Thursday, February 11, 2010

Pocket-Sized Guide to the Food You Eat.

Michael Pollan, the renowned journalist and author of The Omnivorous Dilemma, has just come out with a new book, Food Rules. Based on the idea that the American obsession with complicated diets has spiraled out of control and has often been more destructive than helpful to American health (the Atkins diet, the South Beach diet, the Taco Bell diet even), Pollan puts forth this carry-with-you-anywhere manual of quick and easy rules on how to eat right.

The book is divided into three main sections, each with simple answers and short justifications accompanying: What to Eat (Pollan answers: "food"), What Types of Foods to Eat ("mostly plants"), How to Eat ("not too much"). Each section has witty tips to consult whether in your grocery store or at a restaurant.

One such tip from the first section on defining what food is writes "don't eat anything advertised on TV". Such a proposition (which was following by a short explanation and clarification) may seem quite obvious: we hardly see cucumbers or simple brown rice advertized on TV as often or in the same marketing way that we do Doritos and McDonalds. Another helpful rule "the whiter the bread, the sooner you'll be dead", indicating how white bread offers only shots of sugar with poor quality proteins and fattening starch, without the nutrients offered by unprocessed breads.

While Pollan's book may seem to some an oversimplication of nutrition (there are many opportunities to point out, "Well, I saw an advertisement for Dole Bananas, is that so unhealthy?"), the guide illuminates the simplicity of good dieting with common sense reason.

And while these rules may not only be incredibly accurate and helpful for those obsessing with the next crazy diet to move into a more wholesome diet, whether it is necessary to purchase a book for such common sense reason is questionable. Either way, flipping through Food Rules reminds us of the simplicity in eating right and living a healthy life which we often forget.

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