Avocado Pasta + Book Review

Hi Friends!
 
The snow is ridiculous:
 

 
 

Thankfully it was Presidents’ Day, so traffic was light, but the roads were a mess. I thought for sure my car would get stuck somewhere, but I made it to work and back home without any major problems (I saw plenty of other people stuck/getting pulled out by tow trucks/etc). What a day!
 
Jason was smart and worked from home, I wish I could have done that as well. He was kind enough to start dinner for the both of us:
 

We made Angela’s Creamy Avocado Pasta. Click here for the recipe. We didn’t use basil and we used brown rice pasta – and I also think I added way too much lemon juice. (see below) 

 
I so wanted to love this dish, but it was too lemony for my tastes — I think I added too much! I squeezed every lost drop of juice from 1/2 lemon. Next time I will not use as much — and maybe next time I will add the basil — maybe that takes away from the super lemony taste? Either way it was super easy to throw together and I will attempt it again — I need to just follow the recipe more closely!
 
So yesterday I updated you on my February Goals and now I can check something else off my list:
 
4. Read 2 books 

I finished In Defense of Food last night – It took me only a few days to get through. It was so interesting and I will definitely pick up more of Michael Pollen’s books.
 
I’m not going to give a full “book report” on this book because honestly, if you haven’t read it, go get a copy and read it. I got my copy from the library (free!). It is only 200 pages or so and it is a quick read. I’ll just highlight a few points that I enjoyed reading about:

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. <— could he have stated this any more straight forward?  🙂
 
Pollen discusses how we have shifted towards a focus on “Nutritionism” which is looking at the nutrients IN whole foods and putting those nutrients in processed foods. For example, instead of eating an orange for vitamin C, why not have a bowl of cereal that has vitamin C already added? Pollen explains that taking the vitamins that are in whole foods does not mean that the new “food” (in my example, cereal) is as beneficial as eating an orange. Pollen explains that foods are more than the “sum of their nutrients”. Perhaps it isn’t the fact that vitamin C is so good for you, it is how it is combined with other nutrients in plant foods.
 
He describes studies in which groups return to their ancestors’ way of life – hunting and gathering and not eating refined carbohydrates, frankenfoods, etc – and how they lowered their cholesterol, blood pressure, risk for heart disease, metabolic syndrome, etc.
 
Although I have read lots of information on why processed foods are not good for your body, this book definitely opened my eyes to truly seeing HOW processed foods are making our nation fatter and sicker.  I like that Pollen gives you “rules” at the end – shop the outer aisles of the supermarket, look for foods that don’t have nutritional information (most likely a real food!), shop at Farmer’s Markets, choose foods only your Great-Grandmother would recognize, don’t buy anything with more than 5 ingredients listed, grow a garden if possible, cook your own food, etc.
 
I by no means eat perfectly, I do eat some processed foods and this is something I want to focus on cutting out. I have thought in the past that I could make most foods from scratch if I didn’t have to work – if I had more time Jason and I could eat much healthier – but I need to stop using that as an excuse. There are plenty of people out there who have less time than I do and are able to eat better (healthier) than I do. However, I do not want to ever come off as a holier-than-thou type. This is something I want to focus on — but I urge everyone to pick up this book and read it — and then decide for yourself if you need to make changes in the types of foods you choose.
 
*Have you read In Defense of Food? What did you think?
 
*Who does all of the meal planning/preparing in your house?

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32 Responses to “Avocado Pasta + Book Review”

  1. blackhuff Says:

    The Angela’s Creamy Avocado Pasta looks devine. I’m a big fan of avocado and this is most definitely something I am going to make tomorrow night – yum!

  2. Matt @ The Athlete's Plate Says:

    I thought In Defense of Food was a good book. I pretty much cut out all processed food after reading it (to an extent).

  3. Kate Says:

    we read that book for my nutrition class last semester and loved it. we biggest take away from the book was to stop worrying so much about food and eating. buy whole foods, cook them and enjoy them. culturally, that is how food works!

    i do most of the cooking for us. every now and again art will volunteer to make something and i totally let him run with it 🙂

    • Holly Says:

      Kate I love that — to stop worrying about food so much. When we get a new house (when? who knows) I for sure want a garden — that wouldn’t fly now since we’re in a townhome.

  4. Beth Says:

    I loved the book! It was really eye opening and engaging, though it didn’t have me on the edge of my seat waiting for more like some novels do. I was glad to have read it though.

  5. Anne Says:

    I think of Pollan so often as I cook and shop for my family and myself – keeping food as “close to the earth” as possible. Your examples from the book are great!

  6. charlotte Says:

    I love In Defense of Food and THe Omnivore’s Dilemma! I think all of Michael Pollan’s books should be required reading for high schoolers. Not kidding.

  7. 1970kikiproject Says:

    thanks for the book review, holly!
    i love, too, how the whole premise of the book can be summed up so easily (the eat whole foods, not too much, mostly plants mantra!) – but it is kind of funny that eating this way requires MORE of a time commitment. so much quicker to pick up prepared foods (i’ve tried to cut down lately, too).
    that is a crazy amount of snow!!!

