Eating Experiment No. 6: Preliminary Findings

Outrageous experiments in sensible eating.
Feb. 13 2011 8:29 PM

Eating Experiment No. 6: Preliminary Findings

Goal: To put it all together: to continue to eat healthfully, to make smart shopping decisions, to eat slowly and mindfully, to eat foods that satisfy me, and to make the best eating choices for the environment, with the ultimate goal of figuring out what my No. 1 priority should be when it comes to eating and in what order the other priorities should come. The hope is that ordering my eating priorities will help me make better decisions.

/blogs/cleanplate/2011/02/13/eating_experiment_no_6_preliminary_findings/jcr:content/body/slate_image

Conclusions:

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My Eating Priorities:

  1. My health and satisfaction . I think health has to be my top priority, because I am the only person on the planet who can take total responsibility for my health. And this gives me the most options. When I have a lot available to me, I can make the healthiest choice, but if I'm in a place with limited options (such as traveling), I can make the healthiest choice based on what's available. Nonetheless, satisfaction is important. There's no point eating healthy food if it isn't enjoyable and satisfying. So my health and satisfaction will continue to vie for top position, but hopefully health will win be a little bit higher.
  2. Time will take spot No. 2. I'd love to be able to spend all the time in the world planning and shopping and cooking the healthiest meals possible, but the fact is I can't. I have a day job, I live in a tough city, I have other responsibilities, and there's only so much time I can devote to food.
  3. Money and the environment. I am concerned about the environment. I'd love to be able to buy everything local and/or organic, but that's not always possible. I have learned that buying the least expensive option isn't as much of a priority for me as eating what I want, but I can't spend all the money in the world either. So environment and money will vie for position No. 3. The environment will win when I can find and afford the more environmentally-friendly choice. Money will win when I can't.

Next up: Tomorrow I post my conclusions about the Clean Plate project and say goodbye.

Ellen Tarlin is a former Slate copy chief and writer of the "Clean Plate" blog. Her essays have appeared in the Boston Globe, the Boston PhoenixBrooklyn Bridge, Bark, and  the RISK storytelling podcast. Follow her on Twitter.

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