I’ve read all of Michael Pollan’s books, with the exception of the latest (which I am excited to read!), and I love his philosophy on health and nutrition. He promotes eating food, mostly plants and not too much – simple, right?!?!
In his book, “Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual” he shares short rules to live and eat by – I am not known to be a rigid rule follower, which is why I prefer the term guideline :). This book is a super simple and short read but below I have summarized a few of my favorites for those of you who may not find the time to read it.You have likely heard all of this before, but a reminder is always good every now and then.
1. Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food – Does your great-gma know what Gogurt is? Exactly… stick to the basics, eat simple whole foods rather than processed and packaged items.
2. Avoid food products containing ingredients a third-grader cannot pronounce – if you follow the above guideline, you won’t have any issues but if not, this is a good second line of defense. Rutabaga may be one of the few exceptions here :).
3. Eat only foods that will eventually rot – live foods will eventually go bad but if a ‘food’ is already dead, it can stay on your shelf forever. Your body gets the most nutrients from whole, live foods so to feel alive, you must eat things that are alive.
4. If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t!
5. Eat well grown food from healthy soil – It doesn’t have to be complicated. If you are eating things that are grown (or treated) poorly, genetically modified or laden with chemicals, then steer clear. Be your own body’s advocate and know what you are putting into it.
6. Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself – now, I might not say ALL the junk food you want… but we love pizza, french fries and ice cream for a reason, they are delicious! Really, what fun is life without pizza? You may not know it given the surplus of junk readily available, but it is not easy to make some of these yummy favorites. So if you want it, do the work and make it! Your meal is bound to be healthier and free of junk when you make it at home. True story, I used to LOVE cheesecake… until I made it for a party. Now that I know all that goes into it, I am not nearly as interested!
7. Eat more like the French. Or the Japanese. Or the Italians. Or the Greeks – There is a reason the Standard American Diet has SAD as the acronym. Because it is a sad way to eat and live. Other cultures generally eat real, fresh foods mindfully and in proper proportions. When you do that, your body functions more optimally to assimilate nutrients and give you signals when enough is enough.
8. Avoid foods you see advertised on television (or ones with health claims on the label) – most likely these are not real foods. Its no brainer that vegetables are good for you, which is why they don’t need to advertise it!
9. Spend as much time enjoying a meal as it took to prepare it – if you do cook for yourself, you’ll know that this can mean long meals, but those are the best kind! Using meals as a time to connect and reflect has become a lost treasure this day in age – slow down, enjoy your food and enjoy the people you are with!
10. Break the rules once in a while – and this is why I love Michael Pollan’s approach :)!
Here’s to staying healthy yet balanced!