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Published on January 4th, 2011 | by Rachel Shulman


The Michael Pollan Diet for the New Year: Eat More Plants

At this time every year, people vow to lose x number of pounds by swimsuit season. But losing weight doesn’t have to be about going on a starvation diet, eliminating entire food groups, or depriving yourself of the foods you love.

Instead of going down that same path again this year, why not try something different?  We’ll call it the Michael-Pollan-diet. In his book In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, Michael Pollan gives a three-part solution for navigating our nation’s broken food system: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

Let’s start with the last one. If you want to lose weight, get healthy, and reduce the environmental impact of your food choices, start eating more plants this year (that’s right, a diet where you get to eat more of something instead of less).

Many people think that they don’t like vegetables because they’ve only eaten the pallid produce masquerading as vegetables that you find at most grocery stores.

In order to eat more plants, you have to find produce that tastes good. Seek out local produce and you’ll realize just how delicious good produce can be. Make this the year that you join a CSA, start shopping regularly at your local farmers market, or try growing your own food.

Once you find a good source of vegetables, start making them the centerpiece of your meals instead of the side dish, at least a few times a week. Pick up a good vegetarian cookbook to learn how.

Eating more plants is one of the healthiest resolutions you can make. This simple lifestyle change can help you lose weight, gain energy, and boost your immune system. And, for most people, it’s a much less maddening goal than cutting carbs from your diet, swearing off meat, not eating after 5 pm, or saying no to dessert.

Check back tomorrow for part 2 of the Michael Pollan Diet: Eat Real Food.

Image courtesy of jypsygen via a Creative Commons license.

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About the Author

I'm an ecologist turned journalist turned farmer-in-training. I'm currently working on an organic farm and creamery in Illinois. Follow me on twitter (, friend me on Facebook (!/profile.php?id=3105709), or follow me on StumbleUpon (

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