Between my husband Dan studying to become a chef and my own studies of sustainability and the environment, the topic of food and the questions we have about it – what to eat, where to buy it, what impact it has on the planet – come up often in our family. Our learning started with an investigation of where our food comes from and an examination of how hard it can be to find sustainable food sources in our area. If you take this newfound awareness and combine it with a chef’s passion for cooking, you’ll create a kitchen that looks a lot like ours does today. Ok, so those aren’t my words – they actually belong to author Michael Pollan, whose book “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto” I just finished reading. I’m not going to write a review of this book (mainly because I think it is so full of good words of wisdom that it would mean basically re-writing the whole thing), but I can’t endorse Pollan’s ideas strongly enough. The thing I like best about Pollan’s ideas is that, unlike diet fad books or nutritional guidelines, “In Defense of Food” encourages us to find the pleasure, satisfaction, and joy in eating.

In fact (at the risk of sounding cliche), in 2009 food became a central focus for us as we defined who we wanted to be as individuals and as citizens of the earth.
Trips to the grocery store were spent worrying over food labels, wondering about the origins of the meat we wanted to buy, and fretting over the cost of anything labeled ‘organic’ (not to mention wondering whether organic was really all it was cracked up to be).
I also took a stab at defining what local food really is, and I learned about the potential dangers that exist in our current industrial food production system.
We also wanted to know that the foods we put in our bodies were actually nutritious (and not overly processed, refined, or generally interfered with). But beyond that, our kitchen transformation is actually very reflective of the new approach we’re taking in 2010 with the food we eat.
But those seven words of advice (and the entirety of his book, actually) are so perfectly aligned with the way Dan and I want to approach food in 2010 that I’ve co-opted them to use as my own.

While Pollan doesn’t create a set of rules relating to what foods we should eat, he does outline some guidelines to consider when shopping for food. I’ve reprinted them here to inspire you and encourage you to think about any changes you could make in the food you buy and eat. In fact, there’s actually very little pre-made food in our pantry and fridge at all these days.

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