    • Holly Says:

      I agree it can be more of a time commitment, but to be honest I really enjoy taking the time to make a meal. When I would just heat something up, it didn’t take long, I didn’t really get to appreciate what I was doing or eating. Usually I make dinner alone, but I want to start cooking more with Jason — last night it was a lot of fun!

  8. Angela (the diet book junkie) Says:

    okay i really need to read that book. i’ve seen Michael Pollen on Oprah (a few times) and read pieces of Food Rules, and he really makes some excellent points.

    and yeah, i do all the meal planning in our house. i have to. if i let my husband, we’d be living off pb&J. 🙂

  9. Hollie @ Lolzthatswim(andRun) Says:

    Since I’m a bit of a different boat then most bloggers, I do all the preparing food in my house (when I don’t eat on campus) for me. I normally end up making my own food and so do they.

    When Aram was here he would give ideas on what to make…sometimes…ha.

  10. leashieloo Says:

    Eeks! Look at all that snow…maybe if we both concentrate super hard, we can bring about an early spring? Like nowish??

  11. Alaina Says:

    I can’t wait to read his book! I have done my best to eliminate processed food from my diet too.

    I’m the one who does the meal planning and preparing. But its fun to cook with my husband too. 🙂

  12. Katie Says:

    I love anything he wrote. I actually liked the Omnivore’s Dilemma better, it was a faster read and hit home more. That ight have just been because I read it first though. Definitely check it out though!

  13. Dorry Says:

    I can’t believe all that snow! I wish I could send you some blue sky and sunshine. Billy and I plan our meals for the week together. We’ve actually gotten a lot better at it recently with one big grocery trip on Sunday or Monday, and maybe another trip for more produce later in the week.

  14. Laury @thefitnessdish Says:

    I LOVE In Defense of Food. One of my favorites!!!

    The snow..SO RIDIC!!! So sick of it. We got like a fluff storm last night. 2-3 inches or something stupid. I just want it to go away. It’s going to be SO cold tonight. We had 70 degree weather last Friday, and tonight it’s going to be 3! I want spring 😦

  15. Stephanie @ The Cookie Battle Says:

    I read it and loved it, I think he presents facts in an interesting manner and is a talented writer.

    I’m the meal planner in my house…if I left it up to the boy we would live on pizza and hot dogs!

  16. IHeartVegetables Says:

    I loooooved in defense of food! Seriously, such a great book. Now I’m reading the omnivores dilemma. I love Michael Pollan!

  17. Kris | iheartwellness.com Says:

    oh my goodness!!!! Girl, I love avocado in every meal. Breakfast {pudding}, Lunch {Salad or guac}, Dinner {THIS PASTA!} holy moly!

    Wow, we got a dusting of snow yesterday….what you have is crazy!

    I do all the meal planning and making. Go figure. My man was at one time a head chef at a popular restaurant here, and I do the work?!

    xxoo

  18. Christin@purplebirdblog Says:

    I completely agree… I want to make more foods from scratch and need to quit making excuses regarding not enough time. Like, I love crackers and don’t want to give them up, but I could make a fresh, preservative-free cracker that would be much better for me than what I can buy in the store!

  19. JewishGirl Says:

    Wow, what a cool recipe. I love the idea of using avocado to create creamy pasta…much more nutritious than using actual cream!

    I read Pollan’s “Food Rules,” which is a much shorter version of “In Defense of Food”—I think mostly limited to the actual rules at the end of the book. I found it really interesting! I liked the concept of eating things that your grandparents would recognize as being food. A good rule of thumb, indeed.

  20. Kylie @ A Hungry Spoon Says:

    I love Pollen’s work! In Defense of Food was the first I read, and you’re right–his simple rules make for easy reading and living. So glad you enjoyed it!

    Adam and I make our weekly menu plan on Saturday mornings before our grocery shopping date 🙂 We each choose a couple recipes we want to make that week and trade off with cooking. Works well for us!

  21. Stephanie Says:

    Sounds like a good book…thanks for reviewing it! I’m making a list of “healthy-making” books to read. I’m going to add that one to my holds list at the library.

  22. Kristina Says:

    I liked defense of food-I made my fiance watch it for pure shock value…he usually gets really into it, then vows not to eat certain things and to start trying my food…then that grows old.

    I want to try that avocado pasta now!

  23. Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) Says:

    Who does all of the meal planning/preparing in your house? = ME. 100% of the shopping, paying for the groceries, cooking, prep work, cleanup, etc. Me.

    I could not have picked a worse day to mail your pkg, i realized today with Pres Day and all. Grr.

    Lemon is a flavor in cooking, like mint, start slowly. You cannot un-do it and some lemons are just really lemoney. Sounds like you got a zinger! 🙂

    • Holly Says:

      No worries about the mail — it will get here soon enough. Thanks again for doing that.

      Yes — “zinger” is the perfect word to describe that lemon I used! I thought I liked lemon — and I do, it just has to be pretty subtle.

  24. Holly @ Self-love and Running Says:

    I started that book and really liked it. I haven’t finished it because I’m not sure where it has gotten off to but I really agreed with what he was saying.

  25. heather Says:

    I haven’t read this book, but I have his book “Food Rules” on my Amazon wish list. Thanks for the review. I do all the meal planning/preparing in our house and hubby does most of the shopping.


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