In anticipation of Michael Pollan‘s visit to Kansas City on Friday this week to discuss his new book Cooked, I figured I had better knock his In Defense of Food off my TBR before the event!
I have read two of Pollan’s books before: The Omnivore’s Dilemma (published 2006, read in 2008) and Food Rules (published in 2009, read in 2010). I’m a little out-of-order and a couple years behind on them, but still they’re good, worthwhile reads.
Much of the information in In Defense of Food is also in Food Rules, just more expanded upon with citations. The middle section was pretty bleak, laying out exactly all the problems with American food and eating habits from so-called “reductionist” science (where scientists and researchers just try to identify and isolate one nutrient and its effects rather than the whole food itself), of course processed foods, and the dissolving of the traditional family meal. But it is eye-opening to read about how everything really is connected—soil, sun, natural chemicals, flavors, etc.—and how certain nutrients or components in one food effect the others. Pollan’s writing style is accessible, too, without too much scientific jargon. A problem, though (that he acknowledges) is that people of only certain high enough income levels are likely to be able to follow his advice. Sad.
I can’t speak for all the scientific evidence, exactly, as neither Pollan nor I are scientists. But I do appreciate that he gives you a lot to think about as far as being more aware of what you’re buying and putting into your body. His mantra “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants” is a great starting point to healthier eating. Looking forward to reading Cooked later on and hearing Pollan speak on Friday here in Kansas City!
Read from May 1 to 5, 2013.