If you share even a marginal interest in “food issues” – whether it manifests in your weekly runs to the farmers’ market downtown or your letter writing campaign to the USDA in support of Farm-to-School lunch programs– then you’ve heard of Michael Pollan. Actually, even if you haven’t done any of those things, you’ve still probably heard of Michael Pollan. It’s hard to avoid those best-selling authors staring out at you from the front windows of the local bookstore, shaming you for already forsaking your new year's resolution of reading more, watching American Idol less.
Pollan’s latest missive, Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, is a 112-page attempt to distill chapters and chapters of research, guidance, advice and experience into an easy to read (and even easier to follow) instruction book of sorts – something less hefty than The Omnivore’s Dilemma, but meatier (excuse the pun) than the overly-simplified: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
I haven’t read the book yet (though it’s on my list right after I finish Let the Great World Spin), but excerpts from the book have been making their way around the water cooler of the internet, so I know what I’m in for, and I’m pretty excited to dig in.
The “rules” are based mostly on common sense – Pollan says “while most of the rules are backed by science, they are not framed in the vocabulary of science but rather culture” – and while it might seem silly to waste your time and money on common sense, I find it does actually help to see that kind of thing in black and white, on paper. It just helps reinforce the message.
Here are some of the rules:
#11 Avoid foods you see advertised on television.See? They make sense once they’re written out.
#19 If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don't.
#36 Don't eat breakfast cereals that change the color of the milk.
#39 Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself (not good advice for those of us who were just gifted an ice cream maker).
#58 Do all your eating at a table.
But Pollan’s not the only one who can make rules for eating. Michelle Obama has some, I have some, and I’m sure you do, too. So what are they? Chime in right down there in the comments section and tell us what’s in your book!
image credit: tobybarnes/Creative Commons