You are surrounded by myths. Myths on how to be more productive, how to live better, how to be healthier or how to improve your life. Myths coming either from experts or from interested people just like you.

Either you like it or not, you’re on one side of the story. You embrace one of the myths. And when it comes to food, nutrition, diet related issues or cooking, there are a lot of beliefs and trends.

However, it’s always interesting to check out other beliefs and views on the way you’re cooking or your concept of healthy eating. It may add up to your knowledge, or, on the contrary, it may change your vision by a 360 degrees angle.

What better way to get inspired other than TED? These four TED talks may be contradicting your vision on certain aspects of food, but they certainly bring forward some pertinent ideas. Take a look below and let us know if you got challenged by some ideas from the videos.

Nathan Myhrvold: Cooking as never seen before

Boiling, steaming, frying – just some of the ways you use to prepare your food. However, do you know what really happens when you cook food? Luckily, Nathan Myhrvold introduces a new, avant garde concept of cooking in his book “Modernist Cuisine”, a concept that exposes food as never seen before.

His book is composed of a series of unusual illustrations, basically cooked foods “sectioned” while in the process. Although at a first glimpse the book seems just a series of cool photographic work, its purpose is to introduce people into the chemistry, the physics and the processes involved in cooking, and to expose it in a more conceptual manner.

Interesting about the illustrations is that they’re not photoshoped, or at least not entirely. The dishes are actually cut in half, then each side photographed and finally they are processed. You must have noticed the huge amount of work in realizing the illustrations as restaurant ovens and and dishes are actually cut in half with a machine shop.

The gigantic work, consisting of more than 2000 pages, goes beyond food and cooking. I’d say it goes as deep as the atom. It makes a conceptual and thorough dissection on the process of cooking. Exploring even the process of making a hamburger – not the healthiest meal, it should be appreciated for its original and profound view on the matter.

Jamie Oliver on teaching every child about food

Famous chef Jamie Oliver raises awareness on Americans and their unhealthy eating habits, and the consequences of the current food environment on children. The bad health condition and statistics of obesity – a result of an inappropriate diet, are extended at a global level.

He exposes the three sides of the problem as: the main street, school and homes. The main street is filled with fast food, local food has been replaced with highly processed food, labeling is all a lie, and people cook less at home. School food, which is supposed to be fresh and nutritious has been replaced with cheap, processed fast food, and the saddest part is that children are not given any sort of food education in school.

As a living proof of his claims, Jamie talks about his food revolution in Huntington, West Virginia. A video shot in an elementary school with children not recognizing common vegetables is truly unbelievable. Milk, another ingredient fed two times a day to kids has high amounts of sugar.

The good news is that everything can be prevented. Home cooked meals for busy people, food education in schools, government cooperating with restaurants and fast foods, labeling, and proper amounts of fresh food in schools are just some of the few steps towards change.

He defines as a life skill leaving school with knowing to cook 10 simple basic recipes. Jamie claims that if America will make a change, it will extend to other parts of he world. So, do you share Jamie’s ideas on teaching children about food and cooking?

Mark Bittman on what’s wrong with what we eat

Coming from a person who has written about food for years, surprisingly, this talk establishes a balance between the “vegetarian/organic” side and the “meat” side.

For a start, the food writer promotes plants for a healthier lifestyle and a longer lifespan, and emphasizes the huge amounts of meat and fast food that we eat daily, food that is neither recommended nor does it helps for our health. Nothing new in this side of the story. We all know it, but it seems so difficult to apply it.

However, the author analysis the other side of the story, the one of vegetarians, vegans, locavors (those who eat local food), showing that organic food is not the answer either. He even questions the healthy eating pyramid, and the quality of nowadays’ home cooking, which has been replaced by bought supermarket products and canned or frozen meals.

The bottom line is that we eat too much protein. Experts recommend half of pound of meat per week, but in fact most of us eat that amount per day.

Less meat, less junk, more plants is Mark Bittman’s formula for a healthier life. If it’s so simple, why is it to difficult to apply it?

Dan Buettner: How to live to be 100+

You all want to live longer, right? You hear and read a lot of advice on how to eat better, and how to live longer. Which one to follow?

What caught my attention from the beginning at this speech is the fact that it contradicts and bring arguments to some of the most common myths on longevity. For example, “There are treatments that can slow down aging”.

Sardinia and the Okinawa archipelago have been identified as places where longevity is quite high, and one of habits of these places are plant-based diets, smaller portions and also an active social life , elder people being treated with more respect. Unexpectedly, adventists also live longer, because of their way of respecting rituals.

So, the longer life span “recipe” has been narrowed down to 3 basic steps: move naturally, have the right outlook, and eat wisely which also involves to connect and belong in the right circles. After all, diet and exercise isn’t everything, it’s also your friends and your relations that make you live longer. Have other longevity tips to share?

Video credits to TED. Featured photo from here.