This rule says that when we want a treat, we should cook it ourselves…from scratch. This accomplishes two things: It assures that the treats are as healthy as they can be (healthy oils, no bleached flours or sugars, whole grains, organic dairy, no artificial colors or flavors, no preservatives, etc.), but it also prevents us from overindulging. As Pollan says, there’s nothing wrong with eating treats now and then, “but food manufacturers have made eating these formerly expensive and hard-to-make treats so cheap and easy that we’re eating them every day. The french fry did not become America’s most popular ‘vegetable’ until industry took over the jobs of washing, peeling, cutting, and frying the potatoes – and cleaning up the mess. If you made all the french fries you ate, you would eat them much less often, if only because they’re so much work. The same holds true for fried chicken, chips, cakes, pies, and ice cream. Enjoy these treats as often as you’re willing to prepare them – chances are good it won’t be every day” (85).
Why not take an hour on Sunday to get the whole family to bake a batch of cookies from scratch? Better yet, try working some whole grains and healthy fats into those cookies. Cut out some of the sugar too. They’ll still be delicious and far healthier than the usual fare. I have a recipe for gluten free buckwheat molasses cookies that really is incredibly delicious – and full of high protein buckwheat flour that’s just plain healthy whether you avoid gluten or not. It’s simple too. Let me know if you’d like a copy.
The tips are courtesy of Michael Pollan’s book Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual. New York: Penguin, 2009.
Happy, Healthy Eating!