Michael Pollan Archives

March 1st, 2010

Food Rules Review

Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual
by Michael Pollan

Food Rules: An Eater's Manual

Blurb: Eating doesn’t have to be so complicated. In this age of ever-more elaborate diets and conflicting health advice, Food Rules brings a welcome simplicity to our daily decisions about food. Written with the clarity, concision and wit that has become bestselling author Michael Pollan’s trademark, this indispensable handbook lays out a set of straightforward, memorable rules for eating wisely, one per page accompanied by a concise explanation. It’s an easy-to-use guide that draws from a variety of traditions, suggesting how different cultures through the ages have arrived at the same enduring wisdom about food. Whether at the supermarket or an all-you-can-eat buffet, this is the perfect guide for anyone who ever wondered, “What should I eat?”

First Sentence: Eating in our time has gotten complicated—needlessly so, in my opinion.

Thoughts

I’ve been learning a lot about eating better and the local food movement lately and this book is a concise source of all that information (you can probably read it in an hour). It breaks everything down into 64 Food Rules, many of which are easy to remember. As the author recommends, you don’t need to try and memorize all 64 rules, but if you take a couple from each of the three sections of the book you will greatly improve your health and relationship to food.

  • Section I covers how to distinguish food from “edible food-like substances.” Eg, “Avoid food products containing ingredients that no ordinary human would keep in the pantry.”
  • Section II covers more specific personal policies within eating real food, to help you figure out which real foods to eat. Eg, “Eat mostly plants, especially leaves”, “Eat animals that have themselves eaten well” and “Eat all the junk food you want, as long as you cook it yourself.”
  • Section III covers how to have a healthier relationship with food, drawing from cultural wisdom such as “Stop eating before you’re full” and “Try not to eat alone.”

After you’ve gotten into the habit of following a few of the rules, you can pull the book down from your shelf again and find a couple more rules to work into your daily routine. A must read for anyone who eats!

Michael Pollan Speaking on Food Rules

If you prefer to watch a video over reading a book, here Michael Pollan speaks at a farmer’s market in San Francisco (Jan. 2010), discussing what led up to this book, why we are all so confused about what is healthy, and the rules from the book to help you eat healthier (Source).

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