Food Rules
an eater’s manual

Michael Pollan

Fact 1: The Western Diet, a diet consisting of lots of processed foods and meat, lots of added fat and sugar, lots of refined grains, lots of everything except vegetable, fruits and whole grains, is the problem. p. 7

The science behind Food Rules can be found in In Defense of Food. p. 12

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. p. 17

What should I eat? (Eat food)

Rule No. 1 – Eat Food.

Rule No. 2 – Don’t Eat Anything Your Great Grandmother Wouldn’t Recognize as Food.

Rule No. 3 – Avoid Food Products Containing Ingredients That No Ordinary Human Would Keep in the Pantry.

Rule No. 4 – Avoid Food Products That Contain High-Fructose Corn Syrup.

Rule No. 5 – Avoid Foods That Have Some Form of Sugar (or Sweetener) Listed Among the Top Three Ingredients.

Rule No. 6 – Avoid Foods That Contain More Than Five Ingredients.

Rule No. 7 – Avoid Food products Containing Ingredients That a Third-Grader Cannot Pronounce.

Rule No. 8 – Avoid Food Products That Make Health Claims.

Rule No. 9 – Avoid Food Products with the Word Lite or the Terms Low-Fat or Nonfat in Their Names.

Rule No. 10 – Avoid Foods That Are Pretending to Be Something they Are Not.

Rule No. 11 – Avoid Foods You See Advertised On Television.

Rule No. 12 – Get Out of the Supermarket Whenever You Can.

Rule No. 13 – Shop the Peripheries of the Supermarket and Stay Out of the Middle.

Rule No. 14 – Eat Only Foods That Will Eventually Rot.

Rule No. 15 – Eat Foods Made From Ingredients That You Can Picture in Their Raw State or Growing in Nature.

Rule No. 16 – Go Food Shopping Every Week.

Rule No. 17 – Buy Your Snacks At The Farmers’ Market.

Rule No. 18 – Eat Closer To The Earth.

Rule No. 19 – Eat Only Foods That Have Been Cooked by Humans.

Rule No. 20 – Don’t Ingest Foods Made in Places Where Everyone Is Required to Wear a Surgical Cap.

Rule No. 21 – If It Came From A Plant, Eat It; If It Was Made in a Plant, Don’t.

Rule No. 22 – It’s Not Food if It Arrived Through the Window of Your Car.

Rule No. 23 – It’s Not Food if It’s Called the Same Name in Every Language (Think Big Mac, Cheetos or Pringles.)

Rule No. 24 – When You Eat Real Food, You Don’t Need Rules.

What Kind Of Food Should I Eat? (Mostly Plants)

Rule No. 25 – Eat Mostly Plants, Especially Leaves.

Rule No. 26 – Treat Meat as a Flavoring or Special Food. (Jeff’s corollary: double the veggies and halve the meat.)

Rule No. 27 – Eating What Stands on One Leg [Mushrooms and Plant Foods] or No Legs [Fish] Is better Than Eating What Stands on Two Legs [Fowl], Which Is Better Than Eating What Stands on Four Legs [Cows, Pigs and Other Mammals]. Simplified: The Fewer the Feet, the Better the Meat.

Rule No. 28 – Eat Your Colors.

Rule No. 29 – Drink the Spinach Water.

Rule No. 30 – Eat Animals That Themselves Have Eaten Well.

Rule No. 31 – If You Have The Space, Buy a Freezer. (Discuss this with Jojo.)

Rule No. 32 – Eat Like an Omnivore.

Rule No. 33 – Eat Well-Grown Food from Healthy Soil.

Rule No. 34 – Eat Wild Foods When You Can.

Rule No. 35 – Don’t Overlook the Oily Little Fishes.

Rule No. 36 – Eat Some Foods That Have Been Predigested by Bacteria or Fungi. (Eat more kimchee, sauerkraut and yogurt.)

Rule No. 37 – Sweeten and Salt Your Food Yourself.

Rule No. 38 – Eat Sweet Foods as You Find Them in Nature.

