In Defense Of Food

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In Defense Of Food

by MICHAEL POLLAN

Penguin Press (HC) | May 2, 2011 | Hardcover

In Defense Of Food is rated 4.75 out of 5 by 8.
What to eat, what not to eat, and how to think about health: a manifesto for our times

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." These simple words go to the heart of Michael Pollan''s In Defense of Food, the well-considered answers he provides to the questions posed in the bestselling The Omnivore''s Dilemma.

Humans used to know how to eat well, Pollan argues. But the balanced dietary lessons that were once passed down through generations have been confused, complicated, and distorted by food industry marketers, nutritional scientists, and journalists-all of whom have much to gain from our dietary confusion. As a result, we face today a complex culinary landscape dense with bad advice and foods that are not "real." These "edible foodlike substances" are often packaged with labels bearing health claims that are typically false or misleading. Indeed, real food is fast disappearing from the marketplace, to be replaced by "nutrients," and plain old eating by an obsession with nutrition that is, paradoxically, ruining our health, not to mention our meals. Michael Pollan''s sensible and decidedly counterintuitive advice is: "Don''t eat anything that your great-great grandmother would not recognize as food."

Writing In Defense of Food, and affirming the joy of eating, Pollan suggests that if we would pay more for better, well-grown food, but buy less of it, we''ll benefit ourselves, our communities, and the environment at large. Taking a clear-eyed look at what science does and does not know about the links between diet and health, he proposes a new way to think about the question of what to eat that is informed by ecology and tradition rather than by the prevailing nutrient-by-nutrient approach.

In Defense of Food reminds us that, despite the daunting dietary landscape Americans confront in the modern supermarket, the solutions to the current omnivore''s dilemma can be found all around us.

In looking toward traditional diets the world over, as well as the foods our families-and regions-historically enjoyed, we can recover a more balanced, reasonable, and pleasurable approach to food. Michael Pollan''s bracing and eloquent manifesto shows us how we might start making thoughtful food choices that will enrich our lives and enlarge our sense of what it means to be healthy.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 176 pages, 8.46 × 5.94 × 0.9 in

Published: May 2, 2011

Publisher: Penguin Press (HC)

