Food Rules: An Eater's Manual

Food Rules: An Eater's Manual

by Michael Pollan

Food Rules is all about eating the right things, at the right times, in the right quantities, and from the right places. Your health is precious and there is a link between your diet and health. It’s therefore important to develop the right sets of eating habits and principles that will nourish your body and also prevent certain chronic diseases.

Summary Notes

What should I eat?

“The rules in this section will help you to distinguish real foods—the plants, animals, and fungi people have been eating for generations—from the highly processed products of modern food science.”

Nutritional science has done its bit to promote healthy eating habits. However, you may want to consider your roots - most of our great grandparents lived long, fulfilling lives even when food science did not exist. In our current industrialized world, the healthiest food items are those that were eaten by our ancestors.

There is a difference between real food and edible food-like substances. Most supermarkets are saturated with processed foods that are associated with chronic diseases. For example, saturated fats, processed sugars, and processed salt are linked with diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and cancers.

Research suggests that low sugar foods, low-fat foods as well as plant-based foods are some of the healthiest choices.

Remember, you eat to live, so it’s important to have knowledge about the healthiest and safest food choices. Don’t eat just anything you see because you’re hungry. Instead, make conscious efforts to only settle for food items that are both satisfying and nourishing to your body.

Actions to take

What kind of food should I eat?

“One lesson that can be drawn from the striking diversity of traditional diets people have lived on around the world is that it is possible to nourish ourselves from an astonishing range of foods—so long as they really are food.”

You may have limited yourself to eating some particular food items just because those are the only ones you consider “real”. The truth is, there is a broad variety of real foods, some of which are traditional. You can explore different options as long as they are healthy ones.

Remember that although certain foods or ingredients are generally labeled as unhealthy, our bodies still need a little bit of those items to access their full potential. For example, fats are generally said to be unhealthy but there are still healthy high-fat and healthy-low fat diets that are good for the body. In the same vein, sugars are widely considered unhealthy, but you need some level of these items in your system. 

It is therefore of the utmost importance to cultivate the habit of including a wide variety of foods in your diet, so you are not deficient in any vital nutrient, vitamin, or food substance. Whatever you choose, remember to eat them in moderation.

Actions to take

How should I eat?

‘How you eat may have as much bearing on your health (and your weight) as what you eat’

You may already know the right things to eat but do you know the right way to eat? It’s one thing to consume the right nutrients, but there is definitely a problem if you consume them in extremely large or extremely small quantities.

Most times, we turn to satisfy our cravings by eating at odd times or eating exaggerated quantities of food as we are unable to discipline ourselves. Other times, we neglect to eat healthy food because they do not look, smell or taste pleasant to us.

However, you will have to discipline yourself and stay away from some of your most favorite food items when the timing isn’t right. Meanwhile, you can also learn to eat even some of the things you don’t like just because they are rich in nutrients, vitamins, and other substances that can keep you healthy.

Actions to take

Don’t just read. Act.
Read comprehensive summaries and discover carefully compiled action lists for active learning