Jul 25, 2008

In Defense of Food

An Eater's Manifesto
by Michael Pollan

I read this book all in one day, because it's due back at the library and someone else has dibs on it there. I certainly got what I wanted. It is crammed with facts (where The Botany of Desire felt more like a storytelling of plants' natural history). In Defense of Food contains journalist Michael Pollan's "eater's manifesto" that we should: eat food in its natural state- not processed food products, eat less of it, and eat mostly green plants- cutting back on meats and seeds (flour, corn products, etc). He goes into great detail explaining why and how. The first part of the book talks about nutritionism- particularly how faulty the science behind it is. (This part really made my head swim. I almost got lost in the threads of logic a few times). Then he discusses how the "Western diet" of refined foods and food products originated, why it's become so widespread, and how it affects us. In the final chapters Pollan outlines his plan for healthier eating, giving guidelines that don't tell you what to eat in particular, but just how to choose good, healthy food. The strongest impression I came away with after reading this book was: less is more (you feel more satiated eating better quality food), and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts (additives will never make up for what processing has removed from foods). These are rules of design I learned in art school, but they apply to food as well! This book has really solidified my desire to feed my family from the backyard garden and shop more at local farmer's markets or at least stores like Trader Joe's (my daughter loves to go there because they give out free balloons!)

Rating: 4/5                   144 pages, 2008

More opinions at:
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  1. I think I'd really like to read this book and I've heard so much about it lately. I'm a terrible eater and it doesn't help that my husband is allergic to fresh fruits and vegetables (yes, seriously). I'm too lazy to cook a separate meal for myself, but I think I need to start doing so!! We eat way too much processed food.

  2. I'm obsessed with food--both good and bad, so I have been wanting to get to this one for a while. Even though I haven't read the book yet, I am often quoting his shortened motto in my head: "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants."

  3. Anonymous7/30/2008

    I heard an interview with Pollan on NPR awhile back. He makes a lot of sense.

    My problem right now is intense boredom with most food preparation. It seems like often the healthier foods take more effort to prepare... I'm in a phase where I'm fresh out of creativity at meal planning, I hate the bill at the grocery store, etc. etc.

    It's pitiful. I need to get back on track!

  4. Dude, I am totally secretly obsessed with food. I need to get on this train.

  5. Ah, you know what I'm talking about - (for lack of a better word) readability - between two NFs by the same author when one book is told in a story format and the other just the facts, kewl! :D


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