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In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto Paperback – April 28, 2009
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Amazon Significant Seven, January 2008: Food is the one thing that Americans hate to love and, as it turns out, love to hate. What we want to eat has been ousted by the notion of what we should eat, and it's at this nexus of hunger and hang-up that Michael Pollan poses his most salient question: where is the food in our food? What follows in In Defense of Food is a series of wonderfully clear and thoughtful answers that help us omnivores navigate the nutritional minefield that's come to typify our food culture. Many processed foods vie for a spot in our grocery baskets, claiming to lower cholesterol, weight, glucose levels, you name it. Yet Pollan shows that these convenient "healthy" alternatives to whole foods are appallingly inconvenient: our health has a nation has only deteriorated since we started exiling carbs, fats--even fruits--from our daily meals. His razor-sharp analysis of the American diet (as well as its architects and its detractors) offers an inspiring glimpse of what it would be like if we could (a la Humpty Dumpty) put our food back together again and reconsider what it means to eat well. In a season filled with rallying cries to lose weight and be healthy, Pollan's call to action"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."--is a program I actually want to follow. --Anne Bartholomew
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In his hugely influential treatise The Omnivore's Dilemma, Pollan traced a direct line between the industrialization of our food supply and the degradation of the environment. His new book takes up where the previous work left off. Examining the question of what to eat from the perspective of health, this powerfully argued, thoroughly researched and elegant manifesto cuts straight to the chase with a maxim that is deceptively simple: Eat food, not too much, mostly plants. But as Pollan explains, food in a country that is driven by a thirty-two billion-dollar marketing machine is both a loaded term and, in its purest sense, a holy grail. The first section of his three-part essay refutes the authority of the diet bullies, pointing up the confluence of interests among manufacturers of processed foods, marketers and nutritional scientists—a cabal whose nutritional advice has given rise to a notably unhealthy preoccupation with nutrition and diet and the idea of eating healthily. The second portion vivisects the Western diet, questioning, among other sacred cows, the idea that dietary fat leads to chronic illness. A writer of great subtlety, Pollan doesn't preach to the choir; in fact, rarely does he preach at all, preferring to lets the facts speak for themselves. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Five weeks eating 3 meals a day...and by week two much of the chronic 24 hour a day pain was gone and I began walking the elliptical and the woods. Five weeks and 30 pounds lighter....with more energy than I've had in 20 years. Buy this book, learn it, live it, tell your loved ones.
As a culture we're so eager to be smart about things, we've kind of shot ourselves in the foot over food, dissecting its nutrition, jumping on one band wagon after the next and all the while making ourselves sicker and fatter. The amount of information out there is overwhelming and confusing and makes even the most dedicated among us dizzy, so finding this straightforward and easy answer is a godsend. I've been trying the natural food approach lately and can report that when you eat natural food all those cravings go away. I feel great and am satisfied in a way I didn't think possible after countless years of deprivation dieting.
Mr. Pollan does a fine job of both giving the facts and making the read entertaining. His tongue in cheek presentation of various topics had me laughing out loud. I particularly loved the bit about health claims on product packages and the crazy fine print that makes them legal. He adds the funny example that even high fructose corn syrup could be proclaimed great for your health as long as the fine print stated that you used it to replace an equal amount of poison in your diet.
I guess we've been a little too smart for our own good and need to return to the very unsophisticated approach of eating stuff that comes in a peeling rather than in a box. This is easy to do, and cooking isn't as hard or as time-consuming as modern busy people are led to believe; it's just a different way of thinking. We've got all the gadgets to make cooking fast as well as rewarding. My grandchildren actually brag that Grandma cooks everything from scratch, even grows some of it. I didn't always, but I've changed my ways, and feel a lot better for it. I loved this book and think everyone should read it.