Eco-Living Magazine

Book Review: Michael Pollan’s Food Rules

Posted on the 16 February 2012 by 2ndgreenrevolution @2ndgreenrev

Book Review: Michael Pollan’s Food RulesCompared to The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food (reviewed here), Michael Pollan’s Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual is less revolutionary. Instead, his latest book, published in 2009, is more of a reflection on what he’s learned through writing about food in his previous efforts. Comprised of 64 rules in three parts (What should I eat?; What kind of food should I eat?; and How should I eat?), this short tome reveals a guide for eating “whole foods.” This is not to be confused with the grocery chain, but rather unprocessed foods.

The answers to the three questions that Pollan poses are brief, totaling seven words. In fact, they were introduced in his previous work, In Defense of Foods, where he wrote the following: Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much.

Many of Pollan’s rules are self explanatory, but he provides a brief description for many of them to further drive home his point. In all, it took less than two hours to read the book, but the wisdom contained therein goes much deeper. Many of the aphorisms stem from cultural traditions and the days before the commercialization of food.

Several recent posts by Megan Stilley broach similar topics, including the following Pollan rules:

7. Avoid food products containing ingredients that a third-grader cannot pronounce.
23. Treat meat as a flavoring or special occasion food.
27. Eat animals that have themselves eaten well.
62. Plant a vegetable garden if you have the space, a window box if you don’t.

Perhaps the most amusing, yet insightful rule is number 57: Don’t get your fuel from the same place your car does. Most of Pollan’s rules are common sense, for example: Eating unprocessed foods that your grandmother (or great-grandmother for the younger crowd) would recognize. Real, whole foods are key. In the end, this is also a vital part of sustainability. The better we eat, the better we treat the earth that provides for us, the better out bodies respond. Here’s one rule he didn’t include, but could sum up his point: Make smart choices. In fact, that’s not a bad rule to live by, not just eat by.

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