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An eater’s manual

After breathing, eating is likely to be the most natural function we have. The average person can’t survive more than nine days without food*. Eating is a matter of survival. And yet, it seems we need an eater’s manual – or at least according to Michael Pollan’s new book Food Rules, we do.

With the rise in obesity, the nutrient devoid supermarket ready meals and fast food menus, and the ease with which you can get junk food – I’m just surprised this manual hadn’t turned up sooner.

Food Rules is simply that: a list of 64 rules we should all follow for a healthy and sustainable diet. The book is broken down into three main principles: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. Although he’s not a vegetarian, but Pollan says he eats a lot less meat now. His message is not so much about what we’re eating, but more important is how what we’re eating was grown(made from a plant not in a plant) and how we’re eating (eat at a desk, stop when you’re full).

Michael Pollan is a best selling author, journalist, activist and lecturer. His other books include In defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto and The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals.

A few sample words of wisdom from “Food Rules”:

2. Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.
6. Avoid foods that contain more than five ingredients.
11. Avoid foods you see advertised on television.
13. Eat only foods that eventually will rot.
15. Get out of the supermarket whenever you can.
19 If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t.
20. It’s not food if it arrived through the window of your car.
21. It’s not food if it’s called by the same name in every language (Think Big Mac).
36. Don’t eat breakfast cereals that change the color of the milk.
39 Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook/bake/make it yourself.
47 Eat when you are hungry, not when you are bored.
58 Do all your eating at a table.

Get your copy at, or read more about Food Rules on, or

*According to Wikipedia

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  • soulfulbodymind (1 comments)
    June 30, 2010 at 6:08 am

    I thought you could go like 40 days without food?.?.

    I love #11. I always ask my oldest son why don’t they put fruits and vegetables on commercials. You should have seen his face the first time. ha ha!

  • Doyle (4 comments)
    July 3, 2010 at 6:54 am

    Cannok a very poignant article.
    Money was scarce when raising my children for a while. We made really poor choices. Its not that I wasn’t educated just uninformed. These rules are simple and honest. Had this come to my attention 20 plus years ago things would have turned out different.
    I had thought being vegan would be too pricy so those cheap box dinners filled the bill. When I look back now ….wow talk about uninformed that was me.

  • Chia (326 comments)
    July 7, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    Canook, another great blog. Thank you.
    I’ve seen Michael Pollen interviewed on TV a couple times, and everything he says make very good sense (Oprah Show, Food Inc).
    For too long, the masses have been raised by corporations and their commercials alongside mis-informed educators and parents. As a child in Taiwan, I was raised by my parents to eat mostly whole foods (including meat) and to avoid snacks and candies. However, when I moved to the U.S.A. at the age of 9, suddenly I started to eat junk food and fast food on a daily basis, because junk/fast food was everywhere and everyone around me was eating the same!
    Thank goodness I learned to seek truths and started to READ INGREDIENT LABELS (this act, by far, was the most significant act that helped me to become a conscious eater and consumer now).

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