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79-Word Book Review: Food Rules by Michael Pollan

Short version (79 words)

Michael Pollan's latest book, Food Rules, can be read than less than an hour. Its advice, however, must be lived over a lifetime. A handy follow-up (and Cliff's-Notes-like version) to In Defense of Food, this pocket-sized book contains 64 rules about what to eat (and what not to eat). Distilling scientific conclusions down to handy maxims, and justifying timeless folk wisdom with science-like ideals, Food Rules is a must read for anyone looking to eat healthier or live better.

Long version (275 words)

I read the entire thing is less than an hour, which gives the book the feel of one of those blogs that has been turned into a book. Like this one (which, funnily, is diametrically opposed to all of Pollan's ideas). But the book is not gimmicky, like a "How to Lose Weight in Six Minutes a Day" kind of book. His conclusions are sound and the main difficulty to implementing them in our own lives is our own resistance to change our diets.

If you read In Defense of Food, you know that not everything we eat is technically "food" as Pollan defines it. Food Rules has nothing new that you couldn't have gleaned from his previous book, but presents easy reminders that coincide with his main premise of In Defense of Food: Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much.

The big idea isn't ultimately revolutionary, and Pollan doesn't pretend that it is. The Western diet, full of its manufactured products high in sugar, fat, and salt, lead to Western types of diseases. To remedy this, we need to go back to days and cultures when and where humans ate (and eat) diets rich in real, whole foods.

The advice is easy to remember (Rule #19: If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don't.) and Pollan backs up almost every rule with why it's important to implement. So, if your resolution is to eat better as a means of losing or maintaining body weight, I'd suggest you start with Food Rules instead of anything written by anyone having to do anything with "The Biggest Loser."

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