Eat Food, Not too Much, Mostly Plants

If you are looking for some simple nutritional advice with which to lead your life it is hard to go past the 7 rules laid out by American food author Michael Pollan. His philosophy is simple and can be summed up in seven words. Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants. He goes on to explain this philosophy using 7 simple rules.

  1. Don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.
  2. Don’t eat anything with more than five ingredients, or ingredients you can’t pronounce.
  3.  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.
  4.  Don’t eat anything that won’t eventually rot. Pollan says there are some exceptions such as natural products like honey.
  5. It is not just what you eat but how you eat. “Always leave the table a little hungry. 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.'”
  6. Enjoy meals with the people you love. Families traditionally ate together, around a table and not a TV, at regular meal times. It’s a good tradition.
  7. Don’t buy food where you buy your Petrol. In the U.S., 20% of food is eaten in the car.

Pollan also has some simple advice on which foods are best for you which is succinctly summed up in this Chinese proverb:


Eating what stands on one leg (plants)

Is better than eating what stands on two legs (fowl)

Which is better than eating what stands on four legs (cows, pigs & other mammals)

About Ian Murray

Ian is a registered acupuncturist and Chinese Herbal Medicine practitioner at Kenmore Centre for Health. This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such.
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