Monday, November 22, 2010

In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan

"Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much."

That is how Michael Pollan's book "In Defense of Food" begins. A simple concept, an entire book based upon it. Michael Pollan differentiates between "food" and "edible foodlike substances". (The vast majority of products in the grocery store falling into the latter category.)

Michael Pollan discusses "nutritionalism", a trap most of my, myself included, have fallen into. But as I have learned, a food is more than just the sum of it's parts. It's not just what nutrients are in a food, but how they work together. And we as humans simply do not know enough about our bodies and the nuances of how food works for us to replicate the same nutrition in a pill.

That may sound harsh at first, but I know you've seen it: "Eggs are good for you, now eggs are bad for you, now eggs are good for you!" and "Butter is bad for you, now butter is good for you!" Our human arrogance makes us think we can outsmart nature. But in fact, the more people have tried to do things "right" and "eat well", the more unhealthy we've become.

In addition to us being flat-out misinformed (through no fault of our own, we generally think we can trust "the experts", and we've been spoon-fed incorrect information our whole lives), we also have grown up in a society where "pile it up and sell it cheap" takes precedence over quality, both in health and taste, of our food.

I really enjoyed reading "In Defense of Food"; it's packed with information to help make better dietary choices, especially if you are just starting out looking for ways to improve your diet.

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