Sunday, March 13, 2011

In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan

genre: non-fiction

Michael Pollan has a very specific definition of food.

It is NOT just something that you can put in your mouth and digest.

Food, to Michael Pollan, has a deeper meaning, a definition that involves how that food is made (processed=NOT food) and in what form it is eaten. In his book In Defense of Food, he makes the case that what our Western Culture needs to save itself from all the diseases that are currently plaguing it is a return to eating real food and a much greater awareness of the way that food is produced.

I really like Pollan's writing style - for non-fiction, it's completely accessible and wow is he persuasive. I finished reading this book and wanted to chuck out every processed food in my house. He really makes you think about the true cost of that 20 cent package of orange sandwich crackers and how we arrived at this place of "non-food." I loved the history of our food industry and his take on all the different studies that he sites. What I found most intriguing is the idea of "nutritionalism" and how focused we are (I am) on what NUTRIENTS are in what we are eating instead of the whole picture of that food (or non-food).

While I really loved this book, it was a great read, now that I'm a few days out from finishing it, I am finding myself completely daunted and a bit depressed. I believe the things he tells me. I want to feed my family more whole foods. It's just a crazy huge undertaking in the society where I live. I know it can be done, I just need to write down a series of baby steps and get started - and probably read more about it, too, because I think Pollan's really onto something.


bermudaonion said...

I read Food Rules by the same author and I found it full of common sense. I haven't followed as many of the rules as I should because it is daunting.

Erica said...

Start with baby steps as you say. It gets easier and it is amazing how different your food tastes and how good you feel. It changes your views on the quality of food you eat and it becomes so much easier. Even just going all organic makes a big difference. It is a total change but just like you said, "baby steps". :-)

Melissa said...

Agreed: it is overwhelming and depressing. And going without the processed foods is *expensive* and in this economy, when one is trying to cut costs... it's hard. But, baby steps. (Starting with high fructose corn syrup, right? :-D And growing a garden.)

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