Michael Pollan at the Yoga Journal Conference

Michael Pollan Photo Credit: Alia Malley

I had the opportunity to attend a talk with Michael Pollan at the Yoga Journal Conference in NYC. I’m a big fan of Pollan. I gave my sisters each a copy of his book Food Rules for Christmas this year. He believes in eating real, whole foods. One of my favorite quotes from him is, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” He says this more or less sums up the increasingly difficult queston of how to shop for food and what to eat. Food Rules has lots of guidelines, or policies according to Pollen, to make navigating the grocery store easier. Some of my favorites are: “Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.” And, “You can eat as much junk food as you like as long as you make it from scratch yourself.” If you haven’t read this book, I urge you to pick it up. It’s a quick read and well worth your time.

More about Pollan’s recent talk after the jump…The Editor-in-Chief of The Yoga Journal interviewed Pollan for this event. Being in a room full of yogis, the subject of vegetarianism came up. Pollan does eat meat, but in moderation and only when it meets his high standards, including not coming from a feed lot. I was a little surprised to learn that beef certified organic doesn’t mean the cows did not live on a feed lot. You have to check for the “grass-fed” label in order to ensure that.

While he does eat meat, Pollan said that reducing your meat intake, specifically beef, is the best thing you can do to reduce your carbon footprint. He said that meat used to be a special occasion food, and now it is a staple. If you’re not familiar with the conditions in a feed lot, or For one of the most compelling reasons to cut down on meat, watch the movie Food, Inc or read Fast Food Nation. It will change the way you view our food system.

So why don’t we see more marketing towards whole, natural foods? Simple, says Pollan, processed foods are more profitable. It’s easier to store, ship and sell non-perishables. The good news is that our food system is becoming a bigger and bigger issue. And while attention in Congress and potential legislation will bring this issue even more to the forefront, we are all able to make small changes on a local level. Buying whole, healthy foods and requesting those items along with meats like grass-fed beef from our grocery stores is definitely a step in the right direction.

Oh, and so you don’t think Michael Pollan wants you to give up all of your guilty pleasures, I’ll leave you with one more of his rules, “everything in moderation, even moderation.”

  • Lora Moncheck

    I love this book! I lost 20 pounds in 3 months by following these rules and doing minimal exercise. I also noticed I had more energy, and I did not feel sluggish anymore!

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