Monday, October 21, 2013


The other day I was sitting in my doctor’s waiting room, and I picked up a small book entitled Food Rules, by Michael Pollan. The author lists some 64 rules about food that make a great deal of sense. No, I am not going to list 64 food rules; however, I do want to introduce you to this gentlemen, and his notions about food.

First of all, Pollan is not a nutritionist nor a scientist; he is a journalist. But he has, he says, thoroughly researched what he writes about. He says, “Eating in our time has gotten complicated; needlessly so, in my opinion.” He goes on to say that many of us rely on experts of one kind or another to tell us how to eat. We don’t always heed the expert advice, but somehow it sticks in our heads in the grocery aisle or at a restaurant.

He divides the book into three chapters:  Part one – What should eat? (Eat food).  Part two - What kind of food should I eat? (Mostly plants)  Part three -  How should I eat? (Not too much).

Pollan is not being facetious when he says to eat food. By that he means there are thousands of products on supermarket shelves that are highly processed concoctions designed by food scientists, consisting mostly of ingredients derived from corn and soy that no normal person keeps in the pantry. Pollan calls these manufactured items edible food like substances.

With each rule, he gives a brief description of the reason for the rule, but I will not get into that. But the rules themselves gives you a pretty good idea of what he has in mind. For example rule number two says, “Don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.

Rule number six: “Avoid food products that contain more than five ingredients.”

Rule number seven is one of my favorites: “Avoid food products containing ingredients that are third-grader cannot pronounce.”

Another of my favorites is rule number 11: “Avoid foods you see advertised on television.

You get the idea. If this small discussion intrigues you, you may want to find the book at your local library. I do, however, want to give you rule number 64, which I think you will appreciate: “Break the rules once in a while.”

(It occurs to me that you can read that book title two ways. The first is probably the way it is intended, with Food as an adjective, and Rules as a noun. The other is with Food as a noun, and Rules as a verb. Think about it.)

Humor --

Hoo, boy, did I find the right piece of humor to follow Food Rules!

For those of you who watch what you eat, here’s the final word on nutrition and health. It’s a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting medical studies.

The Japanese eat is very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.

The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.

The Japanese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.

The Italians excessive amounts of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.

The Germans drink a lot of beer and eat lots of sausage and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.

Conclusion: Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you.


  1. Well then. My grandfather's sister used to love to make chocolate mints. Trader Joe's has a three-ingredient mint: dark chocolate, honey, mint. Exquisite. And fewer than five ingredients!

  2. I see his stuff in the NYTimes. Impressive guy!

    I have my own food math problem: Two thirds of the food I eat is very healthy; the other two thirds is junk.

    You can do the sums. (Yes, I made that up myself.)