Michael Pollan Tells You What to Eat in This New Documentary
It has become a famous dictate: Eat real food, not too much of it, and more plants than meat.
Written by Michael Pollan in his 2008 book Food Rules, the dietary shorthand has helped many people to reorient the way they shop, how they cook, what they eat, and the lives they live. Now, Pollan’s slim volume that explores what to eat is coming to the big and small screen, thanks to a documentary adaptation. The two-hour film, which will air on PBS, is having its world premiere on Saturday at the Mill Valley Film Festival in Northern California.
In a trailer for the documentary, Pollan explains the genesis for Food Rules. After writing about the food world in any number of ways for decades, “what I kept hearing was, yeah, yeah, you told me where the food comes from and how the animals are raised and everything. But what I really want to know is, what do I eat?”
Unlike many complicated questions, the answer is rather simple when it comes to food, according to Pollan. While the book version of Food Rules is broken into 64 rules, the overarching message—eat real food, etc.—is straightforward. But the cost of not heeding it, or generally improving dietary health, is high. “Four of the top 10 things that will kill you are chronic diseases that are related to diet,” Pollan says.
In the years since the book came out, attitudes toward health, diet, and nutrition have changed markedly. Fats are seen in a new light, soda is on the decline, and more Americans have a changing relationship with meat—choosing to eat less of it, and worrying about the animals’ welfare, and how they are raised. We may even get federal nutritional guidelines that factor sustainability into our definition of a healthy diet.
Even if that doesn’t come to pass, Pollan’s food rules will suffice for many.