Tag Archives: dietary guidelines

Just ERF

I’m a big fan of Mark Bittman.  For those that don’t know, he’s a quite famous food journalist/opinionist who wrote a column called “The Minimalist” in The New York Times for many years.  That column led to a variety of cookbooks  and books about his take on how to eat.  He believes a few main things when it comes to food:  eat less meat, more vegetables and fruits, and cook.    He keeps it simple, and I like that.


The reason I bring him up is that he now writes an opinion column for The New York Times, and I stumbled upon his most recent submission today.  It focuses on the newest set of U.S. dietary guidelines that the USDA just unveiled.  He takes note of how confusing the guidelines are to the everyday consumer because they have two different parties to satiate:  the eater (as in you) who wants to use the latest guidelines to improve his/her diet and also the distributors within the vast food industry who need to stay in the black. 

 This “health of the people vs. health of the business” is not a new conundrum in terms of food and the food industry, and it certainly will not go away anytime soon.  I don’t forsee Wal-Mart removing all processed foods from the shelves and replacing them with celery and apples.  Why should they when produce costs more money to bring in, is perishable, and also less favored than Pringles?  (On the flipside — one probable reason why Pringles and other processed foods are so popular is because they have been made so accessible to most consumers throughout the country, and so the arguments go on). 

I don’t have an answer on how to make both parties happy.  Wish I did.  To me, both groups have to share the blame for the mass proliferation of fake foods and the decrease in truly nutrious items. 

In his article, Bittman suggests that everyone just needs to ERF more.  No, ERF is not the cousin to ALF, if that’s what you’re thinking…

ALF says, "Just ERF!"


ERF means Eat Real Food.  He poses the question:  “Is ‘Eat Real Food’ Unthinkable?”  This one I do have an answer for…


It really is not difficult to make quick dishes that are healthy, delicious, and pretty darn satisfying.  In fact, it’s incredibly simple.  Hopefully I’ve shown you a few ways you can cook quick and tasty foods in the past month or so (and I plan on continuing to do so).  Whether it is fried eggs and tomato or blue cheese risotto, anyone can make the recipes I’ve posted.  You just have to decide to take the time to cook more and use as many real ingredients as possible.  In case you need some inspiration on where to start, here are some options:



I’ll get off my soap box now.  And go find a snack.

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