In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I began reading this somewhat reluctantly, but I'm so glad I read it because it is excellent and I keep ruminating over it. One interesting element on a personal level was the types of foods that Pollan recommends eating completely corresponds with my own religious dietary code as a Mormon (and I believe he is Jewish). Basically--don't put crap in your body, and treat it right.
I have a hard time summarizing the book, so here's a blurb from the cover: "Most of what we're consuming today is not food, and how we're consuming it--in the car, in front of the TV, and increasingly alone--is not really eating. Instead of food, we're consuming 'edible foodlike substances'--no longer the products of nature but of food science. Many of them come packaged with health claims that should be our first clue they are anything but healthy. In the so-called Western diet, food has been replaced by nutrients, and common sense by confusion. The result is what Michael Pollan calls the American paradox: The more we worry about nutrition, the less healthy we seem to become. ... Our personal health cannot be divorced from the health of the food chains of which we are a part."
I am not a health nut--in fact, I secretly have looked down on "health Nazis"--but as a result of reading this book, I have resolved to shop and eat differently: to buy more whole foods, avoid ultra-processed foods, shop at farmer's markets/farms and join a CSA (community supported agriculture) group, and also to make more things from scratch so I know what the ingredients actually are (and can pronounce them!). I'm also interested in the Slow Food movement. We can't continue to ignore the fact that we can only be as healthy as we eat. Thank you to Michael Pollan for this call to return to common sense.
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