I try to live by this simple suggestion from Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food: “eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” I also added my own three word phrase following that: “don’t freak out.”
I don’t really have a problem with the first part of Pollan’s directive. I eat real food most of the time. I don’t buy a lot of processed food-like substances – with the exception of an occasional bag of Cheetos.
I’ve gotten better at the ‘not too much’ part. However, I find it hard to stay disciplined when it comes to pizza. Leftover pizza is a rarity in my fridge. I can’t stand to leave uneaten pizza just sitting around. I try to avoid the situation by just buying a ‘slice’ of pizza down the street at Pizza Luce. But even then, my willpower wilts at the site of the wide selection of different pies on display under the heat lamps. So I usually get two. Even though I know I’ll feel fine after just one.
The ‘mostly plants’ has also been a problem. I think I’ve been making the same mistake a lot of people make who decide to reduce their intake of animal products and fat. I’ve added more starches and carbs – brown rice, whole grain bread, etc. which has caused my weight to go up every now and again.
My main reason for changing the way I eat is not my weight. However, it’s hard to watch my weight go up after losing about 15 pounds. At the beginning of 2013, it was not uncommon for me to top the scales at 195 lbs. By the beginning of 2014, I dropped to a low of 180 lbs. But since then, my weight has steadily gone up to now where, this morning the scale read 186 lbs.
So, to rectify that i recently bought one of those Nutribullet machines. I’ve resisted for a long time. I know I should actually chew my vegetables. And I understand that one of the ways your body benefits from ingesting raw food is through the process of breaking down those hard to break down plant cellular structures – for lack of more scientific terms. Your body burns calories breaking down and digesting those hard to digest bits. And I understand that by using a machine to essentially perform that function for your body, that you can actually gain weight and mess with your pancreas because you’re adding a large sugar infusion to your blood stream.
However, my goal from blending up some kale and blueberries, is not to lose weight. I want to increase my intake of the good bits in the food. And for me the choice to do so is not based on an ‘either/or’ metric: to blend or not to blend. I’m a both/and guy. So I’m blending some of my greens raw, chewing some raw in salads and cooking others.
There are good arguments supported by – which seems to me to be solid scientific evidence – for and against blending your veggies. But here’s why I think both camps are right. From Dr. Joel Fuhrman:
When we heat, soften and moisturize the vegetables and beans we dramatically increase the potential digestibility and absorption of many beneficial and nutritious compounds.
Essentially, Fuhrman and others and say it’s good to make food easier for your system to digest. I would posit that, like adding heat to food, breaking it down in a blender is another way to make food easier to absorb. That’s all.
Fuhrman is not anti-raw food.
Raw food is necessary for digestive efficiency, proper peristalsis and normal bowel function.
But I’ve decided to follow a couple ‘smoothie rules’ I found here. Most importantly, I try to blend mostly leafy greens together with lower sugar fruits and not drink it all at once in order to avoid a big rush of sugar into my system.