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1594201455

ISBN - 13: 9781594201455

Found in: Food and Drink

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Quite interesting 3.75 stars Food is no longer what it used to be. It has been broken down into its parts (vitamins, nutrients, etc), some of those parts taken out and/or added back in, as studies find we need more or less of those parts. It has been overly processed. Pollan explains how this happened and what we can do to try to get back to eating real food, and hopefully stave off many diseases that seem to have ballooned since this overprocessing of food became the norm. I found it quite interesting. There was some stuff I knew and some I didn't. Pollan writes in a way that the info is interesting and accessible, although there was a section in the middle where I did lose focus a few times (which is why I didn't quite rate it 4 stars). I didn't like it quite as much as The Omnivore's Dilemma, but still really interesting.
Date published: 2012-07-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Will vow to stay away from processed foods! This book is extremely informative and gives a fresh perspective of food compared to traditional food and diet books in the bookstore. Michael Pollan's main focus is to expose the horrors of the Western diet and demonize the idealogy of nutritionism in fueling the popularity of cheap processed foods in today's society. He helps us understand human's relationship with food throughout history, then shows how that relationship has been damaged through advances in technology as well as shifts in culture and economics. Pollan presents strong scientific facts to support his argument. Some facts will have you rolling your eyes at first, such as that dietary fats do not have an effect on heart disease. While startling at first, Pollan's facts will eventually make sense and convince you to stay away from cheap processed foods. While the content is fantastic, I struggled with Pollan's writing style early on and it took some time to adapt to. Still, In Defense of Food is an absolutely recommended read for everyone. Pollan will convince you to not only stop eating cheap processed foods, but to revert back to more traditional ways of eating.
Date published: 2010-08-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Don't Get Defensive My Grampa was born in 1913. He was an incredible man, a staunch conservative with an entrepreneurial spirit, who loved his family the most in the world. He liked to talk politics (...groan...), and he loved to entertain in his backyard, around the pool; and as he aged, he liked to reminisce and talk about the old days. He died, in his ninety-third year, in October 2005. I have found myself thinking about him a lot these last few days, while reading In Defense of Food, By Michael Pollan. Because, like most things, Grampa had some strong opinions about food and I wish I could talk to him about what the typical meal was like when he was a little boy. And I'd love to hear him tell about the changes he observed in the food industry. The premise of In Defense of Food is to make you think about where your food comes from and to encourage the reader to think in terms of food instead of nutrients. Because a vitamin eaten in its natural state, in a actual fruit or vegetable, is worth so much more than a "vitamin-fortified" product. Pollan explains that the fact of the matter is the chronic diseases that now kill most of us can be traced directly to the industrialization of food. Highly refined grains, the use of chemicals to flavour and colour foods as well as to raise plants and animals in large monocultures, the abundance of cheap calories in sugar and fat, the narrowing in the diversity of foods available to us. The human diet is now based on three main crops ... wheat, corn and soy. What? You don't eat tofu? Think again, because soy products are used in all types of manufacturing, as is corn. In fact, I once spoke to a gentleman who had taken an interest in food production because of a food allergy in his family. He told me that after much reading, he predicts the next big food allergy to be to corn. Because it is used in all areas of food production. Soon, our bodies will begin to reject it and fight against it. Pollan makes the suggestion that going backwards to the dietary lifestyle of our ancestors may be the answer. So, that is what I am planning to do ... enjoy food, like my Grampa taught me, but know where it is coming from. Eat it for fun and pleasure and don't rush through it; sit, enjoy. Lingering around the table to chat and munch on vegies can be therapeutic and relaxing. It can be difficult to embrace change, but once you do, it'll make things better for you and your family. Start by reading this book ... you won't regret it! I read this book as part of a challenge to read 100 books in 1 year ... and I'm blogging as I do. Click the link to read all my thoughts on In Defense of Food. http://takenoutofcontext-jill.blogspot.com/2010/02/in-defense-of-food.html
Date published: 2010-03-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Eye opener Wow. What an eye opener! Hard to accept... but riveting. Recommended for anyone concerned with what we ingest on a daily basis and/or the future of our food sources.
Date published: 2009-03-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Follow up to Omnivore's Dilemma From bestselling author Michael Pollan comes "In Defense of Food", the highly anticipated followup to his previous masterpiece, "Omnivore's Dilemma". Unlike "Omnivore's Dilemma" which was more of an exploration of the food that is on the typical North American dinner table. "In Defense of Food" is more of a prescription for healthy eating, and a natural follow-up to Pollan's excellent investigative work in "Omnivore's Dillemma". Essentially, Pollan's argument is that we should eat less and eat mostly fresh vegetables bought at the farmer's market. Nothing fascinating there, but Pollan goes into depth to prove why the current North American diet is the absolutely worst diet humankind could have ever come up with. Overall, I think most people will enjoy reading "In Defense of Food" more than "Omnivore's Dilemma" simply because it is more concise and has a direct message as opposed to the exploratory work that Pollan goes into with "Omnivore's Dilemma".
Date published: 2008-08-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from MUST READ This is a MUST read. It will open your eyes to a whole new world of eating. It's a simple, easy to follow read. This research has definitly changed my eating habits. If you don't change after reading this book then you have got something wrong with you. After reading this, my eating has changed dramatically as well as my daily routines. With a job with lots of traveling I've been able to pack my lunch daily with recommendations from this author. I will take away from this book like no other. THANK YOU!
Date published: 2008-08-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great book to understand the Western food industry - and how to avoid it! I haven't read many books about this subject, but this one was written very well. The arguments are strung together well, with hundreds of references to back them up. Most points were also very convincing, and I'm not generally convinced easily. On the other hand, it was the sort of book I was looking for to read so my view is biased towards it. I've already handed it to my sister and girlfriend and they've both enjoyed it too.
Date published: 2008-04-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Post-industrial food Michael Pollan is an excellent author, so regardless of what he says, he says it in a very charming and conversational way. It's a good thing I agree with him, because he is so likeable it would be hard to write a bad review. His main point in this book is that industrially produced food is bad for you and the environment. Food scientists try to break food apart and put it back together again in ways that are more appetizing, but in the process important things get lost. This is the root of the recent obesity epidemic. While I don't think its possible today to prove this assertion right or wrong, it does make sense. Food is incredibly complex and our digestive system equally complex. We are adapted to our food. Chemistry makes possible a whole bunch of compounds that taste good, but that our bodies are not equipped to handle. It's not surprising that modifying our food in ways that could never exist in nature will produce unexpected results. That, in essence is the message of this book. Very well written, very enjoyable and very intelligent.
Date published: 2008-02-13

