Skip to main content

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

In a recent interview with the New York Times, Michael Pollan, best selling author of the book Omnivore's Dilemma was asked,

Does your pantry or cabinets contain food in a package?

"Really seldom. If you look in my pantry, you won't find that much processed stuff. Maybe some canned soups and tuna fish. I don't have a lot of low-fat products. I much prefer to eat less of a full-fat product. You won't find skim milk. We're lucky. I live in Berkeley with a farmers market four blocks away, and it's open fifty weeks a year. I have the luxury of being able to buy very fresh, good food. I have a weakness for bread. A good white baguette - I have a weakness for that."

In his piece, Unhappy Meals, Pollan's number one recommendation is:

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

Then he makes some surprising suggestions. Here's one:

1. Don't eat food that makes health claims.

"If you're concerned about your health, you should probably avoid food products that make health claims. Why? Because a health claim on a food product is a good indication that it's not really food, and food is what you want to eat."

He adds,

"Once, food was all you could eat, but today there are lots of other edible foodlike substances in the supermarket... These novel products of food science come in packages festooned with health claims."

2. Get out of the supermarket. Shop at the local farmer's market.

"Get out of the supermarket whenever possible. You won't find any high fructose corn syrup at the farmer's market; you also won't find food harvested long ago and far away. What you will find are fresh whole foods picked at the peak of nutritional quality. Precisely the kind of food your great-great-grandmother would have recognized as food."

3. Pay more, eat less.

"The American food system has for a century devoted its energies and policies to increasing quantity and reducing price, not to improving quality. There's no escaping the fact that better food - measured by taste and nutritional quality (which often correspond - costs more, because it has been grown or raised less intensively and with more care.... I don't know about you, but the better the quality of the food I eat, the less of it I need to feel satisfied. All tomatoes are not created equal."

See here for his other thoughts on how to get off the junk food train we've all gotten onto, without intending to ever do so.