In Defense of Doughnuts (or is it Donuts?)
I was preparing for a trip to Colorado, to visit some family, when my wife and I decided we wanted a donut to celebrate. It sounds silly and somewhat contradictory, considering the number of blogs that I’ve written about the evils of sugar.
We made a trip to Sugar and Spice and I was not disappointed, we were not disappointed.
What? Do you mean, eating donuts is part of a healthy lifestyle? Yep. It’s a small part, but it is a part of celebrating food, and life, and people. We ate them as we drove to the airport. It’s a wonderful memory etched into my mind.
We often visit donut shops when we travel together out-of-town. We’ve been to Psycho Donuts in San Diego, Zombie Donuts in D.C., and Desert Donuts outside of Phoenix. We eat them and then rate them. It’s a blast. We rate them in different categories. For example, we would never compare cake donuts with yeast donuts. We rate the sweetness, the texture of the dough, and most important, the creativity of the donut shop.
As a result, we have created a wonderful repertoire of memories and we will create many, many more.
We love donuts and could not imagine a life without them.
The donuts also reminded me of a book that I had read a few years ago, “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto,” by Michael Pollan. I reread it on my way out to Colorado. Pollan reminded me that, “Food is about pleasure, about community, about family and spirituality, about our relationship to the natural world, and about expressing our identity.”
He states that we are becoming a nation of “orthorexics,” or people with an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating. We’ve become so fixated on dieting, weight-loss, and calorie restrictions, that we have lost the joy of eating.
This all sounds counter-intuitive, because we are living in a country that increasingly getting fat. Sorry to be blunt. Pollan would argue that we’re getting fatter and fatter because we don’t slow down and enjoy the food we eat, because we don’t respect ourselves and the food we eat, and because we’ve given into eating non-food. He would point out that much of what we eat would not be recognized by our great grandmothers.
Here is Pollan’s menu for eating real food:
- Don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize. The test would be, don’t eat anything incapable of rotting.
- Avoid food products containing ingredients that are a) unfamiliar, b) unpronounceable, c) more than five in number, or include, d) high fructose corn syrup.
- Avoid foods that make health claims. This would eliminate food that comes in packages.
- Shop the peripheries of the grocery store.
- Get out of the grocery store whenever possible. Visit the farmer markets and get to know the people who grow what you eat.
- Eat mostly plants, especially leaves.
- Eat well-grown food from healthy soil.
- When you can, eat wild foods.
- Eat like an omnivore.
Pollan’s mantra is this:
Eat Food. Not too Much. Mostly Plants.
I would add, if you’re eating nutritious food, allow yourself a donut or two. Treat them like a luxury item but eat them. Enjoy the food in your life by eating it together with the people in your life.
I can’t wait for our next Donut review!!!
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