Food Rules (it really does)

I was hoping to embed a Michael Pollan video lecture but for some reason WordPress doesn’t appear to take kindly to’s embed code.

So, just copy and paste the link below into your address bar and go watch it on’s Web site. (I have no clue why WordPress truncates the link in the published post.)

You can click on the “Chapters” below the video and choose which segment you’d like to watch. The entire piece is a little over an hour long.

Here’s the summary from

Michael Pollan, one of the best-known names in food-related issues, offers a guide about health and food. Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual is a set of memorable ideas for eating wisely. Many of them are drawn from a variety of ethnic or cultural traditions. Whether at the supermarket or an all-you-can-eat buffet, this handy, pocket-size resource is for people who would like to become more mindful of what they are eating.

Pollan is the author of In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, The Omnivore’s Dilemma and The Botany of Desire.

I’ve read those books, and I’ll add one more to the list: “Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education.” I offer an excerpt from that:

And yet as resourceful and aggressive as weeds may be, they cannot survive without us any more than a garden plant can. Without man to create crop land and lawns and vacant lots, most weeds would soon vanish. Bindweed, which seems so formidable in the field and garden, can grow nowhere else. It lives by the plow as much as we do.

Bindweed binding to zebra grass

I’m worried about how (and what) I’ve been eating. I know it would be a huge undertaking to follow all the rules Pollan has listed in his little manual. But if I chose just a few of those food rules would it be all that difficult? Probably not.

By TC Conner

Pro hobbyist photographer, drone enthusiast, musician, husband and father.

9 replies on “Food Rules (it really does)”


Given your interest in the development of organic farming and local produce, I thought you might be interested in an article in the March issue of The Atlantic by Corby Kummer on Wal-Mart move into the organic and locavore produce markets. The article is entitled “The Great Grocery Smackdown: Will Walmart, not Whole Foods, save the small farm and make America healthy?” Kummer isn’t offering any definitive answers but here’s the URL for a video of him touring Walmart’s organic food aisle:

Thanks for the info Dr. Cosgrove. I’ll definitely take a look at that article. My wife and I attended Michael Pollan’s discussion “The Sun Food Agenda” at Allegheny College recently and it was excellent. His question and answer sessions are always good too because he provides practical and useful information, his answers often turn into mini-discussions that are just as important as the main subject of his lectures.

I agree with your wife. It’s not easy to eat properly on a very tight budget, but it is possible. A lot of people opt out of making healthy choices for the sake of convenience, and therein lies the problem. I do it too, even though I know better, sinner that I am…

I’m commenting for my wife, who for reasons unknown to me has never commented here or at my old Blogger blog. And I quote:

“There’s a difference between knowing that something is common sense and having the common sense to actually do it. It’s all in the choices we make.”

My wife bases her reasoning on personal choice. My response to that is there are millions of disadvantaged among us that must choose the less expensive processed (least healthy) supermarket foods over the more expensive (and healthier) fresh and organic foods. These folks are forced by economics to choose what they can afford.

W2W: I see your point, but I don’t think you can compare a college classroom exercise such as what you experienced to real-life habits that are ingrained in us from our culture and heritage. I agree completely with Pollan’s assessment of the western diet.

I’m going to look at that- trying to eat more wisely and need all the inspiration possible.

In WP- were you using the html editor or the visual one? Switch to html editor to add embed code.

OMG how does one pass on the meatloaf, mac and cheese, pork chops, chicken, etc on them dang buffets? Salad or Mac and Cheese??? No handbook could keep me back….

Whatever happened to common sense? Somehow, Pollan’s message seems a bit religious (“preaching to the choir,” rules that sound like commandments, etc.). One of the best classes I ever had in college was an exercise physiology course, reason being that the professor required us to keep detailed records of everything we consumed, our daily weight, an estimate of how much activity we engaged in on a daily basis, and even what our moods were like. It was time-consuming, yes, but it kept us mindful of how our diets affect every aspect of our lives. The prof didn’t tell us what to eat but asked us to share our results from time to time with each other. It was easy to see that the people who ate sensibly were the ones whose bodies and attitudes responded favorably to that behavior. Maybe it’s easier to get that horse to drink the water you lead it to if the surface is calm and therefore reflective. Don’t worry!

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