In Defense of Food

In Defense of Food

An Eater's Manifesto

Large Print - 2009
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w
WendyLC
Apr 29, 2017

While the basic message here is good and seems logical (eat real foods, at meals, of the type your great-grandmother would recognize as food, don't eat packaged foods, and don't eat anything you can't pronounce), his anti-meat stance is bizarre. In the traditional diets he refers to, some of them eat meat (the French eat lots of cheese, too), a few eat almost nothing but meat (hunter gatherers might eat only meat six months of the year), and there's no science saying meat is bad for you, and he seems to be suffering from the "nutritionism" he skewers in much of this book, perhaps having a hangover from the "fat is bad for you" nonsense. Meat leaves you full for longer, and some cultures and individuals like a lot of it, and it is actual real food.

Sure, meat--red meat in particular--is horrible for the environment, but that's not what this book is about. It's about health and getting rid of the fifty years of nonsense reductionist nutrition science. So why doesn't he?

s
sorensje
Jan 16, 2017

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." is the main take away and he doesn't expand into each of these 3 elements until the end. Much of the book is about nutritionism and how whole food has been broken down into separate properties that do or don't affect our health, it seems everything is almost up for debate. Mainly eat whole food that isn't processed, doesn't have generally more than 5 ingredients listed and things you don't know or can't pronounce. Smaller portions, more plants for the nutrients you miss out on through processing. Eat slower and be more in tune with your body telling you its full. Shop more at farmers markets to cut down on chances of buying processed food. Start a home garden. Buy eggs that have been pastured. Buy beef that's been grass finished.

k
KathyS82
Oct 01, 2015

Interesting take on our current western diet. It made me think about things differently. Being from a Slovakian background we use food to show affection and love cooking for our family. Food brings us pleasure and isn't just about nutrition. Good principles to apply.

s
stewstealth
May 10, 2014

A very concise and thoughtful look at the problems in North American ( Western Diet ) food production and delivery. A very sensible, though still difficult, recommendation for healthy eating. Though this book is specifically about food growing and food processing it encapsulates many problems in our society outside of the scope of the book. Should be read by everyone.

r
ReadRobin
Mar 03, 2014

The SPL has several more copies of this book in the Large Print edition--I recommend it if you are tired of the long waiting list for the regular edition. Excellent book and good read.

h
hagrid46
Jun 27, 2013

I have read a brazillian articles and books on the internet, from the library, and purchased on nutrition. This book captures, condenses and presents a simple, sensible, effective approach to eating. Rather than guidelines it is more like a North Star to help us navigate through the myriad of new fads, research, products and advertising. For example if your great grandmother would not recognize it don't eat it. If you can't pronounce and don't know what the ingredients are, don't eat it. If there are more than 5 ingredients don't eat it. Eat food, not too much, mostly plants. He explains what he means by food. It is sad to realize that he needed to explain what food is and what it is not. He reviews the diverse, indigenous diets around the world that keep different populations healthy. The key is always that they are eating real food, no matter whether it is high or low fat or high or low carbohydrates or high or low protein.
This is an easy read. I enjoyed it immensely and will consider buying it or his next book, just to keep myself grounded when I start to be swayed by the newest research. Eating is not complicated, but finding real food may be.

m
meldaravaniel
Jun 20, 2012

I have been recommended this book by several people and was glad I finally got around to reading it. There is a lot of information about food and nutrition floating around out there. I was especially confused by the recent commotion over high fructose corn syrup. Some people were saying it was perfectly safe, others were saying it wasn't, but no one had any proof to their claims. As a scientist, that bothered me. In this book, Pollan starts out by giving a history of 'nutritionism.' He then talks about the more recent happenings in food, including discussing the 'cults' of fats, carbohydrates, omega 3 fatty acids, and even high fructose corn syrup. Just as you're feeling as though you won't ever be able to eat healthfully, he gives a detailed explanation of how to do just that and why you should do it.

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sharon711
Jan 21, 2012

Thank you Michael Pollan. You’ve researched the heck out of the western diet to show us just why we’re growing fatter the more we try to eat healthier foods. I’ll have no trouble now giving up processed foods as often as I can, especially any of those with fructose near the top of the ingredient list.

