Weekend Review: Food Rules by Michael Pollan

Food Rules: An Eater's ManualIn his previous work In Defense of Food (2009), Michael Pollan provided simple words of advice on how to eat: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." In it, he lays the foundation of his argument and provides the research to support this advice, but some readers are left with the question of "how?" In his follow up book, Food Rules: An Eater's Manual (2009), Pollan attempts to answer that question and to provide a useful real-life guide by outlining 64 rules that help eaters navigate the modern food system. It is simple and straight to the point.  The rules are divided into three parts: What should I eat? (eat food), What kind of food should I eat? (mostly plants), and How should I eat? (not too much).

I have to admit that I am a huge fan of Michael Pollan. I find his prose to be incredibly insightful and moving. So, it was a little disappointing that there wasn't more of his writing in this book (one can read it in about 10 minutes). But, ultimately, the goal of this book was to provide quick and easy-to-remember guidelines. To pontificate on them would have undermined this purpose. For those familiar with his work, these will all be suggestions you've heard before (such as "Only eat food with fewer than 5 ingredients") and are probably things that you've already incorporated into your grocery-buying routine. For others, this will provide an opportunity to think critically about the way that we feed ourselves and to explore whether there might be a better way. As in all of his books, Pollan has a sense of humor and realistic expectations. The final rule is to "Occasionally break the rules." He's well aware that no one succeeds by living a life that is devoid of pleasure. All he's trying to do is to encourage us to think about redefining what that means. 

1 comment:

  1. I too am a huge fan of Michael Pollen. I heard him speak here in Salt Lake City and he was great! So intelligent and does a good job of helping people realize that they can do little things to make a difference. I too agree that his other books have much more meat than this one.