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pollan’s latest book
May 14, 2008, 1:23 pm
Filed under: training and nutrition | Tags: , , , , , ,

Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

The core of the advice that this book has to offer can be distilled into the first few words that Pollan used in the book itself. Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. Seemingly simple but hard to fulfill in the modern lives that we find ourselves unconsciously living.

The dominant concept in our choice of diet in this day and age is nutritionism. Thanks to the food scientists and government we have began to see our food in terms of its molecular components instead of food as food itself. This has led to the various industrial products that pass themselves off as food and unhealthy diets that most people living in modern societies experience.

Eating food seems like simple enough advice to follow but it is surprising how many of us do not actually consume real food. Instead, as Pollan puts it, we consume imitations and food products. The reductionist nature of nutrient science has led to a spread of a extremely narrow view of food and nutrition, and as we strip our food of its seemingly useless parts, we make our diets even more unhealthier. There is much complexity and synergy to the whole foods that we eat that are yet to be explained and what the industrial complex has done is to make “frankenstein” food while oblivious to the unrevealed benefits of eating whole foods.

Regarding overeating and the lack of plants in our modern diet, Pollan makes a very interesting point about how the convenience and availability of “rich” foods inadvertently caused this phenomenon. For example, it takes a lot of effort to make french fries at home, and hence it is less probable that a normal person would eat it often. However with the invention of frozen foods and the explosion of fast food restaurants, we are now able to eat it more often and in fact we do. This has caused the gradual deterioration of our health.

Pollan has done a good job summarising the essence of what he wrote about in The Omnivore’s Dilemma, but it remains that his earlier book is a much better and more substantial read.

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