Around the Medicine Wheel with Jim Frank

—Don’t we all want a map with a big arrow that says, “You are here!”

Food:: this is big subject

I recently read Michael Pollan’s “In Defense of Food – an Eater’s Manifesto,”  and I am reminded of how food fits on the Medicine Wheel and how I use this as a guideline in choosing what food to eat.   GUIDELINE NOT RULE – this is picking food, not a religion.  Mr. Pollan suggests “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”  I like that. When he writes that we should eat food, he is saying to not eat anything that you great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.  Read the label and don’t eat anything that contains more then five ingredients or has ingredients with names that can’t be pronounced.  Pass on foods in packages covered in health claims. He makes a case that foods that are claimed to be “healthy” are so over-engineered in the name of the “Nutritionism” that the healthy claim is likely to be just the opposite. (More about the evils of “Nutritionism” in this NY Times article)

So, having established that we should be eating “food” this is how I use the Medicine Wheel to guide my food choice. The East, being the place of vision, I pick foods that I can see right now, I strive to eat foods that are in season. Secondly, in the South I pick foods that are local. If it grown nearby, it is will be fresher, and maybe even of a variety that has better taste because it wasn’t selected for shipping and storage ability. My next priority will be to pay attention to how it is grown, is it organic? It makes a difference but please note, that is my third consideration. And Finally, the question of how it is prepared and served – whole better than processed. So every week I go to the vegetable market (I shop at Gentile’s in Newtown Sq.) and buy a big bag of fresh veggies. What I have found is that when something is season here in Pennsylvania, it sells for less and is less likely to have been transported across the country. And it tastes better and usually costs less too. It makes me crazy to see people buy “organic” strawberries in January that have been picked early to be ripened in the cartons while being flown one third around the world, polluting the worlds oceans with jet fuel while screwing up the local economy of some less developed country, all in the name of “organic.”  When I finish this post I am going to reward myself by going around to the local farm and buy some peak-of-the-season strawberries that were picked this morning at their very best. … I can’t wait, I’ll write more about this later.

About The Author


2 Responses to “Food:: this is big subject”

  1. Bill Eshbach says:

    Interesting… the way you map food back to the medicine wheel. Interesting, also the way you have not allowed yourself to become fanatic about organic vs. not organic or all veggies vs. meat. I find it strange how we humans often get so embroiled in thinking that one way is better than another. Vegetarianism vs. Oh what would eating only meat be? It is interesting to see how often we go off the edge of reasonable-ness and go off in search of fanaticism in so many things, from what we eat to how we worship. It is good to see your level-headed approach out here. Thank you for the ideas that will fuel my thoughts for a little while.

  2. Geoff Young says:

    The term organic has definitely been corrupted. Back when this term was first used it was meant to imply local, sustainable, seasonal foods. Unfortunately this type of food is hard to industrialize so the groups that originally wanted to live and eat “organically” have move to using terms like local, sustainable, biodynamic, etc. I imagine it’s only a matter of time until all of these terms get plastered over foods that can be well packaged and marketed to make us “healthy”. Just went to see Food, Inc and Michael Pollan was one of the main people featured, highly reccomend seeing it.