Tonight I read Michael Pollan’s latest book, Food Rules which is a short list of 64 guidelines for eating right. These are based on the findings in his last book, In Defense of Food, the thesis of which was:
Pollan’s food rules build on these three main points to create a sort of blueprint for right eating. “Think of these food policies as little algorithms designed to simplify your eating life,” he writes. “Adopt whichever ones stick and work best for you.” (This sounds remarkably like my personal motto: “Do what works for you.”)
After spending an hour reading Food Rules (I told you it was a short book!), I’ve decided to try incorporating the following policies in my own life. Some will be more difficult than others:
- 3. Avoid food products containing ingredients that no ordinary human would keep in the pantry.
- 4. Avoid food products that contain high-fructose corn syrup.
- 5. Avoid foods that have some form of sugar (or sweetener) listed in the top three ingredients.
- 11. Avoid foods you see advertised on television.
- 12. Shop the peripheries of the supermarket and stay out of the middle.
- 13. Eat only foods that will eventually rot.
- 17. Eat only foods that have been cooked by humans.
- 22. Eat mostly plants, especially leaves.
- 23. Treat meat as a flavoring or special occasion food.
- 27. Eat animals that have themselves eaten well.
- 30. Eat well-grown food from healthy soil.
- 35. Eat sweet foods as you find them in nature.
- 39. Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.
- 43. Have a glass of wine with dinner.
- 44. Pay more, eat less. (By which Pollan means pay for quality.)
- 45. Eat less.
- 46. Stop eating before you’re full.
- 49. Eat slowly.
- 53. Serve a proper portion and don’t go back for seconds.
- 56. Limit snacks to unprocessed plant foods.
- 59. Try not to eat alone.
- 60. Treat treats as treats.
- 64. Break the rules once in a while.
For me, 2010 is the year of fitness. While writing my book, I sat at my desk all day, ate junk food from the minimart next door, and as a result gained 20 pounds. (And I was none too healthy before that.) As a result, I started this year at 213 pounds, chronic insomnia, and a complete lack of physical aptitude.
I lost five pounds last month, and I have good momentum moving into February. My breakfasts are good right now (1/3 cup Bob’s Red Mill whole grain cereal with flaxseed, 1/2 ounce of raisins, pinch of salt, 2 packets of Sugar in the Raw, and 1/4 cup of skim milk), but I haven’t found a routine with everything else. I want to work on that. In particular, I want to move toward eating far more fruits and vegetables than I do now. (Which shouldn’t be too difficult since that number is near zero.)
This ought to be interesting. I’ve never actually had rules for my eating before. (Have you? Do people actually set food rules for themselves?) Maybe I should print out my policies and carry them with me!
Note: I remember reading the article(s) Pollan wrote while prepping for this book. One of the rules that didn’t get included here (because it’s not about eating) is “don’t yuck somebody else’s yum”. I’ve really tried to adopt this. I’m a notorious yucker of other people’s yums. But I’ve also had fun scolding others for making faces at the food I like…