Food Rules: Words to Live By

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Last week I made A Case for Moderation, and I gave you my “Food Philosophy,” if you will. Today, I want to share some simple “Food Rules” from one of my favorite authors, Michael Pollan. In “Food Rules, an eater’s manual” you find simple food wisdom that hopefully will change the way you relate to food. This book beautifully illustrates that “eating doesn’t have to be so complicated, and food is as much about pleasure and communion as it is about nutrition and health.” Love it! So pick YOUR favorite “Food Rules” and enjoy a new way of thinking about eating!

The book is divided into sections based on the number 1 rule (and my personal favorite)

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

Part 1. Eat Food answers the “What should I Eat?” question. These rules help you distinguish real foods- the plants and animals we have been eating for generations- from the highly processed “food-like” products that have dominated the American food marketplace and diet.

1. Don’t Eat Anything Your Great Grandmother Wouldn’t Recognize as Food

2. Avoid Food Products that No Ordinary Human Would Keep in the Pantry (xanthan gum?)

3. Avoid Food Products that Are Pretending to Be Something They are Not (artificial sweeteners)

4. Shop the Periphery of the Supermarket and Stay Out of the Middle

5. Eat Only Foods that Will Eventually Rot

6. Eat Only Foods that Have Been Cooked by Humans

7. If It Came from a Plant, Eat It; If It Was Made in a Plant, Don’t

8. When You Eat Real Food, You Don’t Need Rules! 

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Part 2. Mostly Plants addresses the question of “What Kind of Food Should I Eat?” These rules deal with what to eat, above and beyond “food.”

1. Eat Mostly Plants, Especially Leaves

2. Eating What Stands on One Leg (mushrooms), Is Better Than Eating What Stands on Two Legs (chicken), Which is Better Than Eating What Stands on Four Legs (cows, pigs)

3. Eat Your Colors

4. Sweeten and Salt Food Yourself

5. Don’t Eat Breakfast Cereals that Change the Color of the Milk

6. Eat All the Junk Food You Want as Long as You Cook It Yourself

7. Have a Glass of Wine With Dinner (Like this one!)

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Part 3. Not Too Much refers to “How Should I Eat? This section reminds us that HOW we eat may have as much bearing on our health as WHAT we eat.

1. Stop Eating Before You’re Full

2. Eat When You Are Hungry, Not When You Are Bored

3. If You’re Not Hungry Enough to Eat an Apple, Then You’re Probably Not Hungry

4. Serve the Vegetables First

5. Eat Slowly

6. Eat with Other People When You Can

7. Treat Treats as Treats

8. Cook!

9. Break the Rules Once in A While! (moderation! Love it!)

I hope these simple “Food Rules” inspire you and help you see food in a different light; appreciate all it offers our body, our mind and our soul! Now go cook something delicious!

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4 Responses to “Food Rules: Words to Live By”

  1. jodi most

    This is a great article. My favorite tip is “When you eat real food, you don’t need rules”.

  2. rob g

    have not read this but will based on your review. food should be a journey and experiences (ideally shared with others), not a simple act or destination to reach. thanks for sharing

  3. susan von alst

    Great article DR JACQ…. I enjoy reading your articles! Wait until I tell my young adults in the house, “Lets start with vegetables!” My kids eat veggies every night so we will see how this plays out.
    Wish I could get them to Kale, they say it’s a WEED!

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