Food Rules is a little book written by journalist, Michael Pollan. It’s a little book that could because it single- handedly inspired me to start a “Clean Eating Challenge” a couple of years ago.
I am not a big rule follower, especially when it comes to food. I enjoy food (a lot), and want to have freedom around what I eat (as in, please don’t tell me what to eat).
So the name of this book did not catch my attention at first.
But a good friend who equally loves and appreciates food told me to, “read it, it will change your life.”
Pollan begins the book by acknowledging that there is a lot of noise in the food and health world about what foods we should or should not eat. It was getting confusing and frustrating for him. Being a curious researcher and a food lover, he set out to figure it out to answers to his one question: What should we eat?
If we have one life to live on this planet earth, what and how should we feed our body so that we can keep it going as well as possible while enjoying this one life?
I love his suggestions, and his 64 “rules” that helped Pollan answer his simple beginning question.
Before we go into the rules, it’s important to address the 3 facts that Pollan believes we need to acknowledge before building our own thinking and planning around what we should eat to make the most of this one life, and all the wonderful foods out there.
Fact 1: “Populations that eat a so-called Western diet – generally defined as a diet consisting of lots of processed foods and meat, lots of added fat and sugar, lots of refined grains, lot of everything except vegetables, fruits, and whole grains – invariably suffer from high rates of the so-called Western diseases: obesity, type 2 diabetes, 80 percent of all cardiovascular disease, and more than a third of all cancers can be linked to this diet.”
Fact 2: “Populations eating remarkably wide range of traditional diets generally don’t suffer from these chronic diseases. These diets run the gamut from ones very high in fat (the Inuit in Greenland subsist largely on seal blubber) to ones high in carbohydrate (Central American Indians subsist largely on maize and beans) to ones very high in protein (Masai tribesmen in Africa subsist chiefly on cattle good, meat, and milk), to cite three rather extreme examples. What this suggests is that there is no single ideal human diet but that the human omnivore is exquisitely adapted to a wide range of different foods and a variety of different diets, except for one: Western diet that most of us now are eating (a diet that makes people sick).”
Fact 3: “People who get off the Western diet see dramatic improvements in their health. We have good research to suggest that the effects of the Western diet can be rolled back, and relatively quickly.”
With these facts that Pollan can prove with multitude of research and studies, he confidently sums up the answer to “What should we eat?” into seven words:
Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly Plants.
Needless to say, after reading this little book, I am convinced that these three facts are indeed true. Even though I don’t love following ‘rules,’ the ones that Pollan suggests in the book are mostly very enticing. And because I have, for a past years, been following most of them, I can attest them to be valid and effective. I still get to love and enjoy food whilst making the most of it to maximize my health and wellbeing.
That’s exactly what we will do during our Clean Eating Reset starting on September 11!
In my next posts, I will dig deeper into the “rules” in this little book, so that we can digest (pun intended) them in small bites.
In the mean time, if you want to join me in this “challenge,” go ahead and sign up right here.