The Great-Grandparent's Test
In The New York Times Magazine, Michael Pollan asks a question:
You would not have read this far into this article if your food culture were intact and healthy; you would simply eat the way your parents and grandparents and great-grandparents taught you to eat. The question is, Are we better off with these new authorities than we were with the traditional authorities they supplanted? The answer by now should be clear.The answer is clear. For most people, the answer is yes.
Polland has another intriguing suggestion:
Especially avoid food products containing ingredients that are a) unfamiliar, b) unpronounceable c) more than five in number — or that contain high-fructose corn syrup.You can't have foods with more than five ingredients? Okay, so you're cooking stew with chicken, celery, carrots, rutabagas, onion, and … Oops! That five ingredients and you can't add any more! Come to think of it, the rutabagas would have been unfamiliar to me a decade ago and I suppose I must forever avoid jicama as I don't know how to pronounce it. On the other hand, the advice to avoid the unfamiliar disagrees with the advice on the very next page:
Eat like an omnivore. Try to add new species, not just new foods, to your diet. The greater the diversity of species you eat, the more likely you are to cover all your nutritional bases.I'm reminded of the common leftist trope that they want diversity while taking steps to stop any diversity they disagree with.
Addendum: Michael Pollan should read The New York Times more often.