Michael Pollan’s Top 20 Food Rules from Readers

In March 2009, Michael Pollan asked readers of the New York Times to submit their rules for eating well. Within days, over 2500 people responded. Pollan posted his Top 20 Favorite Rules last month. See the list below.

1.

2. Don’t eat anything that took more energy to ship than to grow.

3. If you are not hungry enough to eat an apple, then you’re not hungry.

4. Eat foods in inverse proportion to how much its lobby spends to push it.

5.

6. No second helpings, no matter how scrumptious.

7. It’s better to pay the grocer than the doctor.

8. You may not leave the table until you finish your fruit.

9. You don’t get fat on food you pray over. (Meals prepared at home, served at the table and given thanks for are more appreciated and more healthful than food eaten on the run.)

10. Breakfast you should eat alone. Lunch you should share with a friend. Dinner, give to your enemy.

11.

12. Don’t yuck someone’s yum. There is someone out there who likes deep-fried sheep eyeballs and, well, more power to them.

13. Make and take your own lunch to work.

14. Eat until you are seven-tenths full and save the other three-tenths for hunger.

15. I am living in Japan and following these simple rules in preparing each meal: GO HO – incorporate five different cooking methods, GO SHIKI – incorporate five colors, GO MI – incorporate five flavors.

16. One of my top rules for eating comes from economics. The law of diminishing marginal utility reminds me that each additional bite is generally less satisfying than the previous bite. This helps me slow down, savor the first bites, stop eating sooner.

17.

18. When drinking tea, just drink tea. I find this Zen teaching useful, given my inclination toward information absorption in the morning, when I’m also trying to eat breakfast, get the dog out, start the fire and organize my day.

19. When you’re eating, don’t talk about other past meals, whether better or worse. Focus on what’s in front of you.

20. After spending some time working with people with eating disorders, I came up with this rule: Don’t create arbitrary rules for eating if their only purpose is to help you feel in control.

Click here to see illustrations of all the Top 20 rules.

ABOUT MICHAEL POLLAN
Pollan is the author of In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto and The Omnivore’s Dilemma, which was named one of the ten best books of the year by both the New York Times and the Washington Post. Pollan appears in Food, Inc. a food industry documentary and The Botany of Desire, recently broadcast on PBS. Pollan is a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine and the Knight Professor of Journalism at UC Berkeley.

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2 responses to “Michael Pollan’s Top 20 Food Rules from Readers

  1. I love #16 from economics. We write about your body, your eating and your money. We are a big fan of MICHAEL POLLAN.

  2. don’t eat in front of the TV or computer. when we do that we tend to eat much more because of unconscious eating. sit at a table and enjoy your meal.

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