How do you sift through contradictory diet advice to figure out what works best for you? Read on to learn about a decision-making framework that can help you decide how to eat better.
Top 3 on Garlic Delight
Here are the top 3 most-read posts from this week.
- 5-Minute Easy Garlic Bread Recipe
- Silken Tofu vs. Soft Tofu: What’s the Difference?
- 9 Types Of Tofu You’ve Never Heard Of
What We’re Lovin’ This Week
Without AC, we have avoided cooking on the stove during the 34ºC/86ºF summer heat.
Instead, we busted out the spiralizer to make zucchini noodles. Last night, we enjoyed “zoodles” with hot Italian sausage cooked in Rao’s pasta sauce.
We have a recipe to guide you on how to spruce up boring premade pasta sauce in a jar with zoodles.
Try Out This Recipe
Check out the Garlic Tomato Cream Zucchini Pasta with Shrimp recipe.
But there’s no need to go fancy with shrimp (plus it’s not the most environmentally friendly protein).
Add whatever you’ve got to the pasta sauce: sliced hot dogs, grilled tofu or even eggs (we poach eggs in the pasta sauce as you would in Shakshouka).
Quick tip: Rao’s can be expensive. We only get the 2-pack deal at Costco for less than $15 or at Target on sale for $7.99.
I can’t stop thinking about…
Emily explains the 2-step process that economists use to make informed, data-driven decisions:
- “First, they need all the information about the decision—they need the right data.”
- “Second, they need to think about the right way to weigh the pluses and minuses of the decision (in class we call this costs and benefits) for them personally.”
The key is that even with the same data, this second part—this weighing of the pluses and minuses—may result in different decisions for different people. Individuals may value the same thing differently.Emily Oster from Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong–and What You Really Need to Know
I’m halfway through the book but I’ve already concluded that eating sushi, drinking a glass of wine, and even eating raw eggs are OK for me.
Sardines and herring are the best fish choices for me. Grouper and orange roughy, on the other hand, are no-nos.
Turkey deli meat and gardening are best avoided for me.
Why would an economist’s decision-making framework be better than a doctor’s recommendations?
Emily mentions that doctors learn to practice medicine, which doesn’t include analyzing data or reading the latest medical literature on best practices.
In the last few years, some medical schools started incorporating nutrition into their curriculum, such as Stanford’s Teaching Kitchen Collaborative. Pioneering doctors are beginning to prescribe recipes instead of drugs for chronic illnesses. But there’s still a long way to go.
What I can’t stop thinking is not the data (or lack thereof). But that two people can look at the same evidence, weigh the costs and benefits, and come up with polar-opposite decisions. And both people would be right.
Next time you see a study about the best diet for weight loss, Alzheimer’s prevention, heart disease prevention, or diabetes prevention, ask yourself:
- Are the claims backed by science?
- Based on the trade-offs, what is right for me?
Before I end this Tea Time Talk, let’s circle back to last week’s mission of cooking without following recipes.
How do you step away from recipes and start cooking intuitively?
Baby step 2: How did experimenting with tasting your ingredients turn out? Did you get intimate with them?
This weekend, try making scrambled eggs without following any recipes.
Beat 3 eggs in a bowl. Heat a pan with a neutral cooking oil (like canola oil) and pour the eggs in once the oil starts to shimmer. Sprinkle some salt on top of the eggs. Turn the eggs quickly a few times until the eggs look wet and jiggly. Turn off the heat and slide the eggs onto a plate. They will keep cooking after you take them off the heat.
Now, take a bite of the scrambled eggs.
How do they taste?
Is it salty enough? How would you season the eggs to add flavor? Would you add other flavorings like sauces or herbs? Sriracha? Thyme? Cilantro? Fresh ground pepper? Lemon pepper?
Try this experiment a few times. If the eggs suck, make a mental note of what you don’t like. Too salty? Too spicy? Too bland?
Try it again the next day, except choose a radically different flavoring.
Once you’re happy with your scrambled eggs, remember the process.
Improvise the next time you make scrambled eggs based on your memories of what you like. If you felt like hot sauce yesterday, maybe you feel like grated cheddar and ground cumin today.
And there you have it – scrambled eggs cooked intuitively.
You have one dish under your belt that you can improvise infinitely with different combinations of flavorings and toppings.
When you’re scratching your head next week about what to eat for dinner, cook yourself (and your significant other + family) a plate of scrambled eggs. Add a green salad on the side, and you have a complete meal.