Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Food Rules: An Eater's Manual by Michael Pollan

The great thing about this book - you don't have to read through it. The structure allows you to open the book to any random page and find a unique "rule" for healthy eating. I did read through it though and, had I been able to get through it one sitting (having a 10-month-old makes that impossible,) I'd have finished it in less than two hours.

The moral of the story here is healthy eating can be done using common sense. Not so shocking. Of course I'm not making a good food choice when I reach for the box of Girl Scout cookies on the counter instead of an apple. Pollan gently reminds you of this and other common sense facts. The broad stroke here - eat wheat exists in nature, in reasonable portions, at a moderate pace.

This set of rules is complete in that it goes beyond what to eat and includes how to eat. Pollan reminds us to savour our food - stop rushing - while eating at the table with friends and/or family. He even okays leaving food on your plate (where were you when I was a kid?)

As someone who has overcome the picky eating disease, "rules" about eating have always bothered me. Even now, there's a lot I won't put on my plate, so when someone tells me what to eat - and it usually includes a lot I don't like - I get defensive. There's so much I don't like, if I cut out 'X' what's left? This thought never came up while reading Food Rules. Pollan doesn't tell me to never again eat a specific something, but rather he suggests I substitute something good when leaning toward something bad or at the very least to cut the bad down to a more moderate frequency (he'd hate that I have a Dr. Pepper every night with dinner.)

Pollan doesn't make me feel like I have to change my life, but he reminds me in quick, easy-to-read snippets what the best options are when it comes to food.

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