Are you tired of all the conflicting nutrition advice out there? "Eat low-fat!" "No, eat high-fat!" "Carbs are the devil!" "Carbs are actually essential!" It's enough to make your head spin. But fear not, my fellow foodies, because there's one book that cuts through all the BS and gives some solid, easy-to-follow advice on how to eat well: In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan.
On the podcast this week we mentioned how Pollan's "food rules" are simple, straightforward, and based on common sense. They don't involve counting calories or macros or cutting out entire food groups. They're just guidelines for how to eat in a way that will nourish your body and delight your taste buds. So without further ado, let's dive into Pollan's food rules!
Rule #1: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."
This is the golden rule of Pollan's book, and it's a pretty damn good one. The idea is to focus on whole, unprocessed foods, rather than processed foods with a bunch of added ingredients. And when it comes to what kind of whole foods to eat, Pollan advises eating mostly plants, since they're packed with nutrients and tend to be lower in calories than animal products. But that doesn't mean you have to go full-on vegan or anything - just make sure the bulk of your diet is coming from plants.
Rule #2: "Avoid foods that make health claims."
This rule is all about being skeptical of food products that tout their supposed health benefits. Just because a food is labeled "low-fat" or "organic" or "gluten-free" doesn't necessarily mean it's good for you. In fact, many of these foods are highly processed and have added sugar or other questionable ingredients. So instead of looking for foods with health claims, focus on whole, unprocessed foods that don't need any marketing gimmicks.
Rule #3: "Avoid foods that have been highly processed."
This rule ties in with the previous one - processed foods are often not as nutritious as whole, unprocessed foods. And the more a food has been processed, the less nutritious it tends to be. So look for foods that are as close to their natural state as possible - think fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins. And try to limit your intake of foods that come in a box, can, or bag.
Rule #4: "Eat meals made from ingredients that you can pronounce."
This rule is all about avoiding foods with a ton of artificial ingredients. When you're looking at the ingredient list on a food product, if you can't pronounce most of the ingredients or don't know what they are, that's a red flag. Stick to foods with simple, whole ingredients that you recognize.
Rule #5: "Eat slowly and savor your food."
We live in a fast-paced world, and it's easy to inhale our food without really paying attention to what we're eating. But taking the time to eat slowly and savor your food can help you enjoy it more, and it may also help you eat less because you'll feel full faster. So put your fork down between bites, chew your food thoroughly, and take the time to appreciate the flavors and
textures of your meal.
Rule #6: "Avoid foods that have been engineered to be 'hyper-rewarding'."
This rule is all about being mindful of foods that are designed to be highly addictive. These foods often have a combination of sugar, fat, and salt, and are engineered to be as irresistible as possible. These hyper-rewarding foods can be very difficult to resist and can lead to overeating and weight gain. So try to limit your intake of these foods and opt for whole, unprocessed foods that don't have these engineered hyper-rewarding properties.
Rule #7: "Eat with other people whenever possible."
Eating with other people is not only enjoyable but also beneficial for our health. When we eat with others, we tend to eat slower, enjoy our food more, and eat less. Eating with others is also a great way to connect with others and build relationships. So, make a point of eating with friends and family as often as possible.
In conclusion, Pollan's food rules are not only easy to follow, but they also make a lot of sense. They encourage us to eat whole, unprocessed foods, mostly plants, and avoid highly processed foods and those that make health claims. They also remind us to eat slowly, savor our food, and eat with others. By following these simple guidelines, we can not only enjoy our food but also nourish our bodies. So next time you are confused about what to eat or what not to eat, just remember these simple rules and you'll be good to go.