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Food for thought

FYI For the first time, the Global Burden of Disease report — involving 500 scientists in 50 countries — found that obesity has become more of a health problem than lack of food. In contrast, its last report in 1990 ranked malnutrition as the No. 1 health risk around the globe and being overweight as 11th. Malnutrition has since dropped to eighth place, while being overweight has risen to sixth.

The No. 1 thing you can do to be healthier

I was reading an excerpt from Michael Pollan’s new book “Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation.” He is the New York Times bestselling author of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma’ and “In Defense of Food.”

Pollan believes that the single most important step we can take to make our food system healthier and more sustainable is the home cook. He also believes that we are not going to reform the way we farm and process food unless we cook. Cooking is key to changing our health and the environment. His other major point would be that people who cook for themselves eat healthier diets.
Local food isn’t going to get big if people aren’t cooking. If we let corporations cook for us, they are going to buy food from the biggest monocultures.

Which is healthier for you: juicing or smoothies?

That would be the smoothie. Because juicing leaves behind the pulp — which contains fiber and nutrients that you end up tossing, you loose most of the benefit of whole fruits and vegetables.

Blending produce in a smoothie preserves fiber and can deliver the added boost of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals because it often includes fruit skins and pith. If you use milk or yogurt you also get calcium.

Smoothie lovers beware though: smoothies can turn into high calorie drinks if they include sweetened yogurt, sweetened juice, sorbet, frozen yogurt or ice cream.

Susan Woody has been a food writer for more than 20 years and is a member of the Association of Food Journalists.

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