Should I Eat This? A Guide To Food In The 21st Century

By Jane Mountain | February 12, 2012

Cereal Boxes

Ever caught yourself staring blankly at the back of a food package, unable to tell whether eating it will fill you with goodness or kill you? Have you ever heard the jingle for a food item and suddenly started craving that food? Ever stood staring blankly in the grocery aisle, mesmerized by all the choice?

You’re not alone.

For those of us lucky enough to have that dizzying array of choices, deciding what to eat (and what to avoid) can be a mind-bending experience.

Eating Should Be Easy, But It’s Not
One second fat is the enemy. The next minute it’s carbs that’ll kill. And then before you know it, only bad carbs are bad, good carbs are cool.

Should you follow the Paleo diet or eat based on your blood type? Should you avoid all animal products or pump up the protein? Does milk really do a body good? What about pork, the other white meat? Where’s the beef?

Is this going to make me fat? Will it give me diabetes, a heart attack, or cancer? Is it full of GMOs (and what the hell’s a GMO anyway)? What weird chemicals does it contain? How many Weight Watchers points is that?


It’s enough to drive a person around the bend and back again.

But wait, there’s more.

Eating Right Isn’t Just About Health Anymore
In recent years, we’ve started paying more attention to where our food comes from. Who makes it and how? Is the process of producing our food destroying our earth, poisoning the air and water? How does what we eat affect people halfway across the globe?

As much as we’d like our food decisions to be based on logic and science, they’re usually based on marketing, peer pressure, culture, and conjecture.

There are a million voices (from your Mom to multi-million dollar marketing campaigns to me) all clamoring for you to eat what they say you should eat.

Food shouldn’t be that hard; it doesn’t have to be.

You could choose to just turn your head and look the other way. You could choose to blindly follow the latest diet trend. You could choose to take your chances, hurting your health and the people around you along the way.

Or, you could learn a little more and decide for yourself.

Should I Eat This: The Blog Series
In this series I’m going to explore the different types of food we eat: candy bars and snack food; fast food and gourmet restaurant meals; meat, fish, and tofu; grains, veggies, and lots of other tasty stuff.

I want to find out how each of these foods affects our health and what it’s doing to the world around us.

I’m not going to make up rules and ban dessert and count calories and weigh out grams of fat. That’s boring. I’m not going to preach about what to eat and what to avoid. That’s your decision. I will share the conclusions I’ve drawn for myself and you can do with them what you like.

By the end of the series, I hope to arm us all with enough information so we can pick up any food item at any time and answer one key question:

Should I Eat This?

Should I Eat This? Part One will be coming your way mid-March.

The Fine Print
<span font-size: 12px”>Disclaimer 1: I am not a doctor, nutritionist or any other kind of health professional. I’m just an avid cook and food nut who hates to see people struggle with health and happiness just because they don’t know what to eat.

<span font-size: 12px”>Disclaimer 2: I’m not going to cover every aspect of every issue of eating in this guide. If I did, it would be akin to reading the dictionary or the bible cover to cover – and no one wants to do that. The information in this guide represents what I think is interesting and useful and I hope you will too.


Should I Eat This? The Complete Series


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Hi, I’m Jane, founder and chief blogger on My Five Acres. I’ve lived in six countries and have camped, biked, trekked, kayaked, and explored in 50! At My Five Acres, our mission is to inspire you to live your most adventurous life and help you to travel more and more mindfully.


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  15. Comment by ann

    ann Reply February 12, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    don’t eat anything that reads like a chemical formula, eg

    Extract of malted barley, milk solid, sugar, cocoa vegetable oil [containing one or more of the following: palm oil, palm olein, coconut oil, palm kernel oil, whey, corn oil, soya oil] whey ACTIGEN-E [dicalcium phosphate, magnesium carbonate ascorbic acid, vitamin pp, ferric pyrophosphate, calcium-d-pantothenate, vitamin B6, vitamin B2, vitamin B1, D-biotin, vitamin B12, disodium phosphate, vanillin, maltodextrin

    OMG. my kids had this for breakfast.

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