By davidspinks


We’re huge fans of anyone who can make cooking feel simple.

Michael Pollan is pretty much the boss when it comes to helping people understand how to eat and live healthy without having to think too hard.

He’s written some of the most famous books about how we eat, cook and create food. His most recent book is called “Cooked" in which he argues,

"Taking back control of cooking may be the single most important step anyone can take to help make the American food system healthier and more sustainable. Reclaiming cooking as an act of enjoyment and self-reliance, learning to perform the magic of these everyday transformations, opens the door to a more nourishing life."

As a huge inspiration for our work here at Feast, we wanted to share some of his wisdom with you.

Here are 7 lessons passed down from the man himself…

1. It’s all about moderation and plants

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” 
― Michael Pollan

Want to start eating healthy but not sure where to begin? Just start moderating how much you eat and try to eat more fruits and vegetables.

Boom, you are instantly more knowledgable about nutrition. Enjoy the rest of your healthy life.

2. Cooking can relieve your stress instead of creating it

“The repetitive phases of cooking leave plenty of mental space for reflection.”

― Michael Pollan

So many people think of cooking as a chore today because we’re so used to outsourcing it to others. When we actually have to do it ourselves, it feels like an inconvenience.

But people who cook regularly don’t feel that way. When you get into the habit of cooking, it becomes a time to relax, clear your mind, find your flow and actually relieves stress.

3. Cooks are mentally strong, independent individuals

"To cook for the pleasure of it, to devote a portion of our leisure to it, is to declare our independence from the corporations seeking to organize our every waking moment into yet another occasion for consumption."

― Michael Pollan

In a world where we can specialize in our “one thing” and outsource everything else, so many of us have forgotten what it feels like to use our hands, to create something, to feed ourselves… to survive.

Cooking is as human as it gets. It shows that we can take care of ourselves and we don’t have to rely on someone else to survive. 

A cook is a survivor and a provider…so pretty much a badass.

4. Cooking connects you with nature

“When you’re cooking with food as alive as this — these gorgeous and semigorgeous fruits and leaves and flesh — you’re in no danger of mistaking it for a commodity, or a fuel, or a collection of chemical nutrients. No, in the eye of the cook or the gardener … this food reveals itself for what it is: no mere thing but a web of relationships among a great many living beings, some of them human, some not, but each of them dependent on each other, and all of them ultimately rooted in soil and nourished by sunlight.” 

― Michael Pollan

If you never cook your food, you’re missing out on a pretty cool experience: seeing ingredients in their raw form.

Think about it. If you always eat out and order in, you barely ever see foods in their natural form! You see it prepared, wrapped, bagged, boxed and processed.

As you start cooking more often, you’ll start to feel more in tune with good ol’ mother nature. You’ll start to understand your food and where it comes from on a deeper level because you’ll see it, smell it and touch it before you even wash it and taste it.

5. Cooking = Loving

“For is there any practice less selfish, any labor less alienated, any time less wasted, than preparing something delicious and nourishing for people you love?” 
― Michael Pollan

Picking up the tab for someone’s dinner is pretty cool. 

But you know what’s much cooler? Feeding the people you love and care about.

Cooking takes time, thought, creativity and consideration. It’s truly a gesture of love and goodwill to feed another human being. 

Not only is the act of cooking for others just romantic and filled with warm fuzzies, but the actual act of eating together makes it that much better.

When you cook for others, YOU bring them together. You become a community builder, a facilitator, a caretaker…you spread that good love around like butter on banana bread.

6. Eat real food

“Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.” 
― Michael Pollan

Another good health tip, stick to the real stuff. If something has been processed so much that you can’t even tell what it is, you should probably pass.

We’re not saying you should only eat things that you’ve made from scratch. It’s just good to be aware of what’s in your food and if it’s been altered so much it doesn’t even look like food, then it’s probably not very healthy.

7. By simply cooking, you can become healthier

"The answer to the whole food and health problem isn’t a nutrient, good or bad, it’s an activity: Cooking."

― Michael Pollan

This is obviously our favorite lesson of all. Who knew that with all the diets, workouts and supplements, all you really needed to do first was to start cooking!

In fact a study from the fine folks at Cambridge found that "Those who cook up to 5 times a week are 47% more likely to still be alive after 10 years."

So step up. Get your apron on. Let’s get cooking.

Not sure where to start? Become a cook in 30 days with the Feast Bootcamp

Photo cred: Peter Yang

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A blog about life improvement, health, habit building and happiness