Monday, July 15, 2013

Food Loves: In Defense of Food

"Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly Plants"

This is the manifesto and introduction for Michael Pollan's book In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto. I've always been interested in the research, studies, and declarations of how we should and shouldn't eat - of taking care of ourselves inside and out. Though I've read quite a few things online and in magazines, seen various television shows, and heard opposing views on how we should be treating our bodies over the years, nothing quite stuck until I picked up this book.

In the early spring a friend of mine recommended I watch a couple food documentaries - Food Matters and Hungry for Change. They give a sort of 'inside scoop' on the food industry, looking at everything from food factories, farming, animal cruelty, and what it's all doing to our bodies. I loved them - both films really clicked something inside my head and got the wheels turning. I began looking into more films on Netflix and watching a few TED Talks and finally looking at the literature available. Michael Pollan, who was featured in another great food documentary, Food Inc., is one of the names I frequently saw floating around.

I decided to pick up his book In Defense of Food to see what he had to say. As a person who tends to shy away from non-fiction - usually with the assumption that the authors of these essay-style books can come off a bit arrogant - I was skeptical about how Pollan's words would come across. The book examines our (Western) relationship with food and nutrition by exploring the history of how we eat, the differences between cultures, and the influence of science on our eating habits. What I love about this book is its severe lack of preachy statements. Pollan offers up some great insight and guidelines on how we should be treating food and our bodies - none of which feel too restrictive or far fetched. It includes and explores simple statements such as "Eat Slowly", "Cook", "Try Not to Eat Alone", and a few others that can all help change how we relate to our food.

If you're interested in reading and learning about the food industry and gaining some helpful tips on eating well, I highly recommend this book. Pollan's writing style makes you feel like you're talking to a friend (who happens to be all knowing of food) and leaves you feeling inspired to make a few changes - like signing up for a CSA share (re: this post). It's a great thought provoking and informative read.

P.S. He also has a new book out, Cooked, that I can't wait to get my hands on.

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