Eat Food, Mostly Plants, Not Too Much

Maybe what our grandparents told us was right?  This is the premise for Food Rules, the wonderfully written and beautifully illustrated book by Michael Pollan, professor of Journalism at UC Berkeley and author of many great books and articles on food and culture. His idea is that the wisdom passed down through generations of families might have more helpful things to say about how to eat well than the recommendations of science or industry or government. In this day and age when most food we buy is processed, packaged and promoted in one way or another, Pollan rightly suggests that for our health, for the earth and for our enjoyment of each other, we can, and should, eat more simply.  And we don’t have to be a scientist to know what we should or shouldn’t be eating.  Just listen to your mother.

Here are a few examples:

#1 Eat food. Don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.

#11 Avoid foods you see advertised on television.

#19 If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don't.

#36 Don't eat breakfast cereals that change the color of the milk

#39 Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.

As a family physician and as a father, I have found Mr. Pollan’s advice much easier for both my patients and my kids (8 & 11) to understand and remember, than any suggestions to cut out trans fats, or eat more omega-3 fatty acids, etc.  My kids have even read the book aloud to our family and we now use it as a guide when buying food.

I highly recommend reading this wonderful book.

David Lown, MD
SFCCC Medical Director