Dr. Perales and Dr. Donesa-Zuzak believe that a healthy diet is essential to maintain optimal health and prevent illness. Renowned food author Michael Pollan has perhaps the simplest and best advice about how to follow a healthy diet in the first seven words of his book In Defense of Food:
Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants.
The first two words are probably the most important and speak to eating real food rather than processed food. In an address to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Pollan also described 7 helpful rules for eating:
- Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food. "When you pick up that box of portable yogurt tubes, or eat something with 15 ingredients you can't pronounce, ask yourself, "What are those things doing there?" Pollan says.
- Don’t eat anything with more than five ingredients, or ingredients you can't pronounce.
- Stay out of the middle of the supermarket; shop on the perimeter of the store. Real food tends to be on the outer edge of the store near the loading docks, where it can be replaced with fresh foods when it goes bad.
- Don't eat anything that won't eventually rot. "There are exceptions -- honey -- but as a rule, things like Twinkies that never go bad aren't food," Pollan says.
- It is not just what you eat but how you eat. "Always leave the table a little hungry," Pollan says. "Many cultures have rules that you stop eating before you are full. In Japan, they say eat until you are four-fifths full. Islamic culture has a similar rule, and in German culture they say, 'Tie off the sack before it's full.'"
- Families traditionally ate together, around a table and not a TV, at regular meal times. It's a good tradition. Enjoy meals with the people you love. "Remember when eating between meals felt wrong?" Pollan asks.
- Don't buy food where you buy your gasoline. In the U.S., 20% of food is eaten in the car.
Dr. Perales and Dr. Donesa-Zuzak look forward to talking with you about your health goals and how a healthy diet can help you attain them.