7 Rules For Eating

We humans have a way of over-complicating things. Even something as basic and simple as eating gets overly complicated.

WebMD was won’t to say that "We Americans suffer a national eating disorder: our unhealthy obsession with healthy eating."

In an effort to "bring new ideas to the national debate on food issues," the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) invited food author and US Food Policies critic, Michael Pollan to give a talk for CDC researchers and to "meet with leaders of the federal agency."

Pollan noted that, though Americans are obsessed about dietary health, they "have the worst diet in the world." In contrast to the French who have better health, despite their their fondness for rather indulgent foods.

Pollan even compared the American diet to various indigenous people’s diets. "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."

The consistent rise in obesity, diabetes, and heart disease rates in the US is a testimony to our bad diet.

Pollon offers a very simple approach to proper eating- without compromising your health and nutrition. His approach can be summarized in 7 words: "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants."

Pollan gives emphasis on the first sentence. Pollan says that "Eat food." means "to eat real food — vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and, yes, fish and meat — and to avoid what Pollan calls "edible food-like substances."

Pollan elaborates on his "theory" through his 7 Rules of Eating (Via: WebMD)

  • 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.
  • Don’t eat anything with more than five ingredients, or ingredients you can’t pronounce.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.’"
  • 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.
  • Don’t buy food where you buy your gasoline. In the U.S., 20% of food is eaten in the car.

Pollan approach might seem rather simplistic, but it is actually practical, logical, and best of all, it is healthy. It might also seem like "just another set of rules" or "diet/meal plans" that will complicate your life even further, but it’s not. It’s based on sound food/eating fundamentals, and is concise without leaving out significant details. Remember, all of these can be summed up in 7 short words – "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants."