I enjoy Michael Pollan's books like The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals and In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto because he is informative and gets you to really think about what you put into your mouth and why. People can get overly passionate or one-sided when it comes to their food beliefs which is cool, we all should be free to express ourselves. I feel that Pollan wants you to be informed and decide for yourself.
His new book Food Rules: An Eater's Manual is out, and I'm excited that there is a new book for me to devour, but the title dismays me instantly because coming from the unreasonable and twisted world of weight loss and diets, the phrase "food rules" creates a Pavlovian response in me to be immediately turned off.
Did ya really have to use the word "rules"
Saying "food rules" to me is no different than saying "diet rules." I get the same defensive *ugh* response because it just reminds me of the depressing and frustrating feelings you feel when you're on a diet to lose the muffin top. In my book, the word "rules" makes me feel things like judgmental, deprivation, life sucking, and strict. Again, I do better when things are about choices and have a feeling of openness.
But, I get it, using the word "rules" is provocative and sells books, so I go ahead and read this book because I do like Pollan's stuff and I'm going to be open minded that he may just surprise me, and pleasantly, he did in this book.
Food rules is basically something I can't shut up about here on this blog
I will say this straight off the bat, I enjoyed the content book and feel it has good useful information, but I still feel aversion for the title. I would rename the book something like, "Say Yes to Food." Here are 64 things you ideally want to say yes to when eating your way to good health.
And now a perfect segway into why I loved this book, Food Rules is basically eating wellness, my whole philosophy on eating your way to vibrant health. Pollan and I are practically uni-brain on this topic. I talk about eating wellness ALL the time as my long time readers, friends, and family know. In this quick video, I explain how eating wellness helped me keep off 30 lbs.
As I say, one way or another, you are going to pay for your health either via the fork or through the hospitals and pharmaceutical companies. I personally would rather eat my way to optimal health and support the farmers and food producers who operate consciously.
The Western diet is not a matter of if but when you will get sick
Pollan makes an excellent point and has facts to back him up in that consuming the Western diet full of processed and lab made foods will lead to illness and dis-ease. Four of the top ten chronic diseases in the US can be tied directly to what we eat.
One of my favorite of the rules is to not eat where you buy your gas. Those gas marts are simply junk food havens. The only real food I have ever seen at a gas mart is the random bananas and apples someone puts on the counter in a small weaved basket.
I would add to that gas station rule, do not eat anything that has a TV cartoon character or movie action hero plastered all over the packaging. Do you think Superman would himself eat or drink something that looks like glowing kryptonite? I think Spiderman would lose his spidey sense if he ate glow in the dark cheese curls and questionable meat nuggets all the time.
Going after one the sources of the health crisis
One last thing that I also totally agree with Pollan about is that another way to fix our growing health crisis instead of health-care reform is to go deeper and start at one of the biggest sources contributing to making people sick in the first place, what we eat. I think too in the future we are going to see a lot more cracking down on the food industry much like the tobacco industry went through.
Food Rules is definitely worth reading. I would also say that this book is not an all-or-nothing reference but provides some really good guidelines to refer to. Again, find foods that work for your body and lifestyle, and will help you achieve the health goals you're striving for.
And one last think I particularly enjoyed about Food Rules is that the book is small and very easy to digest. I read the whole book in less than an hour, and felt mindfully nourished afterward.