I’ll have more trouble swapping meat for leaves... but maybe if I can just make leaves one of the main veggies on my plate every time I eat, that will be a step in the right direction. After reading your book, I ran down to the grocery store and came home with a bunch of red kale, a bunch of watercress, and a box of baby spinach and arugula. I found some simple recipes, and the kale and watercress were delicious. Tonight we start in on the box of mixed greens. Who knew they were good sources of omega-3... a fat? Better yet, I learned that although omega-3 may be really good for us, it’s not the whole story - there are likely interactions with other unknowns in the leaves that account for their effectiveness in regulating our good health.

It all makes good sense, completely, especially the way you explain it. Foods are such complex biochemical systems that it’s no wonder scientists are still straightening it all out. It appears they have much farther to go before they can advise us on the best eating patterns for good health. Going back to eating like our parents and grandparents did definitely means getting back into the kitchen... and spending more time at the table with our families. I like that idea. Let’s put culture back into agriculture and tradition back into family life.

elviralupsa Jan 13, 2012

All there is to know about food today. It is a enjoyable book with valuable information about what we eat and what we SHOULD eat.
If you are too lazy to read through the 256 pages, just read Food Rules by the same author which is a summary of this entire book.

c
cmills10
Aug 17, 2011

I enjoyed this book cover to cover. Michael Pollan's sensible approach to eating really made sense. He talks about how little we know about "nutrition" and how our body processes food. If you are looking for a book to teach yourself about eating well and get off the diet wagon this is it.

c
cbreads2009
Aug 16, 2011

thur am bk club august 2011
rate 4

Barbara_Gordon Mar 02, 2011

I really enjoyed this book by Michael Pollan. He not only writes in clear, journalistic style, his inclusion of other cultural, social, and evolutionary factors into why American is facing an obesity epidemic makes his argument richer and more compelling. Although I do disagree with some of the logic behind the statistics he offers, I fully applaud his approach to this subject and desire to encourage the health of the overall American populace and the environment.

j
jodellg
Feb 15, 2011

suresh..
this one first, if I like, read omnivores dilemma

w
woodsa
Feb 03, 2011

Fascinating book, relevant content. I listened to the audio version. This book is thought provoking without a doubt.

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sunshinemuffin
Jun 01, 2010

an interesting book, lots of common sense information. the book club at Woodcroft discussed this book and it was a great book club! the librarian running it did a great job organizing it and had other materials ready to check out.

h
hithatsmybike
Feb 28, 2010

A fantastic, informative book that provides a critical look at our modern food culture. Pollan explores the Western World's self-destructive eating patterns that have laden the first world with preventable illness & disease. He promotes healthful, sustainable eating and provides a wealth of suggestions as to how to achieve the best diet possible (shop the perimeter of the supermarket, don't eat anything that comes in a box) without resorting to bullying the reader into a fad of vegetarianism or vegan lifestyle. Pollan's rules are simple: Eat food. Mostly Plants. Not too much! Everyone eats, and therefore everyone should read this book.

c
cllevett
Feb 09, 2010

A very informative read that attempts to get us back to a relationship with the food we eat and where it comes from. Michael Pollan tells a very entertaining story about our relationship with plans. In this one he really focuses on corn. It's a tale of how the industrial food industry is wreaking habit on our bodies, environment, animals, and communities.

Nialla Dec 29, 2009

Michael Pollan has literally written the book on how our relationship with food and eating should be. His mantra of "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants" expresses with beautiful simplicity how we should be feeding ourselves. This is an outstanding book detailing how food in its natural (as opposed to overly processed or chemically composed) form is something to be enjoyed.

b
brankap
Oct 20, 2009

Excellent book! One of the best ever written about food! Must read everyone especially who has children, grandchildren. Explains in simple language why the food we buy in stores are making us sick and why food industry's interest is only profit not your health and well being.

h
Hadley
Dec 09, 2008

Great book about how the Western diet causes obesity and poor health, and what to do about it. Recommended.

gorda Apr 03, 2008

A must read - support local farmers.

SynergySeeker Mar 27, 2008

This book has been highly recommended by my coworkers.

Anitka Mar 27, 2008

Excellent information about eatring habits and food we should eat.


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