Category Archives: Green Book Review

Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual by Michael Pollan’s

Found this very interesting book on the library shelf last week while browsing titled “Food rules: An Eater’s Manual”. One of the most interesting and simple books on food I have read so far, and I have read quite a few.

I am one of those “fortunate” people  with whom food has always had an extra special relationship, it has been my friend in many a down ward spiral and has pepped me up a gazillion times, and then when am back to normal, I feel like it is my enemy and that I am always fighting a losing battle against it! Well with this ongoing love- hate relationship between us I am kind of drawn to any book, video et al with anything remotely tied to food. Yeah yeah, after trying umpteen diets and fads I know one needs to be aware of what one eats, why one eats, Should eat at regular intervals, eat healthy etc…  if it were only that easy.. There are just so many contradicting pointers out there it is like a maze, figuring out what to eat and what not.

So sack to the topic at hand, the book – So I pick it up, a simple cover with a long table of contents. The Part I title itself triggered my interest – What Should I eat? that is followed by the 2 other sections What kind of food should I eat? and How should I eat it?

The author has pretty much put together simple facts about food and us into a book. I like the introduction where he basically says all we need to do is “Eat food, not too much, Mostly plants“, he calls them the 7 words which form the essence of all that we need to know about food.

Michael Pollan says that it does not require a nutritionist to tell us what we should eat or should not, what we need to do is follow some simple basic principles, which were the ones our ancestors followed.

He has many more rules in the Book, I am picking a few as examples –

  • Don’t eat anything your Great – Grandmother would not recognize as food. (See for me that would mean letting go of most of the junk food that I am used to having)
  • Avoid foods that contain more than 5 ingredients (You can choose the number of ingredients, just stick to it and see what you will buy! More ingredients mostly means more processing involved)
  • Don’t eat breakfast cereals  which change the color of your milk.
  • Avoid foods which contain ingredients which are not used in a normal pantry. (Xanthan Gum, Ethoxylated diglycerides etc… to name a couple) I like this one which is similar better – if a third grader can’t pronounce an ingredient don’t buy it, simple! 🙂
  • You want to eat junk food? Eat all you want as long as you cook it.
  • If it’s called the same name in all languages it is not food (the author means the brand named products like Big Mac,Cheetos, Pringles and their ilk)
  • Eating what stands on one leg is better than eating what stands on two legs which is better than eating what stands on four legs. {Chinese Proverb} (Plants – one leg,fowl -2 legs,  animals- 4) It does leave out the healthy fish wonder why?
  • Avoid foods with high-fructose corn syrup (there are ads on tv which say the body uses sugar and high fructose corn syrup the same way, but that is not the issue, high fructose corn syrup signifies that the product is highly processed)
  • Avoid foods which pretend to be something else (eg. I can’t believe its not butter – means it is not butter and it is not natural)
  • Only eat food that will eventually rot, as real food is alive and it has to die.
  • Eat more leaves and treat meat as a special occasion food or flavoring.
  • The whiter the bread the sooner you will be dead!
  • If it came from a Plant eat it, if it was made in a Plant, Don’t.
  • Breakfast like a King, Lunch like a Prince and Dinner like a Pauper (well it is kind of the other way around for many of us).

Opinion

There is a lot more to read in the book, pick it up it has some common sense suggestions. The book is very well written and simple enough to understand and follow. It is a useful book for anyone who cares about health and food, I am sure you will find helpful tips for a healthier lifestyle for you and your family. Like the author says it is not about “nutritionism” it is simply about Food.

A Video of Prof Michael Pollan talking about – Food Rules. I found it very informative and interesting.

Check it out on Amazon

Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual

Ways To Help Save The Planet Before You Are 12!

I was at the library the other day browsing through the returns section when a title caught my eye “101 ways You can Help Save the Planet Before You’re 12!Loved the premise and checked out the book to read at leisure. The book reminded me of the kids I come across at the zoo who are really knowledgeable about the environment, recycling et al… I am pleasantly surprised when a 6 year old asks for a recycle sign when am doing face painting! and of course it makes me feel hopeful to see them being so aware at such a young age.

