?

Published On March 25, 2013 | By Melly Allen | Cafe Mom, Eating Healthy, Family, Food, Health

Would you change the food you put on your plate? That’s what I’m about to do. I’m swapping my western diet for a set of Food Rules. Written by Micheal Pollan, Food Rules is a condensed book that lays out some basic rules that have been lost by most Americans, myself included. This book contains some common knowledge and some cultural wisdom passed down by generations (think great grandmas).

Avoid foods that make health claims. The healthiest food in the supermarket – the fresh produce – doesn’t boast about it’s healthfulness, because the growers don’t have the budget or the packaging. Don’t take the silence of the yams as a sign they have nothing valuable to say about your health – Food Rules (read how the FDA slapped GM with a warning over Cheerios health claims)


Over the weekend my family and I were extremely sick with a stomach bug. Although the bug lasted about 24 hours, it was still a very unpleasant experience for all of us. I believe it was a mild case of food poisoning; this I cannot prove as we did not visit the doctor and for that I will leave out the food chain we dined at. This is my “mothering” opinion, the one I rely on as a mom that has had plenty of flu experience that comes with raising three children and caring for two younger siblings.

The idea that we were sick from our food got me thinking about the year plus I spent as a vegetarian. I came across a popular food documentary called Food, Inc. and was amazed at how little I knew about what was on my plate and where it came from. I swiftly made changes in our food choices due to the content. At the time I was mainly concerned with the way the American corporations handled their animal confinement plants. We may think the animals are raised in a somewhat farming environment, however this is not the case, instead they are industrial plants. And in recent years, the industry seems to be moving operations into Mexico to avoid environmental regulation after these practices came into the light.

As the cost of food in American has declined, in terms of both price and effort required to put it on the table, we have been eating much more (and spending more on health care). If you spend more for better food, you’ll probably eat less of it, and treat it with more care. And if that higher-quality food tastes better, you will need less of it to feel satisfied. Choose quality over quantity, food experience over mere calories. Or as grandmothers used to say, “Better to pay the grocer than the doctor.”. – Food Rules

It’s the same with some “free-range” cases that raise the fowl in almost sterile environments because they are not administrating drugs to “keep them safe”. They are raised together in the thousands and at about five weeks are allowed to “free-range” in small manicured lawns just outside the houses until seven weeks when they go to slaughter. Most don’t venture outside, but have the option (source). This account comes from Micheal Pollan after visiting a “free range” operation that sold in popular markets. You can read more about his journey into the veil in The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

The confusion grew when I starting looking into the “Fiber Fib” as I call it. There is a really good post here if you’re interested in checking it out for yourself. The more I looked at my family’s plates, the more it became more and more simplified. The typical western diet is toxic to us and is not sustainable in health and in our environment. The American diet is a healthcare roadblock. In fact energy, agriculture, climate change, global outbreaks all have one underlying common thread: our food system! We can only address these issues once we’d addressed our standardized food system in the American diet.

In my pantry you’ll find a large amount of processed food. In my defense a lot of the boxed food remains on our shelves because we do not eat it. Most was free or pennies from deals and couponing. Another trap I’ll need to navigate. The majority is there for a while and then later donated to some food drive or another. The things we do eat from boxes are few, so I don’t anticipate many issues with the exception of boxed cereal. This is a staple in our home and after doing hours of research, I have come to the conclusion we will no longer be purchasing it all together. You can read more about my reason for ditching the boxed cereals here. The long-short of it is there are far too many processes and ingredients.

I’m not by any means a food renegade or activist, well I signed a petition or two; if that qualifies than maybe I am. What I am is a confused mother, customer, and citizen caught in the food industry webs trying to work my way out as swiftly as I can. I have resolved to follow the food rules laid out in Micheal Pollans’ book. I will realize: I’m human and this is a retraining process that I’m sure to have times when I slip or make a mistake, but that’s okay too. I’m making a valid effort in change for the greater good of mine and my family’s overall health.

The petitions I mentioned earlier that I signed were for Just Label It: GMO Labeling Laws and Meat Without Drugs. The petitions are linked and you can get the information about each there. We truly live in a symbiotic world and to think one will not affect another is a misguided lie. Cause and effect is a universal law and we should respect it as such.

I’d love for the readers to participate in the Food Rules with me! You can download the book via amazon.com or purchase the hard copy. You can tweet me @itsPSG and share your food journey as I share mine.

The changes I will be making as of now; I will served a breakfast I have prepared myself in my home from real foods. I will send my children to school with lunches I prepare myself in my home also made from real foods. All foods that enter my home will be, at the very least, foods that consist of real whole ingredients that any normal human would have in their pantry. It does not have to be certified organic, but I will make an effort to buy organic as much as possible. I will attend at least one farmers market monthly.

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About The Author

As the Community Director and Editor of Recess, Melly Allen is the Founder of the Recess Sandbox Revolution where she strives to unite Southern Nevada women by giving them a voice and place to connect and share. Melly is also a major Social Media Producer.

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