Michael Pollan is a professor, journalist, and author of several books, including The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto and Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual.
These three books are favorites of ours here at Tommy’s Superfoods and we like to think we follow Michael Pollan’s suggestions about how and why it’s important to not only eat a nutritionally-sound diet but to also enjoy food and savor its textures, tastes, and aromas.
In Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, Pollan sets out to explain some common-sense rules that we should all try to follow if we want to eat a healthy diet and respect the environmental sustainability of our planet. We will admit this isn’t always an easy task… One simple trip to the grocery store will show you how words such as “natural” and “healthy” can be used on any sort of processed food product without oversight, regardless of the ingredients.
The Tommy’s Superfoods Promise
Tommy’s Superfoods is committed to creating responsibly sourced products that never contain any artificial flavors, colors or ingredients. They are packaged in BPA-free steam bags, and all of our products are Non-GMO Project Verified with clearly labeled packaging.
But we know it’s not always as easy to tell with other food where it comes from, how it is produced, and if the ingredients contain GMOs (genetically modified organisms). We’re highlighting the key “rules” that Pollan explains in his diet book. You’ll find these suggestions to be backed up with scientific research and plenty of good old-fashioned common sense.
Michael Pollan’s Food Rules
We are what we eat
Selecting sustainably raised meat, poultry and seafood is important for both our health and the environment. If an animal raised for meat or dairy production is fed an antibiotics-laced mixture of GMO grain feed every day, you will also be consuming those GMOs and unnecessary drugs when you eat the resulting meat, eggs, or dairy products. Do you really want that in your body? You are what you eat.
Have a colorful plate
Fruits and vegetables have a variety of different antioxidants that help to protect our bodies against chronic diseases. One of the easiest ways to remember this is that each “color” (red peppers, green beans, yellow squash, purple eggplant, blueberries, oranges…) contains a different variety of wellness-boosting vitamins and minerals. Eat the rainbow and feel great!
Make your own “junk” food
Who doesn’t love french fries, chocolate cupcakes, tortilla chips or donuts? These delicious treats deserved to be enjoyed on occasion and one great way to do that is to make your own. It is true that making your favorite snacks at home is more time consuming than picking them up at your local drive-thru, but you’ll know exactly what it is that you’re eating.
Go for whole grains
Can’t live without your lunchtime sandwich? Love your morning toast? Skip the white bread and try different varieties of whole grains. The darker, heavier breads will keep you full without added sugars and empty calories. Feeling adventurous? Try baking your own whole grain breads at home.
Shop the edges of the store
When shopping at the grocery store, fill your cart with more from the edges of the store and less from the center aisles. The edges are where the healthiest foods – fruits, vegetables, dairy – are stored whereas the center aisles contain a high percentage of highly processed and packaged foods.
Snack with caution
Think twice before you head to the vending machine to grab yourself an afternoon snack. Chances are, all of your choices will be laden with high amounts of salt, fat and sugar. When you do want a between-meals treat, go for a piece of fruit, some veggies with hummus, or air-popped popcorn. You’ll save your health and your wallet!
Take a look at the top three ingredients
Food labels list ingredients by weight so any packaged food item that has sugar listed as a top three ingredient needs to be approached with caution and moderation. Sweet treats can certainly be delicious when enjoyed on occasion – not as part of your daily diet.
Eat a plant-based diet
Grandma used to say, “Eat your vegetables!” and it’s for a good reason that has stood the test of time. The benefits of a plant-based diet include better weight control, lowered cholesterol and blood pressure levels and a decreased risk of heart disease.
When we follow Michael Pollan’s diet advice to “eat food” we begin to place an emphasis on eating real food — whole grains, sustainably raised fish and meat, and fruits and vegetables. And if you, or someone in your family, isn’t quite convinced that veggies can be flavorful and delicious, we’re certain that just one serving of any of our flash-frozen vegetable medleys will have them thinking differently (and maybe even asking for seconds!)