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Michael Pollan’s Intentional Eating MasterClass: Ditch the Diet

Discard the fad diets and discover the secrets to cultivating a healthier and more sustainable approach to eating by joining award-winning food journalist and writer Michael Pollan in his Masterclass.

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Michael Pollan Teaches Intentional Eating MasterClass: Our Verdict (2024)


4.8 / 5

In "Intentional Eating," renowned food journalist Michael Pollan takes you on a journey through the complexities of the food industry and empowers you to make conscious choices about what you eat. Through 13 engaging video lessons, Pollan covers topics ranging from understanding where your food comes from to the importance of communal meals. For anyone interested in redefining their relationship with food, learning from Michael Pollan in the high-quality platform of MasterClass is invaluable. Additionally, the course offers supplementary resources and practical exercises to further enhance the learning experience, making it suitable for anyone with an interest in mindful eating.


  • In-depth exploration of topics
  • Plenty of practical tips and assignments
  • Learning from a renowned food expert
  • Relaxing music and amazing illustrations


  • Region-specific challenges
  • Lengthy duration

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This isn’t about shame. This isn’t about guilt. This is about developing a healthier relationship with food.

Table of Contents

In a world inundated with food choices and dietary trends, understanding how to eat with intention has become more crucial than ever, which is why enrolling in Michael Pollan’s Masterclass on intentional eating was a very exciting opportunity for me.

My relationship with food has always been somewhat complex. Even though I love cooking and sharing food with those around me, I also care deeply about health and sustainability— aspects of cooking that don’t always go hand in hand. While I had heard of Michael Pollan, the famous “food guru” known for his extensive research and books focusing on the many implications of eating and the problems with the food industry, I was curious to learn more about his thoughts on the subject.

This Masterclass offers a comprehensive overview of food and intentional eating, but does it really inspire you to reevaluate your dietary choices? Follow us in this review and discover what eating intentionally truly means as we explore the course content to ponder if “Intentional Eating” is truly worth the investment, especially if you’re seeking a more mindful approach to eating.

Eager to know more? Read on!

What is the Michael Pollan MasterClass?

Intentional Eating” is a Masterclass that explores the concept of mindful eating, led by Michael Pollan, bestselling author and award-winning journalist. Over the course of 13 lessons, you will learn to navigate the modern food system, distinguish between real food and processed products, and cultivate healthier eating habits. Through a combination of video lessons, practical exercises, and insightful discussions, Pollan guides you on a journey toward making more informed and intentional food choices.

Author and journalist Michael Pollan

Who is Michael Pollan?

You’ve probably heard of bestselling author, journalist, and “food guru” Michael Pollan. With a career spanning over three decades, Michael is a leading voice in the field of food and sustainability.

He has written numerous groundbreaking books, including The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food, which explore the intersection of humans and the natural world. His work has earned him widespread acclaim and recognition, positioning him as a trusted authority on topics related to food, agriculture, and health.

What is the target audience of Michael Pollan’s MasterClass?

Intentional Eating” is designed for those who are passionate about nutrition, sustainability, and conscious eating. It is ideal for health-conscious consumers, environmental advocates, and anyone seeking to deepen their understanding of the food they eat.

While no prior knowledge is required to enroll in the course, a curiosity about the food industry and a desire to make more informed dietary choices are recommended. You can also read Michael Pollan’s books to have a deeper understanding of the topics covered in the class.

What does Michael Pollan's MasterClass cover?

Here is a quick overview of what to expect from this MasterClass:

