Our food hero for the month is author, fresh food advocate and “food detective” Michael Pollan. As a detective, he follows food from the field to your plate and everywhere in between. Here are five of his no-nonsense tips (from Food Rules) for eating better—for the earth and your health.
1. If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t.
2. Don’t eat breakfast cereals that change the color of the milk.
Such cereals are highly processed and full of refined carbohydrates as well as chemical additives.
3. Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.
There is nothing wrong with eating sweets, fried foods, pastries, even drinking soda every now and then, but food manufacturers have made eating these formerly expensive and hard-to-make treats so cheap and easy that we’re eating them every day. The french fry did not become America’s most popular vegetable until industry took over the jobs of washing, peeling, cutting, and frying the potatoes—and cleaning up the mess. If you made all the french fries you ate, you would eat them much less often, if only because they’re so much work. The same holds true for fried chicken, chips, cakes, pies, and ice cream. Enjoy these treats as often as you’re willing to prepare them—chances are good it won’t be every day.
4. Eat when you are hungry, not when you are bored.
Try to be aware of why you’re eating, and ask yourself if you’re really hungry—before you eat and then again along the way. (One old wive’s test: If you’re not hungry enough to eat an apple, then you’re not hungry.)
5. Do all your eating at a table.
No, a desk is not a table. If we eat while we’re working, or while watching TV or driving, we eat mindlessly—and as a result eat a lot more than we would if we were eating at a table, paying attention to what we’re doing.