What are the Michael Pollan Food Rules?Michael Pollan Food Rules

Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food. This is a food rule to live by according to Michael Pollan, food journalist, professor, activist and author of numerous New York Times bestsellers, including In Defense of Food and The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

Other note-worthy rules among Michael Pollan’s 64 Food Rules are:

  • #8 Avoid food products that make health claims
  • #11 Avoid foods you see advertised on television
  • #18 Don’t ingest foods made in places where everyone is required to wear a surgical cap
  • #22 Eat mostly plants, especially leaves
  • #63 Cook

Some of these are more obvious than others.

But, wait…Cook?

Is cooking really considered a groundbreaking health-related, food rule? Sadly, yes. In fact, it’s more of a reminder and an important one at that…

As stated in Michael Pollan’s latest book, Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, “The amount of time spent preparing meals in American households has fallen by half since the mid-sixties, when I was watching my mom fix dinner, to a scant twenty-seven minutes a day. (Americans spend less time cooking than people in any other nation, but the general downward trend is global.)”

Michael Pollan also points out the ironic obsession with watching cooking on TV, reading about cooking and going to restaurants designed to watch live cooking, yet less people are actually cooking for themselves. Beyond that, we are living in a highly processed and ready-made, pseudo food world, completely void of essential nutrients.

But, one doesn’t have to be Julia Child to enjoy a home-cooked meal. In fact, healthy, delicious meals can be fairly simple and cooked in no time at all. For example, the following can be cooked in less than 30 minutes: steamed spinach with lemon and sautéed olive oil, tomatoes and garlic mixed with a bowl of pasta.

If you or your loved ones are challenged with grocery shopping and/or home-cooking due to a health condition, consider these healthy food delivery services. Other food services include Thrive Market, a healthy organic, non-GMO online market, and Blue Apron, a marketplace that does some of the heavy lifting for you (e.g., delivers ingredients with exact proportions for a meal).

And, if you need a little more cooking inspiration, don’t miss Michael Pollan’s new Netflix 4-part docu-series, Cooked, which “urges a return to the kitchen to reclaim our lost traditions and to forge a deeper, more meaningful connection to the ingredients and cooking techniques that we use to nourish ourselves.”

Michael Pollan eloquently shares his matter-of-fact thoughts on the food industry, and at times, they are hard to swallow. But, he continually opens our eyes (and mouths!), inspires us and reminds us to go back to the basics and never underestimate the valuable teachings from our ancestors, families and friends: grow and hunt food, appreciate and savor food, be grateful for food and simply cook “real” food.

Natalie Drugan is a nutrition and lifestyle health coach. Natalie is dedicated to helping others make healthy choices centered on clean food, toxic-free environments and happy living. Natalie received her nutrition health coaching certification from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in NYC, the world’s largest nutrition school. As a Certified Nutrition Health Coach, she studied over 100 dietary theories and learned from world-renowned experts and doctors including Andrew Weil, MD, Walter Willet, MD, Mark Hyman, MD and Deepak Chopra, MD. Natalie is board certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP). Additionally, Natalie received her BBA in Marketing from Texas A&M University.


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Our expert Senior Living Advisors are here to help.

Learn about your care options, local communities, pricing and more, with our free services. Complete the form below to receive a call.

First & Last Name

Email Address

Phone Number

By clicking Submit, you agree to our Terms of Use. You also consent to receive calls and texts, which may be autodialed, from us and our customer communities. Your consent is not a condition to using our service. Please visit our Privacy Policy for information about our privacy practices.