I read this wonderful little book over the last two nights (yes, I am a fast reader, but it was also only 140 small pages!) and I wanted to share it with you. It is called “Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual” and it is by the bestselling author, Michael Pollan. Pollan has written a number of award winning books, including The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food. In this latest book, Pollan takes the subject of nutritional science and healthy eating and condenses the history, vast material and hefty research down into 64 easy to remember rules for healthy eating. It is a wonderfully written book and it provides clear cut advice that avoids all the new-age dieting tricks, drastic surgeries and focus on the endless counting of calories, fat and nutrients.
I am not going to bother you with all the rules and information from the book (that is for you to read and enjoy!), but I wanted to touch on seven of the rules that got the wheels turning in my head, flipped on that light switch and made me say “Ahah!”.
The Ferry Family’s “Eater’s Manual”
#3 Avoid food products containing ingredients no ordinary human would keep in the pantry
This is a great first rule to live by. If you can’t pronounce the ingredients on the back of a package or you don’t have them in your own pantry – don’t eat it. Why is this important? The ingredients in our pantry aren’t preservatives. And, they have a shelf life. And, by “shelf life”, it means that it is going to expire at some point and, yes, that’s a good thing!
#11 Avoid foods you see advertised on television
This rule made me smile. It is so simple. You don’t see carrots starring in commercials. You don’t see the local milk cows from down the street parading across your television. And, the eggs from the farmer’s market aren’t stamped with advertising information. The local, fresh ingredients are strutting their stuff in the produce section of your grocery store or saying “hello!” from the farm stand down the road.
#36 Don’t eat breakfast cereals that change the color of the milk
Duh! You see that rainbow colored swirl that you get after a full bowl of Fruity Pebbles – it’s the chemicals leaching from your cereal into your milk. And, I don’t really think Red 40, Blue 1 Lake and Yellow 5 are yummy in your tummy!
#39 Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it for yourself
Yes! Finally a rule I know I can live by. You see – I am a baker. I can’t brown hamburger or cook a filet of salmon to save my life, but I can whip up a crazy good batch of snickerdoodles or a scrumptious, mouth watering apple pie. Making maple bar donuts from scratch takes a long time and you probably burn as many calories cooking as you do eating. But, that’s the point. Food manufacturers have made it incredibly easy to get our hands on sweet and salty snacks anytime of the day. Put in the effort to make these treats and you won’t find yourself eating them nearly as often. Oh, and, homemade tastes SO much better.
#46 Stop eating before you are full
Do you ever find that things sound prettier in foreign languages? I do. And, I just like repeating them sometimes because they roll off your tongue so nicely. The Japanese have a beautiful saying: “hara hachi bu”. Loosely translated it means “Eat until you are 80% full”. This is incredibly hard for me. I love food and I love eating – especially bread. But, I do know one thing, the handful of times (and, I think that is being generous) that I have practiced this rule – I haven’t missed that other 20% and that is worth remembering.
#49 Eat Slowly
I really like this rule because it gives me an excuse to sit down for a little longer and enjoy that family time around the table. Dinners are the one time that we all sit down (including Tucker who never misses a meal at the table!), talk about the day and savor our food. Remember, food is not just sustenance. I truly believe it is meant to be enjoyed and experienced. And, it is a social activity that pulls people together and lingering with good company is never a bad thing.
#65 Ferry Family Final Rule
Enjoy your food and keep those chemicals out of your belly. And, always remember to eat & be merry!
Food Rules by Michael Pollan: pick it up at our local Whatcom County bookstore, Village Books, for $11