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Food Rules: An Eater's Manual

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  39,990 ratings  ·  3,635 reviews

Eating doesn't have to be so complicated. In this age of ever-more elaborate diets and conflicting health advice, Food Rules brings a welcome simplicity to our daily decisions about food. Written with the clarity, concision and wit that has become bestselling author Michael Pollan's trademark, this indispensable handbook lays out a set
Paperback, 152 pages
Published December 29th 2009 by Penguin Books (first published December 29th 2008)
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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 ·  39,990 ratings  ·  3,635 reviews

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Mar 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
A tiny book—I read it in the span of the bus ride downtown to my mother’s house. I wouldn’t pay the $11.00 price for this book, but it was fun to get from the library and read.

Some of my favorite rules:
Avoid foods you see advertised on television
Eat only foods that have been cooked by humans
It’s not food if it arrived through the window of your car
It’s not food if it’s called the same thing in every language. (Think Big Mac, Cheetos or Pringles.)
Eat animals that have themselves eaten well.
The wh
Feb 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
More an article than a review, but thanks for reading it.

APERITIF to the book

Did you know about the neurons in your stomach? Have you gotten over your incommoded phobia with death: defying, defeating and fighting it, then get back to learning and observe the reason why your brain is actually in your stomach.

Get reacquainted with oxidation in the greater scheme of things. What is born must die. So determine the rules of creation. Constant renewal to sustain balance in nature, cannot be sidestepp
Paquita Maria Sanchez
Watch out, folks, this is a variation on the drunken book review called the "my doctor prescribed me syzzurp" review. The M.D.P.M.S. review. An appropriate acronym on so many levels!

So, I have been sick for a month. No exaggeration; a month. I thought I could tough it out like a champ and avoid the combined cost of a doctor's visit, medication, and missing work. That is, until I woke up at 8 this morning with...okay, do you remember that scene in Freddy's Dead: The (totally not final) Final Nig
Feb 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
I read this super short book at lunch, upon the recommendation of a gorgeous 72 year old woman who claimed to be married to "the hottest 80 year old you've ever seen." Granted, I read it while eating ramen, but I <3 Michael Pollan and the IDEA of eating well. ...more
Lynne King
Jul 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
I have had “The Protein Power Lifeplan” on one of my kitchen shelves for over ten years now and I read it regularly as it gives sound advice on how to eat healthily.

However, when I saw “Food Rules – An Eater’s Manual” and read the review, I knew that I had to have this and purchased it on a whim yesterday. I then decided to briefly look at it on my Kindle with a view to reading it at a future date. Did that happen? No, of course it didn’t. The fates had something else in store for me. I started
David Schaafsma
Jan 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So I get the feeling everyone in the world that still reads newspapers in some form knows Michael Pollan's work in some form. He's a journalist who started to make food his thing, wrote the heady Omnivore's Dilemma (that I got for last birthday but since I had not read it and the wife had, she gave it to the used book store and that was okay then, but now I wish I had it to begin reading) and plenty of articles and versions of this book, the first of which came out in maybe 2009?

Anyway, I was a
Jeanette (Again)
My rating is based on a combination of a)the book's content; and b)the book's usefulness to me. The usefulness is what brings it to a higher rating.

I've been studying health and nutrition on my own for many years now, so the content was not new to me. I bought the book to have on hand for motivation and reminders of what I already know. The way the information and "rules" are presented makes it perfect for keeping me on the healthy path. I read the entire book in a little over an hour and marke
Charlie Miller
Jun 30, 2020 rated it liked it
Essentially just 64 different ways of saying don't eat processed food. I hope it finds the right people. Mercifully short to be fair
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a delightful read! The art was absolutely charming and was completely in keeping with the light, upbeat, positive approach that the author followed. Some of the rules were fairly obvious, but who doesn't need a little reminder now and then! Other rules were more introspective such as #65 Give Some Thought to Where Your Food Comes From. The corollary of this notion is to be grateful for your food. The author notes a Zen blessing: "This meal is the labor of countless beings. Let us remember t ...more
Mar 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book was a super quick read with 64 "food rules" which each had a paragraph or two explaining them in more detail. It has some great reminders and a few new ideas. Some of my favorites are:

Avoid food products that make health claims (you shouldn't have to advertise how healthly something is), Eat only food that will eventually rot, Treat meat as a flavoring, Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself (fries, ice cream, pies are all harder to make and highly processed, yo
Jun 02, 2010 rated it liked it
This book is an "abridged" version of Pollan's book "In Defense of Food" and gives excellent advice about what to eat and not to eat as far as being natural and healthy. He's not an extremist; but, what he says makes good sense. He advises that if it comes through a car window, it's not food. If your food is made in a plant rather than coming from a plant, you shouldn't eat it. He mentions "edible food-like substances" which is very reminisent of another book I've read in the last couple of year ...more
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Read years ago.
Short and to the point.
Rachel (Kalanadi)
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
A really quick reread... certainly I need to be reminded of the rules in part 3 because I think the hardest thing is moderation when it comes to food!
Feb 04, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-cooking
Don't buy this book at full price for yourself.

