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It's funny how the puzzle pieces of your life drop into place; during that same stint in New York, I went to Candle Café (one of my favorite restaurants), and I noticed Temple, a waitress who I hadn't seen in years. She was absolutely on fire. Her hair, her skin, and her body just looked amazing. She told me she'd seen a macrobiotic counselor, and now she was the healthiest she'd ever been in her life. I decided I would give Christopher a consultation with her counselor for his birthday. If she looked so fantastic, there had to be something to this macro business, right?

By the time the appointment rolled around, though, my defenses had reemerged. When we got to the counselor's office, I sat with my arms crossed, thinking, "This is stupid." She politely ignored me and worked with Christopher to design a regimen for him. Just as we were getting ready to leave, she turned to me and said, "Maybe you should try this, too. You could have more energy, and I could help you clear up your acne." Damn. She had noticed. But of course everyone did. Since going off the pill a few years before, my skin had become a nightmare, with really cystic acne. I'd even had to reshoot a scene for a movie because my skin looked so bad.

But she wasn't done. "Do you know how much energy is consumed to transport some of the food you're eating?" she asked. "These coconuts and pineapples and mangoes are flown in from all over the world. That's a huge waste of fuel." I had never thought about it, but of course she was right.

Sensing that my resistance was faltering, she pressed on. "How can these foods be good for you, in the dead of winter, in New York? If you eat something from another climate, how is your body supposed to cope with it? Your body is here, in cold New York. And the mango is designed to cool people off in tropical climates." She definitely had my attention now. "You need to eat what's indigenous to the area to avoid stressing your body." This made perfect sense to me on a holistic level. Between the acne and the mangoes and the excessive energy consumption, she had won me over. I decided to give it a try, and within a week of following her recommendations, my acne—which had haunted me for such a long time—had improved significantly. It was like magic.

FROM: Before You Grocery Shop Again: Food 101 with Michael Pollan
Published on January 21, 2010

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