While I was reviewing some of the bookmarks in my “blogging topics” folder, I noticed this link to a page on WebMD regarding Michael Pollan’s 7 Rules for Eating. You might remember that I read and reviewed Pollan’s books The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food. Both of those books are absolutely phenomenal if you’re a person who likes to understand exactly what it is that you’re putting inside of your body.
With yesterday’s entry where I wrote about how I’ve been losing weight (see the weight loss monitor on the bottom right side of the sidebar) I felt compelled to complete this particular entry – which I began writing back in February. But, before I offer just a few comments, I thought that I should provide those seven food rules that Pollan promotes:
- Don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food. “When you pick up that box of portable yogurt tubes, or eat something with 15 ingredients you can’t pronounce, ask yourself, “What are those things doing there?” Pollan says.
- Don’t eat anything with more than five ingredients, or ingredients you can’t pronounce.
- Stay out of the middle of the supermarket; shop on the perimeter of the store. Real food tends to be on the outer edge of the store near the loading docks, where it can be replaced with fresh foods when it goes bad.
- Don’t eat anything that won’t eventually rot. “There are exceptions — honey — but as a rule, things like Twinkies that never go bad aren’t food,” Pollan says.
- It is not just what you eat but how you eat. “Always leave the table a little hungry,” Pollan says. “Many cultures have rules that you stop eating before you are full. In Japan, they say eat until you are four-fifths full. Islamic culture has a similar rule, and in German culture they say, ‘Tie off the sack before it’s full.'”
- Families traditionally ate together, around a table and not a TV, at regular meal times. It’s a good tradition. Enjoy meals with the people you love. “Remember when eating between meals felt wrong?” Pollan asks.
- Don’t buy food where you buy your gasoline. In the U.S., 20% of food is eaten in the car.
While Pollan’s rules seem very simple, some folks might think that they are exceptionally hard to follow. Well, they’re not. In fact, they’re very easy to follow. All you have to do is use your head and think twice before you pick up certain items in the grocery store. For example, don’t pick up something that is made with a ridiculous list of ingredients. Instead, opt for some fresh fruit or vegetables (which have a single, rather obvious ingredient). And stay the hell away from fast food joints. Talk about a combination of chemicals and stuff that isn’t really food!
From my perspective, I like the second rule the best because it leads to so many other great rules/laws for eating healthy. If you shop around the perimeter of most grocery stores, you’ll be confronted with fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, milks and eggs, etc. That’s the kind of stuff that you should be eating! Of course, you should always opt for the organic version of each of these foods – and don’t worry about the additional dollar or so that you’ll spend on the organic foods. You’ll make that money back by buying less food overall and saving on costly medical care for overweight-related conditions (what’s up Type 2 Diabetes?!).
Anyway, I don’t really have many comments on the rules above, but I did want to share them with you. And if you haven’t checked out either The Omnivore’s Dilemma or In Defense of Food, you should do yourself a favor and get a copy of those books right away!