For me, eating healthy needs to be simple. And I mean super simple! One of the simplest things in the world has become the most complicated.
I starting dieting at age 9. with restriction diets. Next was the cabbage food diet, then the cereal diet, atkins…you name it, I did it. When I went off my anti-depressants years ago, I knew that eating healthy was a crucial component but I had no idea where to start. Internet searches and advice from the “experts” made it even more confusing. Until I found one book that made it so simple for me! It was Michael Pollan’s book “Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual”. Pollan gives you 64 rules to help you ditch the processed and food-like substances and replace with real food! This book doesn’t have a lot of words and has colorful, fun pictures – right up my ally!
Here are 10 of Michael Pollan’s food rules that changed our food way of life in our house:
1. Shop the perimeter of the store as much as possible
You will find real food on the outside of the store. This also makes shopping way easier!
2. Don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.
If you pick up something and it has a ton of ingredients in it and you can’t pronounce them, Pollan says to ask yourself, “What are those things doing there?” This has really helped me. So try to not eat anything with more than 5 ingredients and make sure you can pronounce them all!
3. Eat food that will rot. Mostly plants!
Yep, real food rots and dies. So plan your shopping so you aren’t wasting produce. We shop mostly on Sundays and Wednesdays.
4. Eat color
Fill your plate with foods with color. All those colors are rich in antioxidants and are meant to nourish and heal you!
5. If the cereal changes the milk’s color don’t buy it
This was an easy rule to implement with my kids. When they pick out a cereal they use this rule. No more sugar cereal in our house!
6. Don’t buy food where you buy gasoline
7. Shop the farmer’s market
You will be buying food that is in season and supporting local businesses!
8. Spend more, eat less
This was a hard one for me to swallow at first but it definitely has proven to be the case. Higher quality food has more nutritious value, which means you need less to feel satisfied.
9. Snack on fruits, vegetables, and nuts
We cut up our produce right when we get home from the store so it is easy to grab on the go. We make snack bags for the kids, have a jar of nuts on the counter, and have switched our kids from fruit snacks and roll-ups to dried fruit.
10. Avoid foods with sugar in top 3 ingredients – and watch out for hidden ones! Here is a list of some:
corn syrup solids
fruit juice concentrate
high-fructose corn syrup