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Food Rules: An Eater's Manual
#1 New York Times Bestseller
A definitive compendium of food wisdom
Eating doesn’t have to be so complicated. In this age of ever-more elaborate diets and conflicting health advice, Food Rules brings welcome simplicity to our daily decisions about food. Written with clarity, concision, and wit that has become bestselling author Michael Pollan’s trademark, this indispensable handbook lays out a set of straightforward, memorable rules for eating wisely, one per page, accompanied by a concise explanation. It’s an easy-to-use guide that draws from a variety of traditions, suggesting how different cultures through the ages have arrived at the same enduring wisdom about food. Whether at the supermarket or an all-you-can-eat buffet, this is the perfect guide for anyone who ever wondered, What should I eat?”
Coming from The Penguin Press in 2013, Michael Pollan’s newest book Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation--the story of our most trusted food expert’s culinary education
"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
||December 29, 2009|
|Average Customer Rating:
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1180 of 1203 found the following review helpful:
This book is necessary...Dec 29, 2009
By Kristine Lofgren
It is amazing how complicated we have allowed our diets, and our understanding of our diets, to become. Even Pollan's most recent book In Defense of Food: An Eaters Manifesto - which seemed to be a pretty simple premise - ended up being a (wonderfully) complicated journey through our food system. So when I read that this book was coming out, I wondered if it was necessary given the wealth of information already covered. The answer is: yes, this book is necessary.
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.
344 of 354 found the following review helpful:
Food Rules Rules!Dec 31, 2009
By Norma Lehmeierhartie
I picked up Food Rules: An Eater's Manual, because I have been searching for just this type of book for many of my clients as a New Year's gift. I read the slim book quickly in a bookstore and it is the perfect present for my clients who are not eating healthy diets (but who have confessed they wish to.)
I am an interior designer/organizer and see how my clients eat all the time when I redesign and organize their kitchens. Pollan's In Defense of Food and The Omnivore's Dilemma are both excellent, but can be intimidating. Not Food Rules--it is short and easy to understand.
The book is divided into three parts and has 64 chapters or rules. The following will give you an good idea of what the book is about: Part I, What should I eat? Includes such chapters as "Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food", "avoid food products that contain more than five ingredients", and "avoid foods that contain high-fructose corn syrup".
Part II, What kind of food should I eat? Includes "Eat mostly plants, especially leaves", "eat your colors", and "the whiter the bread, the sooner you will be dead."
Part III, How should I eat? Includes "pay more, eat less," "eat less," and "limit your snacks to unprocessed plant food."
For those of you who desire a healthier diet, Food Rules is a terrific guide that makes understanding what to put into your body simple to understand and implement.
Finally, if healthy eating is a new concept for you, you will find the clever chapter titles easy to memorize, thus making the concept of healthy eating a simple one to learn.
By the author of the award winning book, HARMONIOUS ENVIRONMENT and SELL YOUR HOME FAST IN A BUYER'S MARKET
542 of 564 found the following review helpful:
You could buy a #3 at Mickey D's --- or start to save your lifeJan 07, 2010
By Jesse Kornbluth
If you got in on the ground floor, you chewed every page of The Omnivore's Dilemma, (464 pages, $8.00 at Amazon).
If you were a second responder, the first Michael Pollan book you read was In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto, (256 pages, $7.50 at Amazon), which boils theory and anecdote down to a tasty, healthy feeding strategy.
If you're new to the topic or haven't paid attention --- or love Pollan's work and want to spread the gospel --- here's Food Rules: An Eater's Manual (137 pages, $11 retail, $5.50 at Amazon), a skinny paperback that says pretty much everything you'd find in his longer books.
Or you can consider Pollan's reduction of his message to seven words --- "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants" --- and read nothing more because you know how to crack that koan and adopt a way of eating that just might save your life.
Why, you may wonder, does a clearly written 256-page book need to be boiled down to 64 general principles?
Those of us who read about food have, in the last few years, been swamped by the language of nutrition. Antioxidants. Polyphenols. Probiotics. Omega-3 fatty acids. But you can know all about this stuff and still not be able to answer the basic question: Yeah, but what should I eat?
Then there are those who have never heard Pollan's message. They're the folks on the coach, eating pre-packaged snack food, sucking down sodas, serving vegetables as an afterthought. In short, people who are devotees of the Western diet --- which is, says Pollan, "the one diet that reliably makes its people sick!"
Pollan wants to help both groups --- and break the cycle of self-created disease.
And the quickest way to do that is through lessons so simple even the guy chowing down a Hungry Man ("It's good to feel full") meal can understand.
