"Food is the one thing that Americans hate to love and, as it turns out, love to hate. What we want to eat has been ousted by the notion of what we should eat, and it's at this nexus of hunger and hang-up that Michael Pollan poses his most salient question: where is the food in our food? What follows in In Defense of Food is a series of wonderfully clear and thoughtful answers that help us omnivores navigate the nutritional minefield that's come to typify our food culture. Many processed foods vie for a spot in our grocery baskets, claiming to lower cholesterol, weight, glucose levels, you name it. Yet Pollan shows that these convenient "healthy" alternatives to whole foods are appallingly inconvenient: our health has a nation has only deteriorated since we started exiling carbs, fats--even fruits--from our daily meals. His razor-sharp analysis of the American diet (as well as its architects and its detractors) offers an inspiring glimpse of what it would be like if we could (a la Humpty Dumpty) put our food back together again and reconsider what it means to eat well. In a season filled with rallying cries to lose weight and be healthy, Pollan's call to action—"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."--is a program I actually want to follow."
--Anne Bartholomew (Amazon.com Review)
I am not sure that I can be quite as eloquent as the above review, however I do want to offer my thoughts on this book. I first had heard of Michael Pollen through a podcast I listen to often about permaculture called, Rich Soil. They had just reviewed, Fresh The Movie and I wanted to see it. After watching the film, I was hooked and now I cannot get enough of Michael Pollans literary works, as well as his talks that are available on YouTube.
The main point that I love in this book is how he has to go through several chapters to define what food is. That sounds simple, but really, most Americans...or cultures that have adopted the S.A.D. (Standard American Diet) way of eating really do not eat food, but "food-like" substances. These are not healthy or filling which in turn makes our bodies crave more in hopes of gaining necessary nutrients which constitute healthy calories. More "food" means more unwanted bulk on our bodies (and harmful things running around inside).
Touching just briefly on his mention of the FDA...I enjoyed learning a few things about the FDA and our labeling system. Let me just say...they are a stinky bunch and I will not be purchasing "FDA approved" anything. I am very sad that our government has taken over our food system and instead of helping people as they should, they have made them fat, sick, and everything else in between. In the words of my Grandmother, "They should be ashamed of themselves."
What I was most excited about in the whole book was his description of the French way of eating. It goes beyond what they eat and it is more of how they eat. Americans just do not know how to eat. In fact the statistics mentioned in that section of the book about family meals shocked me. I knew it was bad, but not that bad. I would highly recommend the book just for the section on other cultures and their way of eating, it was an eye opener. As a family we already employ many of those things, but realized that we can be doing more to set the best example possible for our children.
If I were to give this book a rating, it would be five stars. The content was methodically researched and there are many pages of notes to back up his claims. This book was very well written using very intelligent language to convey proper meaning, the target audience was meant to be well educated. Though I am not sure it was meant to be entertaining, I found it very entertaining. I do recommend In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto on every principle and point.
If you would like to know more about Michael Pollan, you can visit him at the below links: