PART II: What Kind of Food Should I Eat?
RULE #41 - Eat more like the French. Or the Japanese. Or the Italians. Or the Greeks.
People who eat according to the rules of a traditional food culture are generally healthier than those of us eating a modern Western diet of processed foods. Any traditional diet will do: If it were not a healthy diet, the people who follow it wouldn't still be around. True, food cultures are embedded in societies and economies and ecologies, and some of them travel better than others, Inuit not so well as Italian. In borrowing from a food culture, pay attention to how a culture eats as well as to what it eats. In the case of the French paradox, for example, it may not be the dietary nutrients that keep the French healthy (lots of saturated fat and white flour?!) as much as their food habits: small portions eaten at leisurely communal meals; no second helpings or snacking. Pay attention, too, to the combinations of foods in traditional cultures: In Latin America, corn is traditionally cooked with lime and eaten with beans; what would otherwise be a nutritionally deficient staple becomes the basis of a healthy, balanced diet. (The beans supply amino acids lacking in corn, and the lime makes niacin available). Cultures that took corn from Latin America without the beans or the lime wound up with serious nutritional deficiencies such as pellagra. Traditional diets are more than the sum of their food parts.
"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."