"Food Rules" may be short, but it's elegantly organized. Part I addresses the question: What should I eat? (Answer: food.) Part II asks: What kind of food should I eat? (Answer: mostly plants.) And Part II considers: How should I eat? (Answer: Not too much.)
These are un-American answers. Advertising trains us to shop in the center aisles of supermarkets. We've been brainwashed to believe that fast food is food. Because we're so busy, we're encouraged not to cook for ourselves. And that way of living works for us --- right up to the moment we're overweight and diabetic.
But if we break the cycle?
"People who get off the western diet," says Pollan, "see dramatic improvements in their health."
What does Pollan tell you in these pages? Here's a sample:
--- "Don't eat anything your great grandmother wouldn't recognize as food."
--- "Don't eat anything with more than five ingredients, or ingredients you can't pronounce."
---- "Don't eat anything that won't eventually rot...There are exceptions --- honey --- but as a rule, things like Twinkies that never go bad aren't food."
--- "Always leave the table a little hungry.'"
--- "Eat meals together, at regular meal times."
--- "Don't buy food where you buy your gasoline. In the U.S., 20% of food is eaten in the car."
--- "Don't eat breakfast cereals that change the color of the milk."
Pollan would have you only eat junk food you cook yourself. He'd like you to buy your snacks at a farmer's market. He'd like you to use meat as a flavor enhancer, a condiment, an afterthought. And he'd like to see you hurt the bottom line of pre-packaged food companies by paying a little more for real food that's worth eating.
I can imagine a great many of of you nodding in agreement. And feeling superior. And still buying several copies --- to send, anonymously, to loved ones who are eating themselves to death. I can think of no better gift.
27 of 27 found the following review helpful:
Rules for eatingJan 05, 2010
By Steven A. Peterson
Clever little book. . . . Michael Pollan has written a book of rules about eating, with brief text elaborating the statements. On first glance, it looks like a slight volume with little substance to it. However, it turns out to be a pretty interesting book.
In his introductory comments, the author notes a few undeniable truths--Western diets (e.g., processed foods and meats, lots of fat and sugar, etc.) lead to lots of health problems; traditional diets tend to be healthier than the so-called Western diet; when one leaves the Western diet, one tends to get healthier. Following are a number of rules (64 in all). The author's hope? (Page xix): "My hope is that a handful of these rules will prove sufficiently sticky, or memorable, that they will become second nature to you. . . ."
Examples?"Avoid food products containing ingredients that a third-grader cannot pronounce" (Page 17). "If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don't" (Page 41). "Treat meat as a flavoring or special occasion food" (Page 53). "Eat some foods that have been predigested by bacteria or fungi" (Page 73). Examples? Yogurt, sauerkraut, soy sauce. . . . "Pay more, eat less" (Page 99). Cheap food in large quantities (supersize me??) is normally not so good for one. "Buy smaller plates and glasses" (Page 115).
In a sense, if one can keep a number of these apothegms in mind and follow those that seem most sensible, one might end up better off! So, a book that looks like a one trick pony ends up being much more satisfying than one might expect.
20 of 20 found the following review helpful:
Read this for virtually the entire content of Food RulesMar 20, 2010
Most educated folks have heard of Michael Pollan's famous aphoristic summation of dietary advice:
Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
Food Rules fleshes that out a bit, though in a fashion that is both padded and redundant. It is mildly amusing, and some of the 'rules' are likely to stick in the memory: Don't eat cereal that colors the milk. I think the book could find an excellent niche as a departure point for discussion in high school Home Ec and Health classes. College students could profit from it, too. But for those purposes, the 'book' will need to be repackaged in a slimmer and way cheaper form. It's full content should fit nicely in a paperbound pamphlet that could be sold in bulk for less than a dollar a throw.
For adults who want the straight skinny, here is what I was able to extract from Food Rules:
= = = = =
Eat whole foods, as fresh as possible, of known, high quality, local origin - preferably your own garden, prepared in your own household.
Eat plants, especially green leaves, from healthy soil, in great variety, some fermented (eg, sauerkraut). Eat little meat, from healthy-fed/free-range/wild animals, especially small oily fish (eg, sardines).
Consult eating patterns from established cultural traditions (eg, Italian, Japanese), including use of wine. Be wary of novelty (eg, textured soy protein).
Eat actual meals, at mealtimes, at table, with others.
Eat only when you are hungry, eat slowly from small dishes, stop as soon as you stop being hungry.
= = = = =
A food is 'whole' to the extent it has not been messed with. For example, an orange is a whole food; orange juice is not. A food is 'high quality' to the extent it has been produced with relevant skill and care. The rules are not intended to be rigid, but to serve as guidelines to move toward.
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