Food Rules in Perfect Portions

January 11th, 2010

pollan_mn_80x90The typical Western diet is, according to Michael Pollan, riddled with “edible, food-like substances”; processed products that are stripped of nutritional value and contain added fat, sugar and refined grains. Constantly eating such fare causes us “to suffer from high rates of the so-called Western diseases: obesity, type 2 diabetes’ cardiovascular disease’ more than a third of all cancers can be linked to this diet. Four of the top ten killers in America are chronic diseases that can be linked to this diet.’ In his latest book, Food Rules, Michael Pollan encourages readers to take control of their health by foregoing the foods that lead to chronic, preventable illnesses.

Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual
By Michael Pollan
Penguin Two
112 pgs, Dec 29, 2009

Pollan helps us navigate our way through the modern food system with a pocket-sized book full of tips that describe what we should eat, how much, and how to enjoy it. His simple advice comes from long forgotten cultural practices surrounding food which we must return to if we hope to improve our diets. Pollan encourages readers not to eat anything their great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize, and to borrow from the traditional diets and attitudes of societies with better health than ours.

In his newest eating guide, Michael Pollan once again urges readers to cut back on meat. He notes that “the more meat there is in your diet –red meat in particular- the greater your risk for heart disease and cancer. Why? It could possibly be its saturated fat, or its specific type of protein, or the simple fact that all meat is pushing plants off the plate.’ Pollan feels we should treat meat as a side dish or flavoring to be used sparingly.

Pollan joins Meatless Monday in advocating small behavior changes for better health. By “departing even modestly from the Western diet [the American population] could reduce its chances of getting coronary heart disease by 80 percent, its chances of type 2 diabetes by 90 percent and its chances of colon cancer by 70 percent.’ Take steps towards a healthier diet this Monday by heeding Michael Pollan’s Food Rules.