The Backyard

The Backyard

Friday, November 28, 2008

Book Review - In Defense of Food, An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan



Its been a long time since I picked up a book that I couldn't put down until I flipped the last page. Michael Pollan succeeded -- I consumed his latest book, In Defense of Food, An Eater's Manifesto in less than a week. I was skeptical at first with the author because I couldn't finish his previous book, Omnivore's Dilemma (too technical and confusing at spots). Obviously, THIS book held my interest and embedded even more food thoughts in my brain. Many of his concepts are not unlike the Eat Local Challenge (in which he references in the back of the book). In a nutshell, the book is about how most "food" in the grocery store isn't really food but the over processing of food substances into product the food industry, nutritionists, and marketeers sell us as "food." An easy summation of the book is his compelling practical ways to separate and defend, real food from the cascade of food like products that now surround and confound us:

  • Don't eat anything your great grandmother wouldn't recognize as food. (squeezable yogurt?)
  • Avoid food products containing ingredients that are a) unfamiliar, b) unpronounceable, c) more than five in number, or that include d) high-fructose corn syrup. (have you read the ingredients in a loaf of bread lately?)
  • Avoid food products that make health claims (low-fat isn't all its cracked up to be)
  • Shop the peripheries of the supermarket and stay out of the middle (where the processed stuff is).
  • Get out of the supermarket whenever possible (shop farmer's markets)
  • East mostly plants, especially leaves (packed with nutrients)
  • You are what what you eat eats too (he's OK with meat... but make sure its grass-fed)
  • If you have space, buy a freezer (when you find that grass fed beef, stock your freezer)
  • Eat well-grown food from healthy soils (organic!!!)
  • Eat wild foods when you can (more nutritious)
  • Be the kind of person who takes supplements (healthy people usually take supplements, but you don't need the supplements if you eat a diverse plant diet)
  • Eat more like the French or the Italians or the Japanese or the Indians. (get your culture back -- eat what your grandma ate)
  • Regard nontraditional foods with skepticism (soy protein isolate?)
  • Have a glass of wine with dinner (full of antioxidants - very healthy)
  • Pay more, eat less (the LOCAL organic beef and veges ARE worth it).
  • Eat meals (quit the snacking!)
  • Do all your eating at a table (not the car while rushing somewhere)
  • Don't get your fuel from the same place your car does
  • Try not to eat alone
  • Consult your gut (when you feel full, stop eating!)
  • Eat slowly (slowfood usa)
  • Cook, and if you can, PLANT A GARDEN! (of course, my favorite)

1 comment:

fullfreezer said...

I read this one when it first came out. LOVED IT!! He makes so much sense. It's funny, but a lot of his points were things we were already doing, It just took someone else to put it all into perspective.