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Food Rules, Rule Number One

February 15, 2010

photo by Zsuzsanna Kilian

Then God said, “Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

-Genesis 1: 11-13, NRSV

I like food.

Real food, when possible. Which is relatively expensive and takes time to prepare. But that’s life. Or at least it was, until we learned how to produce food very quickly in factories. The price dropped, pretty much right along with the value.

In Food Rules, Michael Pollan spends time talking about what we should eat and how we should eat it, in his opinion. You may disagree with him. You may want to see his footnotes. But I will tell you this: when I eat the things Pollan recommends, I just feel better. I sleep better. I get fuller by eating less.

Not surprisingly, one of Pollan’s easiest take-away quotes runs thus: “Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much.”

You may have noted this before, but in the first creation story, God actually makes the plants before the stars, the sky, the sun and moon, and before the creatures arrive on Day Four. On one hand, I suppose it makes sense that much of the food for the creatures would be on hand for when they arrived. But the plants are so important, they even get working before the sun does. I’m not surprised eating plants makes us feel so good.

As you start reading this book, take and inventory of what you eat in a typical day. To get started in living this way, try just adding another fruit or vegetable somewhere in there. Slice tomatoes up for breakfast with eggs. Have a salad every day. Buy celery to cut up and keep on hand as a healthy snack. Initially, don’t replace. Just add. Plants pay you back in full flavor and interesting textures. Enjoy it all, the bounty that God started on Day Two.


God, thank you for the plants and their seeds, for the amazing way they nourish us, even raw in their natural state. They are better than anything we could make on our own.



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