Food Rules

I just finished reading Michael Pollan’s book Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual. Pollan discusses how the Western diet is linked to soaring rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.  Pollan makes the point that eating well has become complicated because of widespread marketing of “edible foodlike substances” created primarily from refined corn, soy, wheat, as well as added sugar, fat, and numerous chemicals.  He attempts to help readers sift through all the complicated advice about eating healthfully through one piece of advice:

“Eat food.  Mostly plants.  Not to much.”

The rest of the book goes on to tell you how to implement that strategy.   Here are a few of his 64 food rules that jumped out at me:

Eat Food.
#11  Avoid foods you see advertised on television.
#13 Eat only foods that will eventually rot.
#19  If it came from a plant, eat it.  If it was made in a plant, don’t.
#20 It’s not food if it arrived through the window of your car.
#21 It’s not food if it’s called by the same name in every language. (Think Big Mac, Cheetos, or Pringles)

Mostly plants.
#22 Eat plants, mostly leaves.
#27 Eat animals that have themselves eaten well.
#34 Sweeten and salt your food yourself.
#36 Don’t eat breakfast cereals that change the color of the milk.
#37 “The whiter the bread, the sooner you’ll be dead.”
#39 Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.

Not too much.
#46 Stop eating before you’re full.
#50 “The banquet is in the first bite.”
#57 Don’t get your fuel from the same place your car does.

Here’s the first of Democracy Now!’s  three-part interview of Michael Pollan:

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Licensed psychologist in San Antonio, Texas.
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