What Michael Pollan might should do is take the bull by the horns and picket outside fast-food restaurants, targeting first those that still use trans fats for french fries.
Pollan summarizes simple food rules in a new, economical book, called Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, reviewed here by NY Times’ health writer, Jane Brody. He’s getting good press, but he could get a lot more.
Back to picketing. If Pollan stays on public sidewalks and out of harm’s way, he’d likely not get arrested (but I’m not a lawyer). If he would like to get arrested, helping spur books sales still further, he could carry the picketing onto the fast-food property. Add in some further uncivil disobedience like chucking some tomatoes at the windows, and … you get the idea.
Not only would this approach make him more famous, and more effective in getting his messages across than ever, but he’d have the basis for his next series of books on the theme: from armchair food quarterback to activist.
As a journalist, Pollan does a good job as an armchair nutritionist, as does Brody here with her review of the new book. The number one rule that Brody like is Pollan’s admonition to use the absence of hunger pangs (or thereabouts) as the cue to stop eating, rather than the sense of feeling full.
The rules are well known, and well-summarized in this book. Stop with the sugar, eat fruits and vegetables, less meat, no or few snacks. Indulging once in a while at special occasions is fine. The evidence is clear in terms of diseases promoted by not following these rules.
These messages are less well known by those who need them most, such as those for whom obesity is already a problem.
I sure do hope Pollan will up the ante and turn to being more of an activist. He’ll get no dearth of support from the Berkeley community where he resides, including help with figuring out best approaches, such as filming his civil diss-obedience for YouTube.