Breaking our Food Rules

Michael Pollan’s Food Rules are a great exploration into the sets of personal codes we set up for ourselves to guide and govern our relationship and behaviours with food.  They represent ethics of our grandparents, hint at cultural values and traditions, and confer plain and simple common sense.  For example:

#19 If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t.

#36 Don’t eat breakfast cereals that change the color of the milk.

#47 Eat when you are hungry, not when you are bored.

#58 Do all your eating at a table.

#21 It’s not food if it’s called by the same name in every language.

#63 Cook

I went camping a few weeks ago, and ended up having a conversation around the campfire about breaking our personal food rules.  For instance, as a person who would never normally eat a marshmallow (for a multitude of reasons), I’m quite content to roast one or two on an open flame and eat them in the woods, making me a camping marshmallow-muncher.  I would also peg myself as a conference coffee-drinker, and have since heard someone else refer to themselves as a movie theatre popcorn-eater.

Funnily enough, Pollan’s very last rule is #64 Break the rules once in a while. Where do you break your food rules?

1 thought on “Breaking our Food Rules

  1. I break my food rules for social and cultural reasons. Being confident and visible about our dietary decisions is a way to spread awareness and, more importantly if done right, inspiration and motivation. And while food issues are tremendously important and dear to my heart, I also feel that the social and cultural experiences of food are equally important and I generally do not decline a generous offer of anything– food, edible food-like substance, or any edible of unknown origin.

    Its perhaps a more unconditional version of why someone might be a “movie theatre popcorn-eater” or why you might eat marshmallows at a campfire as an exception your general food choices. In my case, I believe food holds a very special joy in social experiences and sensory memories. Its wrought with nostalgia, comfort, and camaraderie. Like two strangers gushing over their mutually favorite sports team, enthusiasm over food is one of the most universal joys of the world, and one that can be shared non-verbally and cross-culturally as well.

    So while I get great joy out of mindful eating, I am careful not to let my rules interfere with opportunities to create joyful experiences in other ways.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s