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

In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
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's review
Feb 16, 2009

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bookshelves: nonfiction
Read in March, 2009

I don't read much nonfiction. While reading this, I felt it could have been edited down to about 10 pages and I would have enjoyed it more. I realize he had to illustrate his points, but those examples of bad science or corporate dominance of the food industry were at times frustrating and weak.

Using one of his examples, if I had to go out and find my own food, kill/harvest it and prepare it, I would most definitely find myself heatlthier thanks to many factors intrinsic to that overall lifestyle, including the nutritional value of the food. But I don't plan on living that lifestyle, and although that is an extreme example from aboriginal Australia to illustrate his problem with the Western diet, it also is a good example of the flaws of many of his arguments.

That being said, the "soundbites" of the book are what I will continue to contemplate and I'm sure I will benefit from. "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." Okay, man. I'm working on it. "Shop in the periphery areas of the grocery store." Check. Doing it. "Avoid foods that make health claims." This was the light-bulb idea that is resonating for me. I hadn't realized how many items in the market are labeled for some health benefit or other, and how few of those can be trusted. "Get out of the supermarket whenever possible." I'd love to, but farmers markets are neither convenient or reliable in my suburban neighborhood. Should I be burning more gasoline to reach a farmers market that only occurs once every few weeks, or should I do what I can to get my local grocer (within walking distance - and yes I do often walk there) to carry fresh and nutritious food?

I think this book is an important starting point for us to begin questioning our nutritional science, our cooking, and eating habits.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Alice (last edited Mar 22, 2009 11:06AM) (new)

Alice I agree about the 10-page idea. One of the many reasons I rarely read nonfiction books is that the premise often could have been presented in a magazine article. Instead the author pads the idea with lots of speculation and endless examples that are soporific to me.

Benjamin Help start a farmers market or buying club in your neighborhood that can supply you with real food.

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