  1. Meet Your Instructor: Bestselling author and award-winning journalist Michael Pollan shares where his fascination with food chains began.
  2. Rethink Your Relationship With Food: Michael describes the Western diet, the American paradox, and the values you can express through what you eat.
  3. Confront Barriers to Intentional Eating: Michael walks you through how systemic injustices invade our food systems and why they need to be addressed through government policies.
  4. Discover Where Your Food Comes From: Learn how to navigate the four food chains-industrial, big organic, regenerative, and first-person—and explore the values each one represents.
  5. Field Trip – City Slicker Farms: Join Michael for a visit to a regenerative farm and listen in as he talks with farmers about their permaculture practices.
  6. Explore the Present and Future of Meat: Michael uncovers the truth of the meat industry, including the disturbing realities for animals and workers.
  7. Follow Food Rules, Not Diets: Michael teaches you why diets don’t work and offers his own simple food rules as a more sustainable option.
  8. Eat Food: Michael explains why you should avoid ultra-processed foods and how to distinguish real food from food-like substances.
  9. Not Too Much: Michael opens your eyes to the psychological tricks corporations employ to get you to eat more and shows you how to avoid their traps.
  10. Eat Mostly Plants: Michael walks you through the many benefits that a primarily plant-based diet has to offer.
  11. Balance Caffeine and Sugar Consumption: Learn how these substances affect your body and mind and manage your consumption to fit your needs.
  12. Stir Up a Passion for Cooking: Michael shows you how to rediscover the joy of preparing your own food.
  13. Celebrate the Communal Meal: Michael shares his view on the power of communal meals and the ways eating can bring people together.

My favorite parts of Michael Pollan’s MasterClass

Address your diet

But food is also central to a lot more than that

This lesson made me rethink my way of viewing food entirely. I hadn’t stopped to think for a moment about the many implications eating has, not only regarding health but also regarding sustainability and even social justice. By knowing more about these implications, I’m now more careful when it comes to what I choose to buy or eat. Whenever I go grocery shopping or cooking, I try to evaluate how my food choices align with the values I care for the most.

We can do more through our eating choices to embody our values than just about anything we do, and you shouldn’t see that as a burden—see it as an opportunity.

Michael suggests you rank the values that are most important to you, whether they are health, sustainability, ethics, enjoyment, connection, comfort, convenience, accessibility, or social justice. Just ask yourself: What matters most to you, and what matters least?

Baby steps are fine

It’s not all or nothing

We often think that we have to “go big or go home,” which is why I loved Michael’s approach to doing what you can as best as you can. This can motivate you to start your mindful eating journey because it means you don’t have to change your eating habits overnight. Instead, focus on gradually applying small changes in your diet to achieve a sustainable way of eating long term.

Doing the right thing most of the time is plenty.

You are not going to eat intentionally every meal or every day, and you shouldn’t. There is going to be that night when you’re going to go out, and you just want a big cheeseburger, and that’s fine! That’s part of food, too. You can have indulgences every now and then, and it’s totally fine.

There is nothing wrong with indulgence

The goal is health

Michael’s approach to ditching diets is honestly so refreshing. We live in a society that is in constant pursuit of finding the next “best diet,” and that sees food as either good or bad, and it shouldn’t be! We are humans and as such we naturally gravitate to foods that please our bud tastes. It’s completely normal. So don’t be afraid of having a treat every now and then, and don’t label food as good or bad!

Don’t cast it in moral terms. Michael thinks we should use the word pleasure rather than indulgence. There’s nothing wrong with pleasure, and taking pleasure in food is one of the greatest things about being alive.

Celebrate the communal meal

It’s not just about us

Something that is often overlooked is the importance of meals. I especially think that communal meals are a fundamental part of what it means to be human. Even if you are in a hurry, try to dedicate time to sharing your meals with someone. We are social creatures, and as such, we greatly benefit from sharing experiences like meals with others.

It’s the most generous, loving thing you can do.

Food is not just stuff; it’s a set of relationships. One of the greatest things about food is that we share it, and Michael suggests embodying that idea by inviting people over, cooking for them, and sharing everything you learned during the class.

Reclaim your humanity

Animals feed

This was a very impactful lesson for me because it made me realize that we shouldn’t overlook or underestimate the importance of food. Eating is one of the most fundamental parts of human existence; a lot of what we do revolves around food. Food nurtures us; it’s how we connect with nature and with culture— it’s a bridge that connects us and helps us bond with those around us.

And if treated as anything less than that is to lose what is really an essential part of what it means to be human.

Hold onto the real meaning of food, the beauty of coming together in meals, and the celebration that food represents. It connects us on one side to the natural world and the species that we are and on the other side to other people.

How much does the MasterClass cost?

MasterClass is a subscription-based learning platform, so it’s not possible to purchase courses individually. If you want to take this MasterClass, you have to become a subscriber.

The standard annual plan has been renamed "Plus" and is available at $120 a year (which makes it $10 per month, billed annually), and now provides access to all MasterClass courses on two devices instead of one. The Premium plan, providing access for up to six devices costs $240 per year.

