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My plans to retrace Captain Cook's unfinished voyage have been postponed a year while I work on the next Marine Diesel Basics book and get my new boat SV Oceandrifter ready for sea.

* Food rules – making sense and having fun eating food that’s good for us.

Journalist Michael Pollan has written three books on food.  His newest (published in paperback in December 2009) is called “Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual”. It’s a list of guidelines about food – real food, how to identify it and know what is not food, but what Pollan calls “edible food-like substances”?

How conscious are you about what you’re putting in your mouth?  What ideas do you have about what’s good for you and what’s not?  Where do those ideas come from? “The French paradox is that they have better heart health than we do despite being a cheese-eating, wine-swilling, fois-gras-gobbling people,” Pollan has said. “The American paradox is we are a people who worry unreasonably about dietary health yet have the worst diet in the world.”

“The Masai subsist on cattle blood and meat and milk and little else. Native Americans subsist on beans and maize. And the Inuit in Greenland subsist on whale blubber and a little bit of lichen,” he said. “The irony is, the one diet we have invented for ourselves — the Western diet — is the one that makes us sick.”

Pollan says everything he’s learned about food and health can be summed up in seven words: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”

Pollan’s rules include these seven gems:

  1. Don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food. “When you pick up that box of portable yogurt tubes, or eat something with 15 ingredients you can’t pronounce, ask yourself, “What are those things doing there?” Pollan says.
  2. Don’t eat anything with more than five ingredients, or ingredients you can’t pronounce.
  3. Stay out of the middle of the supermarket; shop on the perimeter of the store. Real food tends to be on the outer edge of the store near the loading docks, where it can be replaced with fresh foods when it goes bad.
  4. Don’t eat anything that won’t eventually rot. “There are exceptions — honey — but as a rule, things like Twinkies that never go bad aren’t food,” Pollan says.
  5. It is not just what you eat but how you eat. “Always leave the table a little hungry,” Pollan says. “Many cultures have rules that you stop eating before you are full. In Japan, they say eat until you are four-fifths full. Islamic culture has a similar rule, and in German culture they say, ‘Tie off the sack before it’s full.'”
  6. Families traditionally ate together, around a table and not a TV, at regular meal times. It’s a good tradition. Enjoy meals with the people you love. “Remember when eating between meals felt wrong?” Pollan asks.
  7. Don’t buy food where you buy your gasoline. In the U.S., 20% of food is eaten in the car.

Here’s an engaging video of a talk he gave recently in San Francisco about the book. I started watching casually but was soon paying close attention. The video’s hosted on an excellent website that has lots of other fascinating videos www.fora.tv

Buy now: Food Rules: An Eater's Manual

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One comment on “* Food rules – making sense and having fun eating food that’s good for us.

  1. Dhananjay Joshi
    June 19, 2010

    Put simply, eat traditional food thats evolved over the centuries. Billions of dollars are spent on marketing these so called foods. how would the huge supermarket chains, whose annual turnover is at times more thathe GDP of smaller nations survive if it wasn’t for the marketing effort? They have our children hooked!

    Like

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This entry was posted on June 10, 2010 by in Books/Language, Life Skills, Videos and tagged , , , .
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