Skip to main content

Hartland Author Gives Tips on Eating Healthy and Buying Smart

Sep 19, 2019 04:38PM ● By Sue Baldani
Everyone needs to eat. So why not make sure that what you’re eating is not only healthy, but authentic? Good food can be expensive, but it’s usually worth it. However, since some foods may resemble others, how do you know if you’re getting what you’re paying for at the market and in restaurants?

As Larry Olmsted, an award-winning journalist and author, points out is his new book, “Real Food Fake Food,” pay attention to what you’re buying since there are many deceptions in the food industry. People may think they’re buying extra-virgin olive oil or genuine Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese from Italy, but how can they be sure? What about fish and meats? How do you know if they are the real deal?

For example, not only do some lobster rolls contain no lobster at all, Olmsted cautions, but that grated cheese you’re putting on your pasta might be packed with cellulose, an additive that prevents clumping. So how do you get around this to ensure you’re eating the actual ingredients you desire?

Olmsted advocates buying food in its natural whole state if at all possible. You’ll know what you’re getting, and the food will also taste better. For example, buy hunks of cheese and grate them fresh right before eating. Leave those deboned and skinned chicken breasts in the meat case and instead grab a whole chicken and cut it up yourself. It will not only be fresher, but cheaper as well. And, buy whole lobsters and make those rolls yourself. That way you’ll know exactly what ingredients and how much of each is in them.

Knowledge is especially important when buying fish, he says. Most white fish filets look the same, so how do you know you’re getting what you pay for? After all, Chilean sea bass is going to be much pricier than cod. Get to know the different types of fish you want to eat.

As Olmsted advised in a recent TED talk at the University of Nevada in Reno, “If you want red snapper, for example, Google it, then go to the fish market and find a whole red snapper that matches the picture.” If you don’t want to take home the head, have the fishmonger cut it into filets while you wait.

Olmsted knows that following his advice is not easy and not for everyone. After all, doing it his way takes far more time and effort. But in the end, you’ll know exactly what’s on your plate, at least when you’re eating at home.

Ted Talk

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to Image's free newsletter to catch every headline