Think about it. It’s a weird concept, right? Defending food. It is a simple necessity of life, yet we have somehow managed to make food so much more complicated than it truly needs to be. This is the main theme in Michael Pollan’s book, In Defense of Food. This book is a great place to start learning more about how food can affect our lives and more importantly our health. Pollan is a journalist, not a scientist, so he writes in a way that anyone can follow along. Yet he really sheds light on the important studies and facts of the modern food industry. You would think that because of all of our technological and intellectual advances, eating the proper diet would be an easy and simple task. But take a look around and you will see that we as a country are fatter, sicker, and unhappier. Pollan argues that this is because we have stopped eating real, whole foods and instead are eating an abundance of food-like products. The science world and the food industry have taken food and either turned it into something evil (trans-fats, saturated fats, high fructose corn syrup, oh my!) or something extraordinary (this box of cereal contains no fat, no sugar, no artificial ingredients, and will solve all your health problems if you consume mass quantities!). Instead of eating simple fresh foods such as fruit, vegetables, and real meat (not that stuff that comes in a box in the freezer section), more and more people are buying things that come in boxes, packages, and pouches and claim to be the healthiest thing this side of the Mississippi. Yet Pollan states we are getting no healthier and our bodies are deteriorating at alarming rates. The Western diet (more fast food) and lifestyle (less movement) are in essence killing us one Big Mac and heart attack at a time. In Defense of Food highlights some very important and interesting studies all showing how the food we eat really affects our bodies and health.
In the second half of the book, Pollan gives his “rules” for eating and living better. He doesn’t claim that he has all the answers when it comes to health, but the advice he gives is so simple and really should be common sense. His simple mantra is, eat food, not too much, mostly plants.
I really enjoyed reading this book and found some of the information shared really eye opening. I would recommend this book to anyone who is just starting to explore the vast world of health and nutrition as a good starting spot. It is well written and makes the reader really think about food and examine the way we eat and live. Pollan believes that by cutting out all the complicated food principles presented to us, such as low fat diets, low carb diets,or any of the million of diets out there, we can make food and eating an enjoyable part of our daily lives. And we can also start to get our health back on track. Food doesn’t have to be a scary or complex notion, it can be one of the most pleasurable and healthy experiences we do every day. I think that we need to defend our food and really learn to enjoy every aspect that comes with it.
*If you’re interested in reading this book yourself, you can find more information at this link or go to your local library.