Charlotte's Reviews > In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto
In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto
by Michael Pollan
by Michael Pollan
Feb 12, 08
Read in February, 2008
Michael Pollan is absolutely on to something with his central thesis; namely, that the American diet has been taken over by "edible foodlike substances" (ie, hyper-processed foods) and the American approach to health as it relates to eating has been taken over by "nutritionism" (ie, the idea that food is nothing more than the sum of its nutrient parts). He makes an excellent case that the current epidemics of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, etc. are the inevitable result of this perverse relationship with food and eating. His proposed remedy is to "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." In other words, eat whole, not processed foods; concentrate on the quality of the eating experience rather than the quantity of food consumed; and eat a wide variety of species, mainly fruits and vegetables. But as with his previous book, The Omnivore's Dilemma, he fails to explain how anyone other than smug, affluent foodies with an abundance of time on their hands could possibly follow his recommendations. He even laments the fact that Americans don't spend more of their annual income on food! He paints an admittedly appealing picture of long, leisurely meals made of fresh, local ingredients, enjoyed among friends over a glass or two of wine. Great, I'm sure that's no problem for his fellow professors at Berkeley, but how about for single-parent households, two-career families, families with lots of children, low-income families, families who don't happen to live next to a farmer's market, etc.? Pollan's refusal to address these very real issues made the book rather--ahem--hard to swallow (sorry!).
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