Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.

Michael Pollen is a journalist and author of many food related books. Probably most known for “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” and “In Defense of Food”, Mr. Pollen takes a hard look at food and diet, especially in the American culture. He really has summed it up so simply. His seven words have served as a mantra that I have learned to follow and use in my practice to help people with practical advice for improving health.

Eat food—in other words, eat whole foods, in original form as often as possible. Things that are manufactured and processed are fragments of the original food and not always a good choice. If it came from a plant, eat it, if it was made in a plant, don’t.

Not too much—we have a skewed idea of portion size in our country. What we think is a normal portion is often more than we need to consume for a healthy life. Using smaller plates, insisting on one serving only, having “sometimes only” foods can help keep us on track.

Mostly plants—we do not need to be vegan or vegetarian to be healthy, but we do often eat too much meat or protein in this country. Thinking of protein as a side dish rather than the main dish will help with that. Eating smaller amounts of the proteins we love allows us to keep eating them, but in healthier proportions.

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