Do borrow it from the library (as I did), pick it up at a used book store or giveaway, buy it as a gift for a friend who doesn't read much (alas, we all know such people), or even sit in the library or stand in the aisle of a bookstore and read this book in its entirety. It took me two sittings to finish this book, but it is easily finished in one sitting. It's a fluffy book of Michael Pollan lite, a bunch of short, bite-sized chunks, lots of white
Moira Russell
Apr 29, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-the-kindle, ebook
I read this (before reading all the reviews here which outlined how short it is, how recycled the material was, &c &c) and was so dissatisfied I returned the Kindle book to Amazon for a refund. Shame on you, Pollan. Shame on you, publishing industry for publishing such a tiny (and expensive) "book." It was like a cross between calendar notes and a blog post. Recommended to no one. ...more
Mar 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
A deceptively simple book of "food rules" which are both thought provoking and amusing-don't eat food y our grandmother wouldn't recognize, don't buy food advertised on TV, don't buy food that has to advertise that it's healthy. Not militant, the suggestion is to try making changes in each section. The illustrations by Maira Kalman surely enhance the book. Delightful
Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Food Rules is a quick and useful read from Michael Pollan, a food writer, whose other books I've enjoyed. Food Rules did not disappoint. This is not a compendium of the research on nutrition and diet, but a series of 64 heuristics to guide healthy eating, which together can be summarized as Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. (He actually discusses these in a slightly different order.)

Pollan says that much of what we eat doesn't "deserve to be called food—I call them edible foodlike substance
May 04, 2010 rated it it was ok
This morning, instead of chowing down on a big bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch or Frosted Flakes like I normally do, I reached into the way back of my refrigerator and found a container of greek yogurt. I chased it down with a banana and felt very virtuous. This morning, before hauling myself out of bed, I read Michael Pollan's short, sweet Food Rules, which is basically a distillation of his two other food-related books, The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food (in fact, I think pretty much ...more
Nov 08, 2019 rated it liked it
I enjoyed reading the algorithms to remember while selecting what to eat.
Kristina Horner
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved these sticky tips that are now floating around in my mind! Definitely recommend this quick read to anyone who needs a reality check on the foods we are putting in our body. This has been the easiest no-nonsense approach to understanding nutrition I’ve experienced yet.
Apr 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The huge number of books and articles written on nutrition, diets and health would suggest achieving a healthy lifestyle is difficult and complex. It’s not. Indeed Michael Pollan has simplified it into seven words…

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

What could be simpler?

You still want more information and insight? Then get Food Rules: An Eater's Manual, a book which can be read in under an hour and expands upon the wisdom of the three simple statements above through 64 rules sorted into t
Steven Peterson
Jan 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
Clever little book. . . . Michael Pollan has written a book of rules about eating, with brief text elaborating the statements. On first glance, it looks like a slight volume with little substance to it. However, it turns out to be a pretty interesting book.

In his introductory comments, the author notes a few undeniable truths--Western diets (e.g., processed foods and meats, lots of fat and sugar, etc.) lead to lots of health problems; traditional diets tend to be healthier than the so-called Wes
Rebecca Schweitzer
Mar 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People who eat
Shelves: 2011
A very concise little book about what's become of our food and what we really should eat.

The book can be boiled down to seven words and three sections: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

Each brief chapter is a food rule with a short explanation. Rules are mostly common sense, but they are a good reminder to pay attention to the food we eat and what's been done to it.

Some example rules:

Eat Food.
"Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food."
"Avoid foods you see ad
Lori Walker
May 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2014
As an attempt to lose weight through a rather intensive workout regimen and counting calories has not gone as well as hoped, I decided it was time to start looking more at what I am eating, as opposed to monitoring how much. A couple I know recently lost a lot of weight (him 80+ lbs., her 25+) by eating clean. They cut out processed foods and meat. Because of their great success, I just had to ask questions. The number one question for me was whether they had to count their calories while eating ...more
Aug 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'll read anything by Michael Pollan. I've never been disappointed by him. This small book is an eater's manual - not a diet book. It gives suggestions on how to break away from a typical Western diet of processed foods. Rule #20 is "It's not food if it arrived through the window of your car." I finished this book this morning before grocery shopping and as a result my refrigerator and cupboards are now full of healthy things. Here's a funny one #36 "Don't eat breakfast cereals that change the c ...more
Jun 29, 2018 rated it liked it
The entire book in 7 words: 'Eat food. Mostly plants. Not so much.' which is so simply laid down in some 64 rules like 'Don't eat anything your grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.'
Short. Simple. Humorous.
However, this is not much useful for someone with a typical Indian diet which generally doesn't include a lot of unhealthy edible food like substances which mostly makes up for an American meal. Still worth a read.
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
Nov 19, 2014 marked it as goldfinch-in-juice

Save yourself some time and go to the source ::

The Anatomy of Melancholy

or, for you fast-paced cyber=junkies, an html all your own!
Nov 25, 2019 rated it did not like it
Eat less. Eat healthy. That's basically what Pollan says. Only she uses 152 pages to say it. She could have gotten her points across in a single page, but she provided unnecessary details and constantly restated her points. Beyond redundant, this book is trivial. Pollan wants to convince readers to eat healthy, an honorable goal. However, she provides no science or credibility to her claims, which are based solely on her personal experiences.
From an ecological standpoint, Pollan provides an ima
Jun 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2020
Pollan delivers the wisdom of generations of people who eat in pithy, accessible style. Rather than diets or fads, common sense and our grandmother’s wisdom should guide our eating habits.

If you’re buying, make sure you get the edition with Maira Kalman’s delightful illustrations.
Nov 09, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction, 2011
Some truly great advice here, if you didn't already know it. But there were two things I wasn't completely in love with:

1. Is this supposed to be “In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan For Dummies”? Was there a pitch meeting at Penguin books that went, “Okay, what if we just released a separate book that was really a second edition that consisted of all the wisdom of IDOF, but in, like, bullet points? I bet we could sell a ton of them!”? I mean, why go to the trouble of actually reading a book an
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Michael Pollan is an American author, journalist, activist, and professor of journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is also the director of the Knight Program in Science and Environmental Journalism.

Excerpted from Wikipedia.

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