– More About This Product –

In Defense Of Food

by MICHAEL POLLAN

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 176 pages, 8.46 × 5.94 × 0.9 in

Published: May 2, 2011

Publisher: Penguin Press (HC)

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1594201455

ISBN - 13: 9781594201455

About the Book

From the author of the bestselling "The Omnivores Dilemma" comes this bracing and eloquent manifesto that shows readers how they might start making thoughtful food choices that will enrich their lives and enlarge their sense of what it means to be healthy.

From the Publisher

What to eat, what not to eat, and how to think about health: a manifesto for our times

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." These simple words go to the heart of Michael Pollan''s In Defense of Food, the well-considered answers he provides to the questions posed in the bestselling The Omnivore''s Dilemma.

Humans used to know how to eat well, Pollan argues. But the balanced dietary lessons that were once passed down through generations have been confused, complicated, and distorted by food industry marketers, nutritional scientists, and journalists-all of whom have much to gain from our dietary confusion. As a result, we face today a complex culinary landscape dense with bad advice and foods that are not "real." These "edible foodlike substances" are often packaged with labels bearing health claims that are typically false or misleading. Indeed, real food is fast disappearing from the marketplace, to be replaced by "nutrients," and plain old eating by an obsession with nutrition that is, paradoxically, ruining our health, not to mention our meals. Michael Pollan''s sensible and decidedly counterintuitive advice is: "Don''t eat anything that your great-great grandmother would not recognize as food."

Writing In Defense of Food, and affirming the joy of eating, Pollan suggests that if we would pay more for better, well-grown food, but buy less of it, we''ll benefit ourselves, our communities, and the environment at large. Taking a clear-eyed look at what science does and does not know about the links between diet and health, he proposes a new way to think about the question of what to eat that is informed by ecology and tradition rather than by the prevailing nutrient-by-nutrient approach.

In Defense of Food reminds us that, despite the daunting dietary landscape Americans confront in the modern supermarket, the solutions to the current omnivore''s dilemma can be found all around us.

In looking toward traditional diets the world over, as well as the foods our families-and regions-historically enjoyed, we can recover a more balanced, reasonable, and pleasurable approach to food. Michael Pollan''s bracing and eloquent manifesto shows us how we might start making thoughtful food choices that will enrich our lives and enlarge our sense of what it means to be healthy.

About the Author

Michael Pollan is the author of five books: Second Nature, A Place of My Own, The Botany of Desire, which received the Borders Original Voices Award for the best nonfiction work of 2001 and was recognized as a best book of the year by the American Booksellers Association and Amazon, and the national bestellers, The Omnivore''s Dilemma, and In Defense of Food.

A longtime contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine, Pollan is also the Knight Professor of Journalism at UC Berkeley. His writing on food and agriculture has won numerous awards, including the Reuters/World Conservation Union Global Award in Environmental Journalism, the James Beard Award, and the Genesis Award from the American Humane Association.

Editorial Reviews

"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.)" -- Publishers Weekly, starred review