Michael Pollan is a fellow who has taken a hard look at what we eat and how we grow our food. He has written several great books about these topics (In Defense of Food , Omnivore’s Dilemma) but his easiest read is the tiny book “Food Rules” that packs a powerful punch. He dedicates his book to his mom, saying, “For my mother, who always knew butter was better for you than margarine.” Michael divides his wee book of 64 rules into three parts: What should I eat? What kind of food should I eat? And How should I eat?
What should I eat? (eat food)
The first section helps people to think about what is a real food compared to the highly processed products of modern food science that has come to dominate our food marketplace and diet.
Rule #1- Eat Food
Michael points out that there are 17,000 new products in the supermarket each year. The industry is vying for your food dollar but he states that most of these items don’t deserve to be called food…more of edible foodlike products. So, he says, choose real food, avoiding these industrial novelties.
Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food. He paints the scenario of you and your great-grandmother standing in the dairy section of a supermarket looking at a tube of Go-Gurt portable yogurt tubes. Granny doesn’t know what it could possibly be! Is it food or toothpaste? What is this packaging? Chemical additives and corn/ soy derivatives aside, much of the packaging is probably toxic . Many of today’s processed foods are designed to push our evolutionary buttons – our inborn preference for fat, salt and sugar. Think of great grandma and you will keep these types of food out of your cart.
Rule #7 Avoid food products that have ingredients that a third-grader cannot pronounce.
Rule #11 Avoid foods you see advertised on television.
You rarely see whole foods advertised on t.v. When’s the last time the lowly carrot has had its own ad?
Rule #19 If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t.
What kind of food should I eat? (mostly plants)
Whole foods, most of the time, is the simple key to a healthy diet. There is an astonishing array of traditional foods that people have lived on from around the world. What makes it work?
Rule #22- Eat mostly plants, especially leaves.
Rule #24- Eating what stands on one leg (mushrooms and plants) is better than eating what stands on two legs (fowl), which is better than eating what stands on four legs (cows, pigs, sheep and other mammals)
Rule #30- Eat well-grown food from healthy soil
Rule #36- Don’t eat breakfast cereals that change the colour of your milk.
How should I eat? (not too much)
This section deals with rituals, manner, taboos and guidelines to eating. Michael notes that the French eat lethally fatty food but, wash it down with one glass of red wine, and seldom snack, eat smaller portions from smaller plates, no second helpings and have long, leisurely meals with others.
Rule # 44- Pay more, eat less.
Eat quality healthy food and less of it. “Better to pay the grocer than the doctor”.
Rule #46- Stop eating before you are full.
Many cultures speak to this rule: Japanese- stop eating when they are 80% full.
The Ayurvedic tradition in India advises eating till 75% full. The Chinese say 70%. You get the idea.
Rule # 54- “Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper.”
Rule #57- Don’t get your fuel from the same place your car does.
Rule # 63- COOK!
So, some food for thought: Eat food, mostly plants, not too much!
What do you think?
Shared with permission from The Non-Consumer Advocate (http://thenonconsumeradvocate.com/)
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