08 May 2010

Food Rules - Book Review



I was admittedly somewhat skeptical when Michael Pollan’s Food Rules was released.  It seemed to be trendy, cliché, and just another manner of jumping on the local/organic bandwagon.  I say this being a complete fan of all of Pollan’s other works, but my impression from the publicity was that he had gone the way of many celebrities and was simply pushing a commercial product.  I was wrong.

I ran across a copy of Food Rules on a free bookshelf in Kuwait and picked it up out of a sense of curiosity.  It’s remarkably short (both in overall length and the amount of text), but it packs in a lot of information in terms of wading through what we should and shouldn’t consume.  Oddly enough he dispels volumes of ambiguity regarding diet choices without really saying anything definitive.  As he does in In Defense of Food, Pollan simply provides a loose set of guidelines regarding the food we eat.

I found the book at a great time as I have an opportunity to transform my diet for the better (I must say the desert is not the place to do this as the fluctuations in energy levels during the transition are a bit rough).  Pollan offers sage advice and doesn’t trap the reader into a set of overbearing dietary restrictions that take the fun away from food.  In fact, Food Rules does a lot to turn eating more into an adventure where the reader can become excited about the food they put on the table as well as the people they are eating it with.

In terms of writing style, Food Rules is an easy read.  It’s easy to read in a single sitting and it’s interesting enough to whip through.  The illustrations are well done and add a certain vividness to the text.  I recommend that you read it before your next trip to the grocery store as it allows you to feel empowered and informed about your food choices (as opposed to the overwhelming sense of confusion and frustration that usually goes along with the journey).

Cross Posted on LocalPlan.org

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