Saturday, June 14, 2008

Prophetic Food for Thought

From the book jacket: "Food. There's plenty of it around, and we all love to eat it. So why should anyone need to defend it? Because most of what we're consuming today is not food, and how we're consuming it - in the car, in front of the TV, and increasingly alone - is not really eating. Instead of food, we're consuming 'edible foodlike substances' - no longer the products of nature but of food science."

From the intro (page 1): "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. That, more or less, is the short answer to the supposedly incredibly complicated and confusing question of what we humans should eat in order to be maximally healthy. I hate to give the game away right here at the beginning of a whole book devoted to the subject, and I'm tempted to complicate matters in the interest of keeping things going for a couple hundred more pages or so."

...and he does (201 pages)! I haven't read the whole book (In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto, by Michael Pollan), but I'm loving it so far. Nutritionally insightful and deliciously simple... or is it the other way around??? Read the book and you'll see what I mean! It's about much more than simply (complex) nutrition.

"Food," writes Pollan, "is also about pleasure, about community, about family and spirituality, about our relationship to the natural world, and about expressing our identity" (8). All this, he explains, is basically culture - "which, when it comes to food, is really just a fancy word for your mother" (3). So that's what I'd like to leave you with...

Pollan's three big suggestions remind me of what I grew up learning (in part, from my mother... God bless her!) about how and what the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) ate. So here's some prophetic food for thought:
  1. Eat food - it's said that the Prophet's favorite dish was the one with the most hands it (this relates to Pollan's point on not eating alone).
  2. Not too much - the Prophet's advice on portions = 1/3 food + 1/3 drink + 1/3 air (i.e. empty).
  3. Mostly plants - it's also said that the Prophet went extended periods of time on simply dates and water, or the two blacks (al-aswadaan) as they were called.
Finally, if you see a theme in the last couple blog posts... great! Food will be our theme for this summer and into Ramadan, insha'Allah!

1 comment:

Sabira said...

well the other question is whether or not the plants should be raw...i've heard a lot of advocacy for raw food, which bothers some tummies...

otherwise great review :)