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A discussion of the Introduction (page 11 - 30) 
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From: WebMD Article

Quote:
7 Rules for Eating
Choose Food Over Food-Like Substances, Food Writer Michael Pollan Tells CDC
By Daniel J. DeNoon
WebMD Health NewsReviewed by Louise Chang, MDMarch 23, 2009 -- We Americans suffer a national eating disorder: our unhealthy obsession with healthy eating.

That's the diagnosis delivered by food author Michael Pollan in a lecture given last week to an overflow crowd of CDC scientists.

As part of an effort to bring new ideas to the national debate on food issues, the CDC invited Pollan -- a harsh critic of U.S. food policies -- to address CDC researchers and to meet with leaders of the federal agency.

"The French paradox is that they have better heart health than we do despite being a cheese-eating, wine-swilling, fois-gras-gobbling people," Pollan said. "The American paradox is we are a people who worry unreasonably about dietary health yet have the worst diet in the world."

In various parts of the world, Pollan noted, necessity has forced human beings to adapt to all kinds of diets.

"The Masai subsist on cattle blood and meat and milk and little else. Native Americans subsist on beans and maize. And the Inuit in Greenland subsist on whale blubber and a little bit of lichen," he said. "The irony is, the one diet we have invented for ourselves -- the Western diet -- is the one that makes us sick."

Snowballing rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease in the U.S. can be traced to our unhealthy diet. So how do we change?

7 Words & 7 Rules for Eating
Pollan says everything he's learned about food and health can be summed up in seven words: "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants."

Probably the first two words are most important. "Eat food" means to eat real food -- vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and, yes, fish and meat -- and to avoid what Pollan calls "edible food-like substances."

Here's how:

Don't eat anything your great grandmother wouldn't recognize as food. "When you pick up that box of portable yogurt tubes, or eat something with 15 ingredients you can't pronounce, ask yourself, "What are those things doing there?" Pollan says.
Don’t eat anything with more than five ingredients, or ingredients you can't pronounce.
Stay out of the middle of the supermarket; shop on the perimeter of the store. Real food tends to be on the outer edge of the store near the loading docks, where it can be replaced with fresh foods when it goes bad.
Don't eat anything that won't eventually rot. "There are exceptions -- honey -- but as a rule, things like Twinkies that never go bad aren't food," Pollan says.
It is not just what you eat but how you eat. "Always leave the table a little hungry," Pollan says. "Many cultures have rules that you stop eating before you are full. In Japan, they say eat until you are four-fifths full. Islamic culture has a similar rule, and in German culture they say, 'Tie off the sack before it's full.'"
Families traditionally ate together, around a table and not a TV, at regular meal times. It's a good tradition. Enjoy meals with the people you love. "Remember when eating between meals felt wrong?" Pollan asks.
Don't buy food where you buy your gasoline. In the U.S., 20% of food is eaten in the car....



See article for the rest....



Fri Aug 07, 2009 12:39 pm
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I think it's essential to examine your current beliefs, to take away their 'free pass' so to speak. The problem is it would take lifetimes to do such a thing. I guess the key is to make it a habit to be aware of when, during a discussion, you promote a position or belief without any support, then make a mental note to examine that position or belief. A good indicator is when you feel emotionally attached to an idea, or are overly convinced of something. Making it a habit to lock on to these feelings then examining the associated beliefs is a good habit.

If we are all inconsistent critical thinkers, we all have somewhat major beliefs that have been given a free pass. I challenge everyone discussing this book to find such a belief of their own and post it here. The author uses his belief of what types of foods he should eat as an example.



Fri Aug 07, 2009 1:48 pm
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Maybe it'd be a good habit to "recuse" ourselves from a particular discussion when we realize we are too emotionally attached; you know, like judges do.


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Fri Aug 07, 2009 10:14 pm
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Interbane wrote:
If we are all inconsistent critical thinkers, we all have somewhat major beliefs that have been given a free pass. I challenge everyone discussing this book to find such a belief of their own and post it here.


So far I can't think of anything that is being given a free pass (although I have no doubt there are many there). I think this is a great assignment and I will continue trying to ferret out some erroneous belief so that I may expose it to the light of day.

In the meantime here's something I discovered a few years ago. I consider myself something of an audiophile and one thing I used to accept without question is the superiority of high-end speaker wire. Companies like Monster cable claim superiority over your standard Radio Shack brand and charge significantly more. A few years back, James Randi offered Pear Cable Company a million dollars to prove their $7,250 speaker wire was better than Monster in double blind tests, but I don't think anything came of that. I am not aware of any large scale double blind tests that show either way, but these days I do question the validity and wisdom of spending so much money for speaker wire. It seems very likely that most people, at least, would simply not be able to tell the difference.


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Sun Aug 09, 2009 11:45 am
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DWill wrote:
Maybe it'd be a good habit to "recuse" ourselves from a particular discussion when we realize we are too emotionally attached; you know, like judges do.


Great point. There is another option besides recusing yourself, you can just ask questions. I've been doing this lately anytime the topic of religion comes up. Instead of rebutting the other persons argument, I ask them to tell me more. I act interested in their viewpoints and ask probing questions.

I know I am too emotional when it comes to religion, my wife calls me an evangelical athiest. When I stop talking and start listening I do learn new things (although they generally reinforce my already-held beliefs).



Tue Aug 11, 2009 3:54 pm
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On a side note, everything I'm reading so far in this book is making me think I'm very much a critical thinker(a good one even!), even without having any classes or training. It's all been an excellent addition to things I already know, but I haven't come across anything new yet. I know, this sounds arrogant, I'm sorry. I'm still a woefully inconsistent critical thinker...



Tue Aug 11, 2009 4:55 pm
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Post Evolution
Page 18 - "It is a fundamental flaw to assume that the mind is not influenced by the process of natural selection and that critical thinking skills exempt us from biases that are part of our evolutionary heritage."

Page 24 - "the purpose here is not to attack Asimov personally, but to illustrate the point that everyone, even an outstanding critical thinker and someone as brilliant as Asimov, is influenced by our evolutionary heritage."

It seems that he is implying that biases are a result of natural selection. If this were to be so, there would have to be some evolutionary advantage to these biases. I find this intriguing. Does anyone have any insight into this?



Tue Aug 11, 2009 11:13 pm
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Yes, he gives insight into how these biases were advantageous to our survival. One example is that we err on the side of belief when we see a pattern. If you see a pattern of stripes in the grass, it would serve you well to believe that it's a tiger, even if it's not. If you're wrong, the consequences are minimal. If you're right, you avoided potential death by acting on this belief and retreating to safety. There are many such examples, but it's easy to see why erring on the side of belief is a bias that is advantageous to survival.



Wed Aug 12, 2009 1:17 am
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We all have our bias. Even psychotherapists will generally set up what is called “supervision” with a colleague. This means finding someone, preferably more experienced, with whom one can bounce off aspects of problematic cases where bias may be unsuspectedly creeping in.

I am sure I have my own set. I guess one of mine is apparent in my posting on medical insurance.



Thu Aug 13, 2009 4:42 pm
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