FOOD RULES: AN EATER’S MANUAL by Michael Pollan [Review]

Food Rules by Michael Pollan

After being blown away by Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food, I decided to pick up his latest book, Food Rules. Pollan’s thesis is that we should avoid processed foods and eat a more traditional diet, and Food Rules has 64 rules designed to help you make better food choices. It’s divided into three parts that each support Pollan’s now famous advice to “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” The first section is designed to help you distinguish real food from the processed food he calls “edible foodlike products.” In part two Pollan advocates eating “mostly plants” and treating meat more like a side dish. Part three is about the importance of eating in moderation and changing our relationship with food.

I think the best way to describe Food Rules is as the Cliff’s Notes version of In Defense of Food. He removed all the scientific content and extensive research from In Defense of Food and distilled the content down to 64 rules. Unfortunately, I think he has removed the best part and I didn’t find Food Rules as compelling as it could’ve been. However, I can see why some would find this book appealing because it’s short and very readable. People who are too busy or too intimidated to read the very complex In Defense of Food will find that Food Rules is a great way to find advice that can be easily incorporated into their everyday lives. The rules are short, easy to remember, and more than a few will make you chuckle.

Having read Michal Pollan’s previous book, I can’t say that I learned anything new from Food Rules, but I’m probably not its intended audience. I recommend it to those unfamiliar with his work because it’s a great way to learn his basic principles. However, if you have the time and the interest definitely check out In Defense of Food.

Quotes from Food Rules:

Rule 7: Avoid food products containing ingredients that a third-grader cannot pronounce.

Rule 20: It’s not food if it arrived through the window of your car.

Rule 36: Don’t eat breakfast cereals that change the color of the milk.

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars | Publisher: Penguin | Pages: 112 | Source: Purchased | Buy on Amazon

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  • Amie

    Great review, you have me interested in these books now. I feel like all these rules make sense, they are just hard to implement (especially # 20 for me) :)