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Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

The Supermarket Vs. YOUR Health

These days, take heed when perusing the isles of your local grocer. Foods may not be as "healthy" as they appear.


In Michael Pollan’s article, “Rules to Eat By,” he calls the isles of the grocery store a “treacherous food landscape.” Indeed, these days, shopping at the supermarket is much like going to war. It’s a battle between the self discipline of your stomach and the colorful lure of packaged junk food.

You may be familiar with the “Smart Choice” labels that are so prevalent on food packaging nowadays. Perhaps you find comfort in purchasing these products. But Pollan doubts the validity of such health claims, calling them “schemes.” He had this to say:

Deciding what to eat, indeed deciding what qualifies as food, is not easy in such an environment. When Froot Loops can earn a Smart Choices check mark, a new industry wide label that indicates a product’s supposed healthfulness, we know we can’t rely on the marketers.

In other words, keep on-guard when marching the long and weary isles of your food store. Better yet, shop at your local farmer’s market and dodge the chance of consuming such nutritionally misleading foods. Local markets are full of fresh and healthy produce that make for a better diet.

Sent in by Pollan’s readers, here are some of his favorite rules for eating healthy:

  • Don’t eat egg salad from a vending machine. – David A. Wilson
  • Don’t eat anything that took more energy to ship than to grow. – Carrie Cizauskas
  • Avoid snack foods with the “OH” sound in their names: DORITOS, FRITOS, CHEETOS, TOSTITOS, HOSTESS HO HOS, ETC. – Donna David

Read More: “Rules to Eat By” (New York Times)

Emily Shelton

Emily Shelton is a web producer and blogger for Earth Eats. A native of Evansville, Indiana, Emily moved to Bloomington in the fall of 2007 to attend Indiana University, pursuing a major in Telecommunications and a minor in Business. Emily began interning at WFIU in the fall of 2008 and is now an Assistant Web Producer. As an official Earth Eats "tweeter", Emily loves spreading the word about the importance of environmental issues and "going green". In her free time, she enjoys watching movies, writing, and looking at pictures of delicious meals that she'll only ever dream about.

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