Michael Pollan is well known in literary and journalistic circles for his gustatory works on paper. His 2008 work, In Defense of Food, is a quick read chock full of information your grandmother has always known, but modern science and sensationalist journalism has obscured. Mr. Pollan postulates all people should eschew a Western Diet,” in lieu of a more traditional diet.
He bases his book around seven simple words, “Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants.” The intial section of the book (it is divided into three parts) details the path our history has taken with regard to food: how we obtain it, how we eat it and how we decide what to eat. The second section examines the link between what we eat and what diseases plague westernized peoples. The third section gives general guidelines regarding the seven words, “Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants.”
Mr. Pollan explains with exceptional clarity some very complex biochemical concepts. His reasonings are based on extensive research from medical research, nutrition/food science and review of legislative changes throughout the last 150 years. Footnotes at the bottom of many pages expound on more complex concepts so as not to muddle the text and research articles are aptly referenced. He even gives the reader a source to obtain most of the referenced studies for themselves.
Initially his take on the modern profession of nutrition or dietetics was a bit off-putting, but late in the book (too late in my opinion) he ressurects the field and profession by noting the restrictions placed upon it by practicality. (IE, there are only so many ways to conduct research.) By the end of the book, which I read in three days time, I found myself re-evaluating what I believed to be an already super-healthy diet. In fact, I may need to expunge the word “diet” from my vocabulary altogether.
A book definietly worth your time, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto will revolutionize the way you look at food if not the way you eat and shop.