Micheal Pollan's latest book Food Rules: An Eater's Manual takes a simple, black and white approach to eating smarter. Pollan offers 64 "rules" for eating and here are some of the highlights.
What should I eat?
- Not just any food. Eat edible items that haven't been processed beyond recognition.
- If it came from a plant eat it; if made at a plant, don't.
- Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.
- Avoid food products that contain more than five ingredients.
- Avoid foods that contain high-fructose corn syrup.
What kind of food should I eat?
- Eat mostly plants, especially leaves.
- The whiter the bread, the sooner you will be dead.
- Avoid food products that contain ingredients that a third-grader cannot pronounce.
- It's not food if it arrived through the window of your car.
- Don't buy food where you buy your gasoline. In the U.S., 20% of food is eaten in the car.
- Don't eat breakfast cereals that change the color of the milk.
- Be the kind of person who takes supplements — then skip the supplements.
- Eating what stands on one leg is better than eating what stands on two legs which is better than eating what stands on four legs.
How should I eat?
- Not too much.
- Pay more, eat less. Pay a little more for real food that's worth eating.
- Always leave the table a little hungry.
- Eat meals together, at regular meal times.
- It's better to pay the grocer than the doctor.
The Western diet has “lots of everything,” Pollan writes, “except vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.” Virtually all of the obesity and type 2 diabetes, 80 percent of the cardiovascular disease and more than a third of all cancers can be linked to the Western diet. On average, men are 17 pounds heavier and women 19 pounds heavier than they were in the 1970s.
Be flexible and honor those special occasions, Pollan reminds us in conclusion. What matters is your everyday practice — your default habits. Change those and then enjoy, guilt free, your special celebrations.