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Food Rules: An Eater's Manual Paperback – December 29, 2009
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"In the more than four decades that I have been reading and writing about the findings of nutritional science, I have come across nothing more intelligent, sensible and simple to follow than the 64 principles outlined in a slender, easy-to-digest new book called Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, by Michael Pollan." --Jane Brody, The New York Times
"The most sensible diet plan ever? We think it's the one that Michael Pollan outlined a few years ago: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” So we're happy that in his little new book, Food Rules, Pollan offers more common-sense rules for eating: 64 of them, in fact, all thought-provoking and some laugh-out-loud funny." --The Houston Chronicle
" It doesn't get much easier than this. Each page has a simple rule, sometimes with a short explanation, sometimes without, that promotes Pollan's back-to-the-basics-of-food (and-food-enjoyment) philosophy." --The Los Angeles Times
"A useful and funny purse-sized manual that could easily replace all the diet books on your bookshelf." --Tara Parker-Pope, The New York Times
About the Author
Michael Pollan, recently featured on Netflix in the four-part series Cooked, is the author of seven previous books, including Food Rules, In Defense of Food, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and The Botany of Desire, all New York Times bestsellers. A longtime contributor to The New York Times, he is also the Knight Professor of Journalism at Berkeley. In 2010, Time magazine named him one of the one hundred most influential people in the world.
Top customer reviews
While there are a million other guides to a healthy diet running around out there, few manage to boil down the essentials in such a usable way. Pollan takes the essential and fascinating information that he wrote about in his previous book and simmers it down into a succinct (the book is basically 70 half pages long) "manual" of rules for eating. While this book retains some of the bones of its predecessor, it is by no means a Cliff's Notes version. This manual is essential reading all on its own.
Food Rules is broken down into 3 sections (and this will sound familiar to those that read In Defense of Food): 1- What should I eat? (Eat food) 2 - What kind of food should I eat? (Mostly plants) and 3 - How should I eat? (Not too much). Each section includes 20 or so rules that you can pick and choose from in order to eat a healthy diet. Some of the rules overlap (Avoid food products that contain ingredients that a third-grader cannot pronounce and Avoid ingredients that no ordinary human would keep in the pantry, for instance) and some seem like such common sense that it is almost laughable to include them, but that is why this manual is so important. It distills all of this complex information that we see and hear every day and turns it into something relatable. We know, somewhere in our minds, that certain grains and oils are better than others. Pollan gives us an easy rule to help know which ones are best. We know that most breakfast cereals are little more than desserts and Pollan gives us an easy rule to know which ones are safe. Some rules are humorous (it's not food if it arrived through the window of your car) and some are serious; some rules are easy and others require a bit more dedication. But what this manual has is a wide range of useful tips that can be applied to any life at any time. This is no complicated diet; this is a little pocket book of sensible, realistic rules to help you eat your best.
The book is not perfect. I felt that the author was a bit casual about the economic realities of his free range organic etc food recommendations. Still, a budget-conscious reader will find the advice helpful as an ideal to strive for. Regular supermarket meat and produce are healthier choices than the boxed meals in the middle of the store, and usually less expensive than their organic counterparts.
Most of the advice is common sense, but common sense is exactly what I need when making food choices. I would recommend this book to folks like myself who are vaguely familiar with Pollan's work and maybe want to eat better than last night's box of neon-bright mac and cheese. Even if we already should know better.
As a long-time whole foods advocate, and dedicated student of integrative nutrition, I found Michael's advice to be helpful and encouraging. Even if you are a proponent of whole foods, focused on eating as cleanly as possible (as I am), I think you'll discover some excellent tidbits. I found Mr. Pollard's concise discussion of sugar and sweeteners (listing some of the 40 types used in processed foods), high fructose corn syrup and 'real cane sugar,' insightful.
The "busyness" of everyday for many, often prevents realizing better ways to eat healthfully, avoiding falling into traps that potentially may compound into chronic illness. This book uncomplicates food with straightforward facts and simple, healthy-eating strategies.