I've never been a particularly healthy eater. I enjoy salads and fruit and some other healthy items, and have always made an effort to include them in my diet, but I've also always enjoyed (ahem) grilled cheese, ice cream, doritos, pizza, candy, beer... You get the point. This doesn't mean I don't think about what I eat a lot. I just find I still make lots of bad food decisions on a day to day basis. Yesterday for instance, I had a cadbury bar with breakfast. I kid you not.
Food Rules, I've found has been a really great book to help me make more healthful decisions throughout the week. Clearly, I'm nowhere near perfect (see cadbury bar reference above), but I think this book has helped me take some really positive steps in the right direction. Michael Pollan boils everything he's learned about food and health down to the following simple phrase: "eat food, not too much, mostly plants." This for me is the easiest way to think about what I eat.
What I really like about this book is that it addresses the confusion that comes from reading and thinking a lot about what you eat. I worry a lot about factory farms and the treatment of animals, and chemicals ending up in my food, and of course about eating too much sugar (since I have a mean sweet tooth), or should I be more worried about fake sugar. Should I be eating lower fat, lower calorie, more meat, less meat, whole wheat, less carbs. These are things I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking about. But what he suggests is so much simpler, just aim for mostly unprocessed food, and eat a lot of vegetables.
This book provides a set of really manageable rules (I think they are more of suggestions) of how to negotiate food decisions every day. They are short, easy to remember, and make sense (to me anyway). Some of my favorite rules are below:
"Avoid products with the wordoid lite or the terms low fat or non-fat in their names"
"If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, dont."
"Eat mostly plants, especially leaves."
"Serve a proper portion and don't go back for seconds."
"Don't eat breakfast cereal that changes the color of the milk."
"Treat treats as treats."
"Break the rules once in a while."
So what I'm working on now is mainly trying to eat more vegetables and fruits. This is a lot more fun (for me) than thinking about doing less of anything. I'm going to read his other recent book In Defense of Food next which I'm excited about.