Food Rules (Michael Pollan) – Review

Food rules : an eater's manualFood Rules: An Eater’s Manual by Michael Pollan
Age: Any
Genre: Nonfiction / Food / Health & Nutrition
Publisher: Penguin, 2009
ISBN: 9780143116387
140 Pages

The author of the high acclaimed In Defense of Food & An Omnivore’s Dilemma manages to fit all the major tidbits of information from the first two books into a concise set of 64 rules. The rules are divided into three parts.

  • Part 1: What Should I Eat? (Eat Food)
  • Part 2: What Kinds of Food Should I Eat? (Mostly Plants)
  • Part 3: How Should I Eat? (Not Too Much)

Of the 64 rules, I’m glad to say I follow almost all of them. I think at times Pollan re-used the same rules, he just cleverly re-worded them. For example: Rule 46: Stop Eating Before You’re Full and Rule 61: Leave Something On Your Plate. 

Each rule receives about a page of explanation, some rules receive no explanation as the meaning is pretty evident. I like that Pollan keeps his explanations simple, and I love that this little booklet is not preachy. I think it’s the perfect book for someone looking to change their eating lifestyle. It’s an easy to follow guide that you can apply when shopping at the grocery store.  What Pollan is promoting is not just a healthy diet. It’s a change in our consumer habits both financially and regarding food.

To be honest, making a change like this is not easy and it does not happen overnight. My husband and I used to eat corn dogs and tater tots for dinner, regularly. Our excuse was that we were too tired or lazy to cook. Having read books like Fatland &  In Defense of Food, and having gotten addicted to Bravo’s Top Chef, we slowly began to experiment with meals in the kitchen. This experimentation led to us realizing just how terribly we ate in comparison to how healthy we could be eating. Add frequent trips to the farmer’s market and voila. 3 years later, we have a healthy container garden on our balcony, we eat more fruits and veggies than we eat meat, and we have eliminated soda almost completely from our lives.

The important thing to remember, and something Pollan only touched upon in this book, is that food should be fun and food should be enjoyed.

Find this book at your local library 

Book 44 of 2011

 Book 5

11 responses to “Food Rules (Michael Pollan) – Review

  1. I like Pollan and his philosophy. I agree that it takes time to change your eating habits. When I started cooking for my husband he was pretty much a meat and potatoes kind of guy. After slowly, slowly introducing him to new foods, it’s hard for either of us to imagine the way we ate 25 years ago. We’ve been eating the Pollan way for near on 20 years — but we aren’t fanatics. Nothing better than yummy fair food; we just limit ourselves to only a couple of times a year..

    • I completely agree. Snacks and treats should be occasional, and we should not feel guilty about eating food, except maybe fried butter sticks (what is that all about???)

  2. That’s the real secret isn’t it? I think Julia used to talk about the idea of fun in cooking and life.

  3. I agree, and while we have gotten much better over the years, my family definitely needs to work harder at a more healthy lifestyle.

  4. Sometimes that last part about food being enjoyable gets lost in all the “eat this, don’t eat that” regimens. I like that he makes things simple…

  5. It took us about three years to feel like we’d really made the switch, too. I found Zingerman’s Guide to Good Eating a helpful companion to the Pollan philosophy for getting in the part about really appreciating the food we eat. I reviewed it and linked to some other reviews:

  6. My husband is vegan, so I eat vegan most of the time. So what happens when he goes away? I’m all about steak dinners this week! But I’m thinking that’s okay, because I’ll be going back to mostly vegan food when he gets back!

  7. This is one of those books I’ve been meaning to read. I don’t know what I’m waiting for. You make a good case for it and I need to move it up the list.

  8. Changes like that never happen in a short period. I too have changed my eating habits over the past years. And I eat much healthier now 🙂 I don’t do good with rulebooks, but I am just listening to my body. Since I began to do that, I eat way better than before 🙂

    Here is my weekend cooking post:

  9. I really loved this book. I think he broke down all the confusion and hype over food into really basic “rules”. Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much. One of the other rules that sticks in my memory is the one about not eating a cereal if it colours the milk! Perfect. Actually I leant my copy to a friend I must get it back off her….

  10. Sounds like this contains lots of good practical advice.

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