Michael Pollan’s Favorite Dietary Do’s and Dont’s

Earlier this year, Michael Pollan posted a request for reader’s rules about eating. Within days, he had received more than 2,500 responses. Here are some of Pollan’s 20 favorites:

  1. Don’t eat egg salad from a vending machine.
  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. Avoid snack foods with the “oh” sound in their names: Doritos, Cheetos, Tostitos, Ho Ho’s, etc.
  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. Never eat something that is pretending to be something else (artificial sweeteners, margarine, etc.)
  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. Don’t eat anything you aren’t willing to kill yourself.
  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.


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Posted: 11/03/2009 at 05:27 AM
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Posted: 11/03/2009 at 05:27 AM
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