Do You Need Food Rules?

Emily Duff

Emily Duff › Emily Duff is a NYC Chef, wife and mum. She has been cooking in NYC since 1988 ...


Are you new to the real food movement and find yourself a bit overwhelmed by the seemingly endless options? Chef and writer Emily Duff came up with an expansive, but easy to follow set of rules that get you headed in the right direction.

A friend of mine who is worried about his health rang me the other day and asked what I thought about the movie Forks over Knives and should he become vegan? I told him that a vegan diet is okay for a week or two detox, but that’s it. I also directed him to Denise Minger’s extensive piece on  Forks, hoping that would satisfy his burning desire to change his diet based on a movie that is ultimately rooted in the flawed research of T. Colin Campbell’s China Study. I also advised him to read Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price which is data that I believe is rooted in fact and can be trusted. He told me that he is desperate to find the right diet to restore his health. Hello… who isn’t? The absolute diet for optimum health does exist. It always has. However, please do not forget that we are all individuals and therefore require different nutrients from real foods to keep us at our vital best. If you are looking to restore what is lacking, I suggest working with a nutritionist who will order all the right tests and blood work with significant markers to let you know exactly where you need support.

Real food does not sit on a shelf without going bad and real food is not what is making our population so sick and sad.

As a chef, cooking instructor, locavore and mother of two young children I am constantly asked “What do you feed your family?” My first response is, “I feed them food.” People look at me as if I have three heads and want to slap me. Okay, so maybe I can be a bit snarky at times, but you have to understand that there are lots of products out there masquerading as food that are very toxic, scary chemicals. And what’s worse, people are buying them. Real food does not come in packages. Real food does not sit on a shelf without going bad and real food is not what is making our population so sick and sad. People want me to tell them what I serve for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. They want me to tell them what they should buy, cook and feed their family. They want me to write them menus and email them recipes, and that is what I do. When it comes to food and “diet,” people who are serious about their health and the health of their families want to be told what to eat. These people want to follow the rules.

Okay, I can dig it. Handing the responsibility of making important choices over to someone else can be quite a liberating experience – especially handing it to someone who will never steer you wrong. Someone who has spent half her life dedicated to sourcing clean ingredients and putting them together in flavorful, nutritious combinations that would make even the pickiest eater happy. Okay, fine. I’m your chef. I’m your teacher. I’m your girl. I’m good to go. But let’s get something absolutely clear. I’m a punk rocker and I’ve never been into rules. However, when it comes to real food, I’m serious. I guess you could say I’m more of a food rules! kind of person. I celebrate the fresh. I cast my vote for the local. I praise the organic. I rejoice in the whole and I always, always put love into everything I make.

So, as a teacher dedicated to giving her students what they want, cool. Food rules, you got it. Let’s go!

Click here to read the rest of the article and get Emily’s food rules over at Family 2 Table!

This article originally appeared on It is partially posted here with permission of the author.

Photo Credit: Emily Duff