Food Rules- An Eater’s Manual

Today’s Training:  6 mile tempo run with 9 hill repeats at the end!  I went out at 6am today, so it was a little dark, but BOY did all my senses scream FALL!  The school buses were driving by (oh, the memories in my mind when I see that old yellow bus), there were leaves already crunching under my steps, and the crisp smell was in the air.  The only confusion to my brain- it was muggy!  Hey- that’s not part of the season!

You know when you read a new book, and you finish and feel EMPOWERED?!  I’m sure we’ve all been there.  Most times, we’re empowered for a little while, and then fall back into the same old routine.

Well, I just finished a little tiny book- a manual- called Food Rules.He’s also the author of a few other books (The Omnivore’s Dillema and In Defense of Food).  Now, I will say that most things in this book are common sense- but the way he organizes them makes it spelled out in an easy-to-follow no nonsense guide!  I am now on a new kick to be…even healthier.  Because of this book, I am going to buy a freezer when I can, grow a garden, and shop the edges of grocery stores only (for the most part).  b likes his Goldfish.  Mom likes her chocolate.

He talks about how the Western diet is by far the most unhealthy diet- and it’s ours, and it’s new.  Since 1980, we’ve gotten fatter.  We’re the highest country with cancer and diabetes.  Sure, other countries have “bad” foods, but they view it differently.  They eat to live- they don’t live to eat like us.  Michael says eat real food.  The rest is called “edible food-like substances.”

Also, I’m proud to say that most of what he says in this book, I have offered as advice all by myself.  But he’s smarter and is far better with words.  If you can, read the entire thing.  It took me twenty minutes.  But until you can get your hands on it, I’m going to summarize here my favorite of his 64 “Food Rules.”  His mantra and now mine: “Eat Food. Mostly Plants.  Not too much.”  Such a simple theory.

2. Don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food. Or anything with more than five ingredients, or with ingredients you cannot pronounce.  (his example- Go-Gurt)

4. Avoid foods with high fructose corn syrup.  Not because it’s bad- sugar is sugar- but this just means its highly processed.

8. Avoid products that make health claims.  Think about it- it’s the rich companies spending the money to advertise health.  The real healthy stuff- the veggies and fruits- do you see them boasting what they have?  No.  They just do.  They’re modest.  Same goes for foods you see advertised on tv- don’t eat it.

9&10. Avoid foods that are “lite” or “low fat” and that are pretending to be something they’re not.  Example- maragaine.  Just use butter in moderation.  Margarine is fake and processed, as are “lite” things.  Plus, they add sugar to make up for the fat they took out.  Same with fake sugar- eat the real stuff, the natural sugar- like in fruits.

12. Shop the peripheries of the supermarket and stay out of the middle.  The healthy grains, fruits, veggies, and dairy are often on the outside.  The bad stuff lurks in the aisles!

13. Eat foods that will eventually rot (besides honey).  If they don’t rot, there’s some gross processed reason why.  My example- jarred baby food.  That’s why I make my own.

19. If it came from a plant, eat it.  If it was made in a plant, don’t.

23. Treat meat as a flavoring or a special occasion food.  Vegetarians are healthier as a fact.  But so are flexitarians-the ones who eat meat occasionally.

24. Eating what stands on one leg is better than eating what stands on two legs, which is better than eating what stands on four legs.

26. Drink the spinach water.  The water in which you cook veggies- super high in nutrition.

28. If you have the space, buy a freezer.  Buy things in bulk when they are in season and cheap.  Freeze them to enjoy all year.

35. Eat sweet foods as you find them in nature.  Eat the fruit instead of the juice.

36. Don’t eat breakfast cereals that change the color of the milk.

37. The whiter the bread, the sooner you’ll be dead.  Whole grains all the way.

39. Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.  Love this.  Humans have eaten fried chicken and french fries far before the obesity epidemic.  That’s because they made it themselves.  That takes time- it’s not a fast food.  So, enjoy some fries- peel the potatoes yourself.  Chances are, you won’t be eating them too often.

40. Be the kind of person who takes supplements- then skip the supplements.  A few special cases aside, if you eat healthy enough, you don’t need pills.

43. Have a glass of wine with dinner.

44. Pay more, eat less.

46. Stop eating before you’re full.  Fill your tank up to 80 percent.  Remember- it takes 20 minutes for your brain to register “full.”  His great example is the French, who say “I’m hungry.”  But instead of “I’m full,” they say “I am no longer hungry.”  So, don’t eat until you’re full, eat until you’re not hungry anymore.

52. Buy smaller plates and glasses.

54. Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper.

55. Eat meals.  Sure, they say 6 small meals a day, but that typically turns into lots of snacking.  Eat healthy well-balanced meals and you’re fine.

58. Do all your eating at a table.  Bring back the family meals!

60. Treat treats as treats.

63. Cook.  You cannot eat healthy if you don’t cook your food yourself most of the time.

64. Break the rules once in a while.  Worrying too much effects happiness and health.  Don’t obsess.

Such a smart book with a great message.  He mentions how the food scientists have made food into more a science than it has to be.  Analyzing everything.  Maybe you don’t care WHY kale is good for you, just know it is.  Here’s some rules.  And now to follow them…


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