One of my all-time favourite books is ‘Food Rules’ by Michael Pollan (who just happens to be one of my Mavens, as well). This slim volume accomplishes the impossible: it sweeps aside the confusion, hype, and misinformation surrounding food and food trends, and brings it all back to basics with humour and style. If this subject sounds dry as a bone, think again… Pollan’s rules are cheeky, subversive, and altogether true. They remind you that you actually knew these rules in the first place, before modern marketing got in the way and sent you into a tailspin.
As a naturopath who specializes in food, even I get confused by the claims bandied about by the latest diets; Paleo, Atkins, Zone, Gluten Free, Juicing, Macrobiotic… The proponents of these approaches can be zealous in their righteousness that theirs is the one and only path to lifelong health. The conflicting claims are enticing - and utterly baffling. It’s enough to make many throw their hands up in surrender and head on back to fast food.
So let’s return to common sense. As Pollan so succinctly puts it, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants” (note that plants include grains, not just fruit and veg). Eating well doesn’t have to be complicated. Below are a few of his greatest hits to keep in mind next time you find your head spinning from the latest nutrition craze. The illustrated volume is well worth your time if you’re looking for all 83 of his down-to-earth nuggets. ‘Food Rules’ is that rare thing; a wise, witty, and altogether refreshing counterpoint to our modern mania for a magic bullet.
Don’t Eat Anything Your Grandmother Wouldn’t Recognize as Food.
Avoid Food Products Containing Ingredients a Third-Grader Can’t Pronounce.
Eat Only Foods That Will Eventually Rot.
Eat Foods That Have Been Cooked by Humans.
Eat Animals That Have Themselves Eaten Well.
Drink the Spinach Water.
Do All Your Eating at a Table.
Eat All the Junk Food You Want as Long as You Cook it Yourself.
Eat More Like the French. Or the Japanese. Or the Italians. Or the Greeks.
Have a Glass of Wine With Dinner.
Spend As Much Time Enjoying the Meal as it Took to Prepare It.
Break the Rules Once in a While.