A MasterClass subscription gives you unlimited access to a catalog of 200+ classes, so if you want to take multiple classes throughout the year, the subscription is definitely worth it, and there are pleny of interesting courses on related topics to explore.

Also, the platform offers a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, so if you’re not happy with your learning experience, you can request a full refund.

Note that the "Standard" membership, priced at $72 per year, only gives you access to their short-form learning content – none of their full MasterClasses are included.

What I liked about Michael Pollan’s MasterClass

  1. In-depth exploration: One of the standout aspects of “Intentional Eating” is its comprehensive approach to the topic. Michael Pollan covers a wide range of subjects, from understanding the origins of our food to practical tips for incorporating healthier eating habits. The course leaves no stone unturned, providing you with a thorough understanding of mindful consumption.
  2. Plenty of practical tips and assignments: I loved the inclusion of multiple tips and practical assignments throughout the course. These assignments help reinforce the concepts covered in the lessons and encourage you to apply them in your everyday routine.
  3. Learning from a renowned food expert: Michael Pollan’s expertise and engaging teaching style make complex topics easy to understand, keeping you hooked throughout the course and motivated to continue learning. His passion for the subject shines through in every lesson, inspiring you to adopt a more intentional approach to eating.
  4. Relaxing music and amazing illustrations: The combination of these helps you focus on Pollan’s teachings and adds a unique touch to the class.
  5. Masterclasses overlap: I particularly enjoyed the intertwining of visuals of related classes on the platform. From gardening, bread baking, and Mexican cuisine, Michael recommends enrolling in as many as you can to complement what you learned.

Drawbacks of Michael Pollan’s MasterClass

  1. Region-specific challenges: Limited emphasis on addressing challenges specific to regions with less access to organic or sustainable food options. I think the course should take that into account when it comes to some of the lessons and assignments.
  2. Lengthy duration: One potential drawback of the masterclass is its lengthy duration, mainly due to the breakdown of the lessons, assignments, and in-depth explanations. Some may find it challenging to commit to completing the entire masterclass because it’s time-consuming, and you have to fully dedicate time to it, so it’s important to take that into account if you have a busy lifestyle.

Review conclusion: Is Michael Pollan’s MasterClass worth it?

Michael Pollan’s MasterClass completely reshaped the way I see food and eating. Yes, it’s about eating intentionally, but it goes way beyond that. I learned so much about different topics, like organic food, planting seeds, and reading labels. It made me realize how fortunate we are to live at a time when we can choose the food we eat; we have so many options available, and I think that’s just wonderful.

Michael also opened my mind to new perspectives on food and all the implications it has on different aspects; whether it’s sustainability, health, or social justice, food embodies many ramifications that I wouldn’t have linked to before. I didn’t know eating encompassed so many diverse things!

I had so many doubts and worries about my eating habits, and this class made the eating process more approachable, relaxing, and well-informed for me. It was a deep journey through many different topics, and I learned something new every step of the way. Not only did I gain a deeper understanding of the food we eat, but I also learned practical strategies for making healthier choices. Michael inspired me to reevaluate my relationship with food and empowered me to make more conscious decisions about what I eat.

I can wholeheartedly say that I recommend this course to everyone. My friends and family are probably tired of the many times I’ve mentioned Michael Pollan’s masterclass and teachings because I believe there’s great wisdom in them, and I want to share this helpful knowledge with everyone.

This course is an excellent investment in your health and overall well-being, and I hope that it can teach you as much as it has taught me. You might think intentional eating doesn’t fit at all with your overall interests, but I believe everyone should at least give this masterclass a try because food is a huge and fundamental part of our lives; we just can’t live without it.

In my opinion, knowing about what you’re putting in your body and understanding why the way you’re eating matters is necessary knowledge for every single person out there, and I believe this Masterclass is one of the best decisions you can take to inform yourself about the food industry and the first step to start a balanced and healthy diet.

Michael doesn’t believe in restrictions when it comes to food choices; the only restriction he has is ignorance, and as he says, “Choice has to be informed to have any meaning at all. Your only obligation is to know about the system that is feeding you, and then you make your choice.”

What choice are you going to make?