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Read:Michael Pollan’s 20 Food Rules to Live By

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Michael Pollan’s 20 Food Rules to Live By

By Adam Pash,
Oct 9, 2009 10:30 AM

Many Lifehacker readers turn to In Defense of Food author Michael Pollan’s practical, no-nonsense advice when they’re looking to eat better and healthier. Over at the New York Times, Pollan has pulled together 20 solid—sometimes silly—eating rules of thumb.

Photo by Shahram Sharif.

Pollan asked his readers to submit the food rules they live by, and over 2,500 responses later, he culled together 20 favorites. Some of the rules are more folks-isms than rules to live by, but most are actually kind of useful as motivational tools to help you stick with healthy habits. For example:

  • Never eat something that is pretending to be something else.
  • If you are not hungry enough to eat an apple, then you are not hungry.
  • The Chinese have a saying: “Eat until you are seven-tenths full and save the other three-tenths for hunger.” That way, food always tastes good, and you don’t eat too much.

Still, eating really doesn’t have to be all that difficult, and shouldn’t necessarily require so many rules—which is where the next-to-final rule on the list comes in:

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.” I try to eat healthfully, but if there’s a choice between eating ice cream and spending all day obsessing about eating ice cream, I’m going to eat the ice cream!

Amen. Still, if you’ve got your own rules of thumb for making sure you’re sticking to a healthy, balanced diet (maybe you subscribe to Pollan’s simple “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” mantra), let’s hear it in the comments.

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