Thursday, February 3, 2011

Book Review: FOOD RULES An Eater's Manual by Michael Pollan

It probably comes as no surprise that I am a fan of Michael Pollan's books and his ideas about food: Eat Food, Mostly Plants, Not Too Much. The book FOOD RULES An Eater's Manual elaborates on this idea.

Though I did fairly well during the holidays at avoiding pure junk, I figured I could definitely use a reminder of what I really want my focus to be on. So, I picked up FOOD RULES at the library.

This book is an excellent quick and easy read. If you had a dedicated hour/hour and half to read, you could probably make it through this book in that time. Or, you can do like me and take it in little snippets of time here and there, because it is written in small parts that are easy to stop at and not completely lose one's train of thought. Whichever way you approach it, if you care about what you eat, you will be pondering what you've read for days. :)

The book not only tells the reader what NOT to eat ("edible foodlike substances"), it also steers the reader to what we SHOULD be putting on our plates and why.

All in all, it had just what I was looking for.

Some of my favorite rules I want to apply this year:

#4 Avoid food products that contain high fructose corn syrup (not necessarily because it's GMO or has a good chance of containing mercury, or even because it's sugar, but because if a product has this ingredient, it's pretty much a guarantee that it's highly processed....and not good for you.)
#13 Eat only food that will eventually rot
#19 If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don't.
#20 It's not food if it arrived through the window of your car.
#21 It's not food if it's called by the same name in every language (ie. Big Mac, Pringles, Cheetos, etc)
#25 Eat your colors (and we're not talking added colors here)
#27 Eat animals that have themselves eaten well (as in, eaten what they were created to eat: not GMO grains/soy)
#30 Eat well-grown food from healthy soil
#31 Eat wild foods when you can
#32 Don't overlook the oily little fishes (anyone have good mackerel/sardine/anchovy recipies?)
#33 Eat some foods that have been predigested by bacteria or fungi
#38 Favor the kinds of oils and grains that have traditionally been stone-ground
#42 Regard non-traditional foods with skepticism (ie. soy milk, soy "vegetable" oils, soy in processed foods, etc, not to mention GMO's)
#44 Pay more, eat less.
#46 Stop eating before you're full. "To say 'I'm hungry' in French you say 'J'ai faim'--"I have hunger'--and when you are finished, you do not say that you are full, but 'Je n'ai plus faim'--'I have no more hunger.' That is a completely different way of thinking about satiety."
It's the same in German.
#56 Limit your snacks to unprocessed plant foods.
#60 Treat treats as treats.
#62 Plant a vegetable garden if you have the space, a window box if you don't.
#63 Cook

Whew! Hope I can do it! :)

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