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review 2017-10-02 16:17
Food Rules
Food Rules: An Eater's Manual - Michael Pollan
This was a short novel but I enjoyed all the little bits of information that was inside. The book’s sole purpose is to give you some guidelines for eating.
he links between diet and health according to this novel is that individuals who eat a Western diet (lots of processed food, food with added sugar and fat, and lots of refined grains) will suffer from Western diseases such as obesity, Type 2 diabetes, cancer and cardio diseases. That totally makes sense to me but I didn’t know it was known as a Western diet. The second link is that if you eat a traditional diet (a lot of different varieties here) you will not suffer from these diseases. Which basically means, no one diet is perfect but as humans we have adapted to different diets to make them work for us. The Western diet, as it stands now, is the diet which makes everyone ill. Inside this novel, there are 64 rules to live by to eat a healthy diet. These rules are explained further with a brief explanation, if needed.
Some of these rules I had heard about before but about half of them were new to me. There are three parts to the novel: What to eat? What kinds of food should I eat? And How should I eat? Each of these parts have different rules to follow.
I liked that these rules are, for the most part, something I could memorize on my own and therefore, I could recall when need be. There is the rule about not eating food that you cannot say, rule about eating a variety of colors, and a rule about eating at a table, these are a few of the rules I already knew.
Here are a few of the rules that I really enjoyed:
Avoid food products containing ingredients that no ordinary human would keep in the pantry. So, cellulose, thiamine mononitrate is not something I would have on hand, therefore this product should not be in my house.
Avoid food products that contain more than 5 ingredients. Wow, that would eliminate a lot of the processed foods I have on hand.
Avoid food products that contain ingredients that a third-grader cannot pronounce. Again cellulose, thiamine mononitrate are out and I need to start thinking simple.
Cook food that has only been cooked by humans. Again, lots of preservatives, added sugar, and other interesting items are added which we don’t need.
Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself. This one is a killer. I have literally cut down on the number of French fries I eat as I think this rule says it all. I’m not physically making French fries out of potatoes every time I want them, it’s too time consuming and too much work. The novel says there is nothing wrong with sweets, soda and other sweet snacks as long as you prepare them yourself. If I had to prepare potato chips, snack crackers, or cookies as much as I consume them, my consumption would really go down.
Spend as much time enjoying your meal as it took to prepare it. Amen!
I think this book has a lot to offer, things you might know and things that you should know. I like the short and sweet aspect of the novel, it’s not a wordy or a complex read, the author gives his readers just the facts in an easy way to think about them and how to apply them to their own lives. I’m ready to jump on board and I know it will take some time, strength and willpower to incorporate these rules but I know the benefits will be worth it.


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review 2017-09-21 17:07
Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal - Mary Roach

Several years ago, I listened to the audiobook version of Gulp.  My reaction at the time was “Fascinating, with just the right amount of yuck factor.” 


I re-read Gulp during the early part of September since it was picked as the first Flat Book Society read.  The chatty, anecdotal style that worked so well for the first listen, didn’t hold up as well to a (print) re-read.  The level of detail for many of the chapters seemed more appropriate for a podcast or a newspaper article than for a book, and perhaps would have been better if encountered in episodic form with a break between sections.


My least favorite parts were the early chapters discussing the history of Fletcherism (obsessive chewing) and the 19th century experiments on Alexis St. Martin (he of the fistulated stomach), both stories I’d previously encountered.  The book picked up a bit once Ms. Roach started talking about the Oral Processing Lab at Wageningen University in the Netherlands and other recent research into the digestive process.   I particularly liked the chapter debunking the story of Jonah and the "whale." While many find the closing chapter regarding stool transplants repugnant, as someone with a delicate digestion, I found the idea of recolonizing the digestive system fascinating.


If you can appreciate potty humor and are interested in a semi-random series of tidbits loosely connected to digestion, then you might want to pick up Gulp for your next audiobook or bathroom read.   

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