Michael Pollan's 'Food Rules': Part III

The third and final section of Michael Pollan's book 'Food Rules' is all about how you should eat.

"the [rules] in this section deal with something a bit more elusive but no less important: the set of manners, eating habits, taboos, and unspoken guidelines that together govern a person's (and a culture's) relationship to food and eating. How you eat may have as much bearing on your health (and your weight) as what you eat."

Part 3: How should I eat? (Not too much.)

Rule 44 - Pay more, eat less.

"If you spend more for better food, you'll probably eat less of it, and treat it with more care. And if that higher-quality food tastes better, you will need less of it to feel satisfied. Choose quality over quantity, food experience over mere calories."

Rule 45 - ...Eat less.

"We eat much more than our bodies need to be healthy, and the excess wreaks havoc--and not just on our weight."

Rule 46 - Stop eating before you're full.

"Ask yourself not, Am I full? but, Is my hunger gone? That moment will arrive several bites sooner."

Rule 47 - Eat when you are hungry, not when you are bored.

"Try to be aware of why you're eating, and ask yourself if you're really hungry--before you eat and then again along the way. (One old wives' test: If you're not hungry enough to eat an apple, then you're not hungry.) Food is a costly antidepressant."

Rule 48 - Consult your gut.

"Most of us allow external, and usually visual, cues to determine how much we eat. The larger the portion, for example, the more we eat; the bigger the container, the more we pour... Slow down and pay attention to what your body-and not just your sense of sight-is telling you."

Rule 49 - Eat slowly.

"Eat slowly enough to savor your food; you'll need less of it to feel satisfied. If it is a food experience rather than mere calories your after, the slower you eat, the more of an experience you will have."

Rule 50 - "The banquet is in the first bite."

"No other bite will taste as good as the first, and every subsequent bite will progressively diminish in satisfaction... as you go on, you'll be getting more calories, but not necessarily more pleasure."

Rule 51 - Spend as much time enjoying the meal as it took to prepare it.

Rule 52 - Buy smaller plates and glasses.

Rule 53 - Serve a proper portion and don't go back for seconds.

Rule 54 - "Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper."

"...the science isn't conclusive... [but] front-loading your eating in the early part of the day will probably result in fewer total calories consumed."

Rule 55 - Eat meals.

Rule 56 - Limit your snacks to unprocessed plant foods.

Rule 57 - Don't get your fuel from the same place your car does.

"Gas stations have become 'processed corn stations': ethanol outside for your car and high-fructose corn syrup inside for you."

Rule 58 - Do all your eating at a table.

"If we eat while we're working, or while watching TV or driving, we eat mindlessly--and as a result eat a lot more than we would if we were eating at a table, paying attention to what we're doing."

Rule 59 - Try not to eat alone.

Rule 60 - Treat treats as treats.

"There is nothing wrong with special occasion foods, as long as every day is not a special occasion. These special occasion foods offer some of the great pleasures of life, so we shouldn't deprive ourselves of them... One way is to start making these foods yourself; if you bake dessert yourself, you won't go to that much trouble every day. Another is to limit your consumption of such foods to weekends of special occasions. Some people follow a so-called S policy: 'no snacks, no seconds, no sweets--except on days that begin with the letter S.'"

Rule 61 - Leave something on your plate.

Rule 62 - Plant a vegetable garden if you have space, a window box if you don't.

Rule 63 - Cook.

"Not surprisingly, the decline in home cooking closely parallels the rise in obesity, and research suggests that people who cook are more likely to eat a more healthful diet."

Rule 64 - Break the rules once in a while.

I very much agree that the best things you can do are to cook your own meals, prepare your own healthy snacks in advance so they are on hand, and to indulge once in a while!