Rules to Eat By

These days you can't walk down the grocery store aisle without seeing a food product that's touting some sort of nutritional benefit. Be it calcium-fortified waffles, Splenda with fiber, or a box of Froot Loops with the "smart choice" check mark - you have to ask yourself, Really? We're inundated with crazy messages about food. It's overwhelming!

That's why Michael Pollan, writer and food advocate, wants to get back to our roots. Aside from marketing and the food pyramid, what guides our judgment of what's healthy? Our cultural knowledge should keep us on track (i.e. the little things passed on from mom and dad or that we just learn in passing). Whether you realize it or not, we all have little rules that we eat by. These rules shape our understanding of food, nourishment and health. Pollan says: "...culture still has a lot to teach us about how to choose, prepare and eat food, and this popular wisdom is worth preserving — perhaps today more than ever, in this era of dazzling food science, supersize portions and widespread dietary confusion."

So, he's working on a book to keep our collective cultural knowledge of eating from slipping through the cracks. Pollan gathered thousands of personal rules about eating and calls it a "collection of genuinely useful and nutritionally sound examples of popular wisdom about eating."

As a taste, the first 20 are published in the NYT's magazine.

A few of my favorites....

"You don't get fat on food you pray over."

"Avoid snack foods that end with the "OH" sound in their names: Doritos, Fritos, Cheetos, Tostitos, Hostess Ho Hos, Etc."

"It's better to pay the grocer than the doctor."

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