Food Wisdom

If Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto can be considered as the "bible" for advocates of the Traditional Diet, his latest book (published in 2009) Food Rules: An Eater's Manual can be considered as the "Ten Commandments" of healthy eating. Sixty Four Commandments, actually.

Nothing is really new in this book as the author himself lifted some of the 64 adages of eating from ancestral and cross cultural beliefs (from France, Italy, Japan, China, and Greece) of an ideal diet for omnivores and vegetarians.  Some of these adages were later found out to be true and effective by scientists and nutritionists. This is something Pollan clearly realized at the time performing his research work for this book: "I learned that in fact science knows a lot less about nutrition than you would expect---that in fact nutrition science is, to put it charitably, a very young science." Pollan wanted to emphasize that the current global knowledge in nutrition is best represented not by scientists and nutritionists but by our elders-- the group of people who knows the secret of the organic food. Ask your grandmother or great grandmother about the ideal food and they can definitely share an essential fact or two.

The journalist reiterates from his earlier book the three basic answers to the three ultimate food questions: What should I eat? Eat Food. What kind of food should I eat? Mostly plants. How should I eat? Not too much. It wont hurt to follow the sixty four rules even if you have your own set of Food Rules. And if you're still thriving on a Western Diet--a diet consisting of lots of processed foods and meat, lots of added fat and sugar, lots of refined grains, lots of everything except vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, it's time for you to try traditional diet, reconsider the sixty four rules, cook your own food, and throw the "fast food" away. If somebody tells you to eat whatever you want and die like a man, let him be. He's probably just trying to be funny, or just a plain coward. Because it takes a lot of courage and discipline to be healthy and to live longer and the choice is yours to make.

The following are my favorites of the sixty four:

RULE 13: Eat only foods that will eventually rot.
In short, eat organic not synthetic foods. I remember eating an instant pancit canton years ago and then tried to feed some to the household ants and to my surprise, the ants wont eat it. They just left it untouched the whole day. Black ants eat everything as long as it's edible, and they pester your kitchen for a small drop of soy sauce, sugar, or used cooking oil. If ants wont eat your food, why eat it?

RULE 47: Eat when you are hungry, not when you are bored.
This is self-explanatory. Food is not the right cure for boredom but a good laugh with a friend, an exercise, or a meditative walk in the park.

RULE 54: Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper.
I also learned this from my parents, and I still love to follow this rule.

Rating: 3.5 servings of steaming brown rice, fried anchovies, and sliced tomatoes.
Genre: Nutrition, Healthy & Sustainable Diet, Food


  1. I seriously like the experiment with the pancit canton. ^_^ Well . . . Okay, I'll consider Rule #54 - I'm a pauper during lunchtime.

  2. yeah you can try that experiment and let me know if your household insects eat synthetic food. =P


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