Book Review: Food Rules by Michael Pollan

As you may or may not know, I love Michael Pollan. The way he talks about food is so refreshing. He is not a nutritionist, dietitian or scientist. He is a writer who is passionate about the way we treat the earth, our bodies and animals. He is not trying to push a certain diet or tell us we can or can’t eat a whole food group. He just wants us to be aware of our food choices and try to make the best possible choice as often as possible. And his food philosophy from the best book ever In Defense of Food is the same I try to live by – Eat Food. Not too Much. Mostly Plants. Pretty simple, right?

Pollan has a new book out right now, Food Rules. Food rules is a handbook that lays out a set of straightforward, memorable rules for eating wisely. 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?”

For $5, Food Rules is a fun little read that is also a great conversation starter around the house. A lot of the rules may seem like common sense to anyone who is interested in healthy eating, but some got me thinking in a different ways. It is also nice to have around if you need a little motivation to clean up your eating. Michael Pollan is all about eating as cleaning as possible, which can be difficult when living in real like and on a limited budget. Some of the rules that stood out to me and that I want to incorporate into my food habits include:

– Rule #6 : Avoid food products with more than five ingredients
. I already try to follow this rule as much as possible. I try to avoid food that come in packaging as much as possible, but let’s be honest – it’s 2010 and that is easier said than done. Filling my grocery cart with items with limited ingredient lists is the next best thing.
– Rule #16: Buy your snacks at the farmer’s market. When I read this rule it was one of those “Ah-ha!” moments. If the only foods you snack on are bought at (or can be found at a farmer’s market), you know you will be eating fresh fruits and vegetables, dried fruits and nuts. Snack food are notoriously processed foods, so changing the way we think of snacks will ultimately change the way we snack.
– Rule #19: If it came from a plant, eat it. If it was made in a plant, don’t. Straight-forward enough and kind of cute.
– Rule #21: It’s not food if it is called the same thing in every language (think Big Mac, Cheetos, or Pringles). So true! My first fast food hamburger was in Italy (so wrong and gross, I know). And it was called a Big and Tasty – even in Italy! It was big, but it wasn’t tasty enough to ever have again – no matter what country I was in.
– Rule #39: Eat all the junk food you want, as long as you cook it yourself. In our house, we always make our own oven-baked fries. And we bake our own muffins. We do not make ice cream like Pollan suggests, but would if we could. Maybe we will register for an ice cream machine whenever we decide to get married. 😉
– Rule #57: Don’t get your fuel from the same place your car does. Pollan mentions that gas stations now make more money inside selling snacks and soda as they do outside selling gas. With gas prices as high as they are nowadays, that is a pretty scary statistic.

These are the “old wives tales” I hope will be passed along to our future generations. Many, if not all, of these food rules will be able to be passed along to our children. I plan to hang on to this book and revisit it often. Even when you try to eat healthy it will make you stop and think about your food choices, and most likely change some of them. And that is one of the reasons I admire Michael Pollan. Two thumbs up for Michael Pollan, as usual!

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One thought on “Book Review: Food Rules by Michael Pollan

  1. […] Just kept putting this off. – Read a book. Food Rules by Michael Pollan. SUCCESS. Read my review here. The week felt like it went by super fast, but when I look back on all the fun stuff we did, I am […]

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