The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Michael Pollan's New Food Rule: Take Control of Your Plate
Just in time for Thanksgiving, Michael Pollan has come out with a brand new food rule, which if followed would do wonders for wasting less food: Michael Pollan’s Food Rule #84: Take Back Control of Your Plate
Bravo, Mr. Pollan! This is a fitting rule for Thanksgiving time when our plates do seem to get completely out of control. So out of control, in fact, that last year approximately $277 million of turkey was thrown away over the Thanksgiving holiday alone! You can be sure that those pilgrims we are celebrating were truly grateful for the food before them, but are we? Or, has the abundance on our plates gotten a little out of hand?
As with his other rules, Pollan goes on to explain just what he means and why this rule is important:
Supersized portions have become the bane of both our health and the health of the planet. Most of us eat what’s put in front of us, ignoring signals of satiety; the only possible outcomes are either overeating or food waste. Gluttony is never pretty, but when a billion people in the world are hungry, it becomes unconscionable. So if you’re serving yourself, take no more than you know you can finish; err on the side of serving yourself too little, since you can always go back for seconds. When you’re at a restaurant that serves Brobdingnagian portions, tell your server you’d prefer a modest serving and the option of asking for more if it doesn’t satisfy. To let others manipulate you by overfilling your plate is a wasteful concession to marketing and the very opposite of conscious eating. We need a movement to make reasonable portions and “seconds” the norm in restaurants. That way, the restaurant can still offer the perceived value of “all you can eat” but without the inevitable waste.
Besides the fact that he uses the word Brobdingnagian (which, as a reminder if you haven’t read Gulliver’s Travels lately, means “of colossal size”), what I like about this rule is that it is empowering. We can take this situation into our own hands, people! Portion sizes have grown tremendously—the average cookie, in fact, has quadrupled in calories since the 1980s—but we don’t have to sit idly. We can be thankful for our food, and we can not take too much of it.
The amount of turkey wasted over Thanksgiving—about 204 million pounds—is enough to provide 46 four-ounce servings of turkey for every American household that is food insecure. Forty-six per household! Instead, it lands in our garbage can, as do all the resources it took to grow and nurture those birds: enough water to supply New York City for 100 days and the greenhouse gas equivalent to 800,000 car trips from San Francisco to New York.
This Thanksgiving, I invite you to truly be thankful for the feast before you and to take control of your plate and portions. Stop for a moment and reflect on everything it takes to bring that brilliant feast to your table—the grains that were grown to feed your turkey, the bog that nurtured your cranberries, the land that allowed your pumpkin to spread its big leaves all over, and the hands that worked tirelessly to grow our food. Then fill your plate with just what you can actually eat, and dig in!
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.
"There was a lot of devastation throughout the state," Governor Mike Parson said at a Thursday morning press conference, as NPR reported. "We were very fortunate last night that we didn't have more injuries than what we had, and we didn't have more fatalities across the state. But three is too many."