Michael Pollan’s Food Rules

mpollan gardenpic
Michael Pollan’s Food Rules

I’ve written about Michael Pollan before. Journalist, professor and activist, Pollan is a key thought leader in the nutrition world and my hero. His seven word mantra, “Eat food, mostly plants, not too much” has helped me and countless others navigate our complicated food scene in a seemingly simpler way.

In addition to Pollan, many cultures have passed down all kinds of wisdom about food and how to eat properly. Your grandmother may have told you the importance of not eating too much, or to savor meal time spent in the company of family and friends. For example, in Japan, there is a Confucian saying, “Hara hachi bu,” which instructs people to eat until 80% full. In Germany, they have a similar saying, something that translates roughly to English, “Tie the sack off before it’s full.”

I believe how you eat, is just as important as what you eat. Eating together was a family wisdom tradition in America up until the early 80′s, where we would share highlights of our day around a table, not a TV. Research suggests that when families dine together, they tend to eat more fruits and vegetables, and eat less junk like sodas and fried foods. In addition, family meal time may be good for the waistline and the bottom line. Studies show that families who eat together eat smaller portions. In addition, they cook more often, saving money on expensive restaurant fare.

In his book, Food Rules, Michael Pollan collects cultural food wisdoms and shares their sensible and simple eating principles. Whimsically illustrated by Maira Kalman, it’s a delightful book, easy to read, and fun to share. I have a Powerpoint of these wisdoms looping during presentation breaks. People love them; they start meaningful conversations.

On YouTube, Pollan has uploaded mini-vignettes describing different food rules when he launched the illustrated version of Food Rules in 2011. They are short, funny, and food for thought. I picked my favorites to share with you. (Not an easy task!)

Food Rule #39: Don’t eat breakfast cereals that change the color of the milk

Food Rule #45: Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself

Food Rule #57: If you’re not hungry enough to eat an apple, you’re probably not hungry

Food Rule #73: Do all of your eating at the table

Do you have family food wisdoms? Share with our community in the comments below.

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