Kyla's Reviews > In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto

In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
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's review
May 20, 2012

really liked it
Read from May 20 to 28, 2012

Pollan's second book is in many ways a continuation of The Omnivore's Dillemma. The first book examined how food (or, in many cases, food products) gets to our plate, which prompts the question, "But WHAT should I eat?" Pollan explores that question in this book. He takes on nutritionism, which is the institution we've created to examine every single element in every single piece of food to determine if the nutrient is "good" or "bad." A good portion of the book focuses on breaking down misconceptions about individual nutrients, and sometimes the technical jargon was a little tricky to follow (at least in the audiobook). Pollan postulates that we need to take a step back and examine food as a whole, not its components. Then we need to step back even further and look at how that food fits into an overarching food culture, such as French or Japanese cuisine, and its corresponding social culture. So many cultures eat what we in America would quickly label "unhealthy" diets for a variety of reasons (high fat, high calorie, etc.), and yet these cultures have lower diabetes and heart disease rates than Americans do. To answer the questions originally asked of Pollan, he formulates a short-and-sweet mantra of what we should be eating: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." He expounds on each of these concepts, but these seven brief words are at the core of his philosophy and are easy to remember when strolling the grocery store.
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