At the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium there is an exhibit called “My House at the Habitat Hollow” It is a house which has made use of recycled materials and showcases recycling, and reusing things, alongside recreation of Ohio’s native wildlife environment inclusive of fox holes and other fun stuff kids can climb through. There is a lot of interactive learning stuff inside which kids get to touch and feel, and I believe gets them introduced to the concept of the 3R’s “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”. Looking from the outside one tends to think it looks kind of bare and does not look like there would be animals in there and give it a pass… but once a kid makes a visit inside they invariably come back the next time they are at the zoo.

So I picked up the book with the intention of getting some pointers when volunteering at the zoo. The book compiled by Joanne O’Sullivan covers a broad variety of topics children can pay attention to. The book is simple enough that a tween can read and understand it. It would be a wonderful addition to any child’s library.

What did I like about it?

It is an easy read, simple instructions. Kids have enormous potential to bring about change and they are more receptive to change when they understand the how and why. The book helps kids in getting involved in day to day decisions where there is a green alternative. Websites and other helpful links are provided. DIY projects ranging from gardening to making stuff out of waste. Simple changes which make kids think before consumerism gets to them 100%. Thought provoking. I believe it is a good first step for any child who likes to read.

Some pointers which I found especially interesting:

  • Green Your Games – She suggests that kids pick up Save your planet games instead of repetitive electronic games.
    Examples –
    Planet Green game Free online Game by Global Green USA in Collaboration with Starbucks. Starbucks and Global Green USA collaborated on the Planet Green Game to educate the public about climate change through engaging and informative game play while encouraging individuals to become part of the solution in their own lives.  The game also assists individuals – through simple tools and links – in advocating action by elected officials, business and community leaders. I love the way they display tips when one completes a task. Check it out!

    Simcity Societies Paid Game – Use your Wii to create your ideal world. The game is from Electronic arts in collaboration with Tilted Mills. EA and Tilted Mill are excited to announce the most significant update to SimCity Societies yet, with six scenarios, city-wide policies, budgetary controls, and more. In this update, we introduce powerful new ways of playing SimCity Societies, as well as further refinements to both Creative and Strategic modes of play. This update wouldn’t have been possible without feedback from our users on Tilted Mill’s, EA’s and other gaming forums, and we are grateful for everyone’s input.

    Xeko The Endangered animal trading game – Gaming for Good is a new trend in gaming! Play Exclusive Games. Activate a Portion of Proceeds to a Nonprofit. Save Real Animals, People & the Earth.

    Adventure Ecology is a free online game. A Virtual world where you can take a grueling 100-day expedition traversing one of the earth’s most dangerous and environmentally challenged regions. Mix in 14 million sq kilometers of rapidly melting sea ice, 16 Inuit sled dogs, 4 polar adventurers, 3 hungry polar bears, 2.5 tonnes of expedition gear, 5 pairs of snapped ski’s, 6000 photos, 45 kg of chocolate, 2 world records and 1 important message. Launched in 2006 it is a very informative game. Founded by David de Rothschild, Adventure Ecology is a free, extensive online resource that aims to create and promote a greater connection with the natural world through a series of high profile expeditions.

  • Be A Picker Upper – Find Trash around the school, on the way to school etc… pick it up, drop it in the garbage can and don’t forget to wash your hands. Seeing you do it will make trash droppers realize their foolishness and of course it helps keep the environment clean.
  • Eating Slow Food Instead of Fast Food – Healthier for you and the Planet, creates less waste and uses lesser amount of fuel too…

  • DIY Green thingsMake a Solar Oven from a Pizza Box Make a Snow globe from baby food jar

  • Help the Honeybees Learn about the honeybees here

    Check out the book it has a lot of simple, easy to do projects for kids of all ages, 101 Ways to be precise :). Starting a green informed life early I believe is the best way, Live Green!! Have A Green week ahead 🙂

    101 Ways You Can Help Save the Planet Before You’re 12!