In In Defense of Food, Michael Pollan recommends eating a variety of species. It’s not one of his banner recommendations, which are 1. Eat food (would your great-grandparents recognize it as food?), 2. Not too much, 3. Mostly vegetables. (And I think he later added 4. Nothing that gets advertised.) His sub-banner recommendations are things like eat from an old cuisine and eat a variety of species.

I thought it would be fun to count the species I eat for a period of time, and do-able because since I rarely buy prepared food, I know what’s in everything I eat. I just carried a 3×5 card with me for five days and wrote things down as I ate them. It was fun. It got me a good compliment and gave me an outlandish truth for “two truths and a lie,” which was the check-in for my Crisis Center meeting this week.

It was interesting, too. When I think about food variety, I usually think about a variety of meals, or maybe stealing a meal from a different cuisine than usual, not number of species. The species  really added up fast. I had 58 at the end of day two. I did not go out of my way to make my list longer, either. Note that I have not thoroughly researched this list–I just wrote things down as I ate them. I am not well-schooled in which plants are different species and which are just different cultivars. I discovered, for example, in On Food and Cooking (a wonderful book, if you haven’t seen it), that two plants I wrote down, garnet yam and jewel yam, are not different species, and are not even really yams. They are kinds of sweet potato. They will appear below as “sweet potato” but other, similar instances have probably eluded me. It’s the end of my term and I’m too busy to look them all up. Please correct me if you catch anything!

alfalfa

apple

arugula

asparagus

avocado

banana

barley

basil

bay

bean, black

beets (root & greens)

bell pepper

blueberry

broccoli

buckwheat

cabbage, red

cacao

carrot

celery

chard

chicken (egg)

chive

cinnamon

corn

cow (meat, milk)

dill

eggplant

endive, Frisee

fennel

garbanzo bean

garlic

ginger

goat (milk)

grape, Sultana

grape, wine

herring

honey bee (honey)

kelp

kiwi

kumquat

lavender

lemon

lentil (Red Chief)

lettuce (Boston, red leaf, sentry)

mango

marjoram

mint

mushroom, common

nutritional yeast

oat

olive (fruit, oil)

onion, yellow

orange

oregano

oyster

parsley

peanut

pepper

pig

pineapple

pistachio

plum

potato, red

quinoa

raspberry

rice

rosemary

sage

salmon

sesame

sheep (meat)

soy

spinach

squash (summer, zuchini)

strawberry

sugar

summer savory

sweet potato (jewel, garnet)

tea

thyme

tomato

turmeric

walnut

wheat

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