I’ve been spending a lot of time at our new location inside Collected Works Bookstore, surrounded by information. I love the convenience of Amazon as much as the next guy, but there is something remarkable to being around so many books you can hold, smell, and browse in your hands. All of these fabulous books have got me thinking about how most of us get our nutrition information.
In our last blog post, Kelly mentioned that 52% of Americans think it’s easier to file their taxes than to figure out what foods make us healthier. And I don’t blame them. We are surrounded by good and bad diet information, much of it conflicting. There are health articles everywhere online, we are informed and pressured by our friends about trendy diets, and traditional health care professional often offer minimal guidance on nutrition. Of course, there is also the powerful hold that food corporations have on our media and culture. (Author Steven M Drucker is presently blowing the lid off how the US government systematically misrepresented the safety of genetically modified foods for the past 15 years in Altered Genes, Twisted Truth.)
Food labels are confusing to read, and no one is really sure what we’re supposed to be paying attention to anymore. We eliminated fat in the 80’s, we declared war on carbs in the 90’s, fruit was demonized sometime after Y2K and now we’re supposed to be eating like cavemen. (You know, that fashionable diet trend today that’s turned uber-commercial?)
We don’t all have time to geek out over Google Scholar, so where should we look? And who can we trust? Does someone need a nutrition degree to give us advice? Even this can be tricky. Did you see in the New York Times last week that the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has just granted a nutrition seal for kids’ health to Kraft’s “cheese product” otherwise known as Kraft Singles?
Here is a short list of resources we often turn to:
The Mayo Clinic should be anyone’s first stop with a health question
WebMD should be the second
San Francisco Chronical SF Gate Healthy Eating
Huffington Post @healthyliving
New York Times @nytimeshealth
For thinking about the health of our planet and community in our food choices, I turn to the Food Think Tank out of Chicago. I also try to converse with our local farmers at Market to learn about the issues affecting all Northern New Mexico specifically.
Two last pieces of advice for our readers when you’re slogging through diet and nutrition information.
- If it’s trendy, question it. That goes for cold-pressed juice, too. We can think of nothing we like better than to shoot the breeze with our customers about why we sprout our almonds or why sodium in raw juice is not the same as sodium in a processed beverage.
- Listen to yourself above all others. If a grapefruit-only diet doesn’t feel good for you, it probably isn’t.
We hope to see you poking around the stacks at Collected Works this week. You may even find us there with our noses in a healthy lifestyle book.