Book Review: In Defense of Food

May 8, 2008 at 6:25 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

This is somewhat out of the ordinary for me.  And I feel a little like I’m in 4th grade again, writing a book report.  However, this book – and the “dietary implications” thereof – really spoke to me.  So here I am, writing a review of a book that has (at least in a small way) changed my eating habits, and as a result, my life.

The book is called “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto” by Michael Pollan.  He is a Knight Professor of Journalism at Berkeley – not a nutritionist, not a food scientist, not a chef – and definitely NOT an employee of the FDA.

The main premise of this book is that the “Western Diet” – the way Americans eat – is the root cause of many of the diseases which have sprung up in the 20th century and are now killing us en masse.  Diabetes, some cancers, heart disease, etc. are some of the diseases I’m referring to – and they are strongly “encouraged” by our current diet.  Think back to the way your great-great-grandmother would have eaten … did any of those foods include high-fructose corn syrup, mono and di-glycerides, and (my personal favorite) monosodium glutamate?  In fact, could your grandmother have PRONOUNCED those words?

The book has three sections – The Age of Nutrionalism, The Western Diet and the Diseases of Civilization, and Getting Over Nutritionalism.  To sum up, he covers how we’ve gotten to the point that we will stop eating natural foods like (*gasp*) eggs in favor of chemical-ridden, processed “imitation food”.  Then, he discusses how the foods that we eat relate to the diseases we suffer.  Finally, what he suggests as a solution to this issue.  (Which I will cover in a post to follow soon)

Overall – an extremely well-written book.  It is thought-provoking, well-researched, and (mostly) un-biased.  The author discusses both sides of each issue, and, while you can see where he stands clearly and easily, allows you to make your own decision in the end.

I would recommend this book to anyone … and I do.  Go and buy the book … seriously.  You won’t regret it.


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