Spiritual Rules—A Riff

Check out this book by Michael Pollan, Food Rules. He had previously written several books researching nutrition including the large study, Omnivore’s Dilemma. In his latest book, he basically summarizes the findings of his 1,000-page work into 64 “rules” or practices.

First, he summarizes in 7 words–Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

Then he points to two basic facts he had discovered with a corollary third fact:

FACT 1. Populations that eat a so-called Western diet—generally defined as a diet consisting of lots of processed foods and meat, lots of added fat and sugar, lots of refined grains, lots of everything except vegetables, fruits, and whole grains—invariably suffer from high rates of the so-called Western diseases: obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

FACT 2. Populations eating a remarkably wide range of traditional diets generally don’t suffer from these chronic diseases.

There is actually a third, very hopeful fact that flows from these two: People who get off the Western diet see dramatic improvements in their health.

Previously, I had read a study by philosophy professor John M. Cooper called Pursuits of Wisdom. I imagine that there was a lot of wisdom discussed in this book about how six ancient philosophic traditions focused on how to live (Socrates, Stoics, Epicureans, Platonists among them). The book was almost impossible to read. It was the most poorly written book I’ve waded through since I left academia.

What a contrast.

But I thought, how could I summarize something about spiritual development so clearly like Pollan in place of all the theology I’ve waded through that reads like Cooper’s.

I’m just playing with the thought now. Ideas?


Pray. Meditate. Serve others. Teach.

And a corollary–don’t overthink.

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