If you ask someone where his food comes from, most would probably say, "From the grocery store" or "From a restaurant." In an attempt to discover where our food really comes from, author Michael Pollan researched the origins of four different meals and published his results in the book The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. Michael talks with Dr. Oz about his book and offers some tips to help you eat better.
From discovering that a meal from McDonald's consists mostly of corn grown in the Midwest—corn-fed beef and chicken, soda made with high-fructose corn syrup and french fries fried in corn oil—to uncovering that grocer Whole Foods's suppliers are mostly large-scale organic farms, not small producers, Michael says he's now better informed when it comes to choosing healthy, environmentally friendly foods.
If you want to eat the freshest, most nutritious food possible, Michael offers this advice:
Steer clear of fast food. "We can't get all of the nutrients we need from processed corn," Michael says. "Even though there is no corn on the menu at McDonald's … all of the carbon in that meal was created by corn plants."
Don't buy foods found in the middle aisles of a supermarket. Michael says most processed foods are found in the middle aisles, and those foods almost always contain fewer nutrients than fresh, perishable foods found on the outer perimeters of the store.
Get out of the supermarket. Try buying foods at farmers' markets or through community-supported agriculture programs. "You are participating in a local, short food chain with usually sustainable farmers," he says. "[They are] picking food when it is fresh, which is when it is at the peak of not only its taste value, but its nutritional value."
Pay attention to what your food eats. Buying meat from grass-fed cows or wild-caught fish is more nutritious than their corn-fed counterparts, Michael says.
Learn how to cook. "We really need to take back control of our food, and that is going to mean cooking more, but I'm also going to argue that cooking is not as hard as many of us make it out to be," he says.
"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." This is one of Michael's mottos. "If you do that, you are going to be all right," Michael says.