Food Rules by Michael Pollan is a short and easy book on what we should eat and not eat. I find it very sensible and easy to implement and I loved it.
- Eat food (whole and natural)
- Don’t eat too much
- And eat mostly plants a wide range of foods (unrefined)
Michale Pollan writing Food Rules wanted to answer the question “what should we eat”. It’s a collection of 64 rules and that’s exactly what I am looking for as well.
Foods You Should Eat
- Real food: or what’s called “whole food” these days, meaning as less processing as possible (natural)
- Eat only what eventually rots: a way to assuage if a food is natural or not is to wonder whether it will rot (chips and cookies don’t rot for example)
- Pay more for food: it’s a great investment, and dollar for dollar it’s much better than paying for the doctor
- Eat slow: chew your food well, put the fork down between bites
- Taste before fixing: before adding sugar or salt, taste the food, chances are it’s already good as it is
- Treat treats as treats: No need to be a nazi, but sodas and baked food are for special occasions (and no more than once a month)
- Moderation: there are many rules out and types of diets out there, but moderation in everything is a good rule of thumb
- Eat at the table: not in front of the TV or while watching a movie (chances are you’d eat more)
- The fruit test: if you’re not hungry enough for fruit, then you’re not really hungry and you just craving. And you don’t need that sugary product
- Feel free to talk: I was surprised to read this, but apparently talking helps digestion
- Buy Local: buy from local farmers, or grow a garden yourself
- Food-like substances: when Michael Pollan says “eat food” he means that lots of western foods are not real foods, and they usual cluster in the middle of the grocery shopping isles
- Low fat, no fat or diet version
- Going back for seconds: wait for a bit, chances are you don’t need that extra food
- High fructose corn syrup
- Western diet, such as:
- processed food and meat
- lots of sugar
- processed carbohydrates
Real Life Applications
I will be implementing a lot of ideas from Food Rules, including:
Wait before going for seconds
Too often I eat more just because I “hit my stride” and I’m enjoying the taste and the process. Once you’ve finished your portion, wait for a while instead.
Pay more for food
It’s better to pay for your food than paying for the doctor. Good food is great investment.
Avoid western diet
Eat like the Italians, the Japanese, the Greek or the French. But avoid US diet.
Food Rules don’t tell you to cut anything… For ever. That’s why it’s a sensible book. However it does say that the unhealthy food should be rare. Very rare.
Sometimes badly generic
Saying things like “eat like the Italians, or eat like the Japanese” is a bit generic. How do Italians eat for example.
Or how about all that white rice from the Japanese?
An effort to give short rules should be not come at the cost of accuracy.
Quick and to the point
Short and to the point, like all great books should be
Some people complained Food Rules has no science. Wrong, Food Rules is based on sensible science which doesn’t need to quote single researches but looks at the whole.
Some people complained Food Rules has no research. I find that silly and another common western misconception.
Food books “based on research” end up with totally different -and opposing- theories and diets.
For example The China Study says eat plants and carbs because meat is terrible, but The Plant Paradox says plenty of plants are toxic and Wheat Belly says wheat has killed more people than any war.
And they all claim of being based on science and research!
Food Rules instead is from a sensible guy who has read all those opposing theories and ended up settling with what science agree the most on.