World Health Day | Three Easy Rules for Eating Better, Dammit

Today, April 7th is World Health Day. Ironically, it is also National Beer Day. Choose your path carefully. 

World Health Day is a holiday/observance organized by the World Health Organization intended to call people’s attention to a particularly insidious health problem in the world. This year’s disease is none other than diabetes, an alarmingly widespread health problem that stems from poor diet. The WHO is combating this in the usual ways: Making sure kids have a healthier view toward foods, that they eat less garbage, and showing kids posters of a non-licensed superhero punching the word “diabetes” right in the face.  

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Diabetes is a problem, and I could list innumerable distressing statistics about how widespread it is, and offer up some healthy meal ideas on how to generally eat better. But why offer you the usual dietary guilt trips, when author Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto) has already presented the solution so simply, that anything we here at Crave could be present would be a mere embellishment on his shockingly stripped-down advice? While it would do you well to do a lot of reader, or perhaps to watch any of the great food-centric documentary films to have come along in the past decade (The Future of Food, Food, Inc., Forks Over Knives, Fed Up, A Place at the Table, the upcoming Cooked), all you need to know can be summed up in these three simple steps: 

Eat Food.

Not Too Much.

Mostly Plants.

When Pollan says “Eat food,” of course, it may be hard to discern what he means. I think we can all intuit the meaning. “Food” refers to anything that is more immediately identifiable as possessing few ingredients. Anything with more than five ingredients on the label is straying away from the “food” definition. There is less food in your food than you think. Flavorings, corn syrups, emulsifiers, preservatives, and artificial whatsits are not really food in the traditional sense. 

When Pollan says “Not too much,” he means to stop eating when you’re done. The only thing you should be bingeing is TV shows (and even then, that’s not too healthy). The Japanese have a very simple thought when it comes to the quantity of eating: Eat until you are three-quarters full. Chances are your stomach has simply not caught up with your mouth. Stop when you’re at three-quarters capacity, and you’ll fill up the rest of the way naturally.

And when Pollan says “Mostly plants,” eat mostly plants, dummy. Less meat and less bread. Although, it clearly says “mostly” and not “all.” So you can still have that bread, that cheese, that bacon. Just don’t make it the majority of your diet. 

And that’s it. Follow those three simple steps, and you’ll instantly stop eating like an asshole. Also, you’ll feel better for it. 

Top Image: PBS

Witney Seibold is a contributor to the CraveOnline Film Channel, and the co-host of The B-Movies Podcast. He also contributes to Legion of Leia and to Blumhouse. You can follow him on “The Twitter” at @WitneySeibold, where he is slowly losing his mind.