Rule No. 39 – Don’t Eat Breakfast Cereals That Change the Color of the Milk.

Rule No. 40 – Make Water Your Beverage of Choice.

Rule No. 41 – Milk Is a Food, Not a Beverage. (Ditch my morning juice drink for water and add a piece of fruit to the mix instead.)

Rule No. 42 – The Whiter the Bread, the Sooner You’ll Be Dead.

Rule No. 43 – Avoid Sugary and Starchy Foods if Your Concerned About Your Weight.

Rule No. 44 – Favor the Kinds of Oils and Grains That Have Traditionally Been Stone Ground.

Rule No. 45 – Eat All The Junk Food You Want as Long as You Cook It Yourself. (Explore how to make the personal mini-pizza and buy a hand-crank ice cream maker for next summer.)

Rule No. 46 – Love Your Spices.

Rule No. 47 – Be The Kind of Person Who Takes Supplements – Then Skip the Supplements.

Rule No. 48 – Eat More Like the French. Or the Japanese. Or the Italians. Or the Greeks.

Rule No. 49 – Regard Non-Traditional Foods with Skepticism.

Rule No. 50 – Avoid Ingredients That Lie to Your Body.

Rule No. 51 – Enjoy Drinks That Have Been Caffeinated by Nature, Not Food Science.

Rule No. 52 – Have a Glass of Wine with Dinner.

How Should I Eat? (Not Too Much) How you eat may have as much bearing on your health (and your weight) as what you eat.

Rule No. 53 – Pay More, Eat Less. (Corollaries: Better to pay the grocer than the doctor, or Better to pay the farmer than the pharmacist.)

Rule No. 54 – Eat Less.

Rule No. 55 – Stop Eating Before You’re Full. Don’t ask, Am I full? Ask instead, Is my hunger gone?

Rule No. 56 – Eat When You Are Hungry, Not When You Are Bored. (Food is a costly antidepressant.)

Rule No. 57 – If You’re Not Hungry Enough to Eat an Apple, Then You’re Probably Not Hungry.

Rule No. 58 – It’s Okay to Be a Little Hungry.

Rule No. 59 – Don’t Let Yourself Get Too Hungry.

Rule No. 60 – Consult Your Gut.

Rule No. 61 – Serve the Vegetables First.

Rule No. 62 – Eat Slowly.

Rule No. 63 – The Banquet Is in the First Bite.

Rule No. 64 – Try to Spend as Much Time Enjoying the Meal as It Took to Prepare It.

Rule No. 65 – Give Some Thought to Where Your Food Comes From.

Rule No. 66 – Don’t Become a Short-Order Cook.

Rule No. 67 – Buy Smaller Plates and Glasses. (Use my wooden bowls, chopsticks and spoon at every meal.)

Rule No. 68 – Serve a Proper Portion and Don’t Go Back for Seconds.

Rule No. 69 – Order the Small.

Rule No. 70 – Breakfast Like a King, Lunch Like a Prince, Dine Like a Pauper.

Rule No. 71 – Eat Meals.

Rule No. 72 – Limit Your Snacks to Unprocessed Plant Foods.

Rule No. 73 – Do All Your Eating at a Table.

Rule No. 74 – Don’t Get Your Fuel From the Same Place Your Car Does.

Rule No. 75 – No Labels on the Table.

Rule No. 76 – Place a Bouquet of Flowers on the Table and Everything Will Taste Twice as Good.

Rule No. 77 – Leave Something on Your Plate. (This one will be particularly hard, but good practice to strengthen discipline.)

Rule No. 78 – Eat with Other People Whenever You Can. We should look for someone to eat with before looking for something to eat and drink. Epicurus

Rule No. 79 – Treat Treats as Treats.

Rule No. 80 – Compost.

Rule No. 81 – Plant a Vegetable Garden if You Have the Space, a Window Box if You Don’t.

Rule No. 82 – Cook.

Rule No. 83 – Break the Rules Once in a While.

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