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In Defense of Food: An Eater's…

In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto (2008)

by Michael Pollan

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 167 (next | show all)
Wait...why does my food need defense? Is eating *optional* now?
Oh...THAT's why.
I'm not eating food.
This is a really interesting book (a different type of fascinating than The Omnivore's Dilemma).
As with Pollan's other works, I found myself getting irrationally (or actually *very* rationally) angry at big business and lobbyists. ( )
  benuathanasia | Sep 10, 2016 |
Michael Pollan says trust culture, traditional cuisines, fresh, local food, mostly plants and not too much, rather than industrial food. I agree with him. Processed and fast food is not very good, especially a steady diet of this stuff, although I admit to an occasional yearning for an Oreo. ( )
  Roamin1 | Aug 28, 2016 |
This book, along with "Omnivore's Dilemma", these two books represent my foray into the Slow Food Movement, "an elitist foodie club", to paraphrase one of the reviewers (a nutritionist). Let me be clear that I am in no way expert on matters nutritional, and...I'm not even going to try to sound smart on this topic. After reading the comments on this book, I'm happy to say that at least this little bit of advice from Mr. Pollan appears to be unassailable: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

As for the experience of reading the book, it was thoroughly enjoyable. Pollan is a good writer, funny, often quite wise. At the very, very least Pollan has succeeded in teaching me to view the act of eating as more of a communal (in all senses of the word including religious) act rather than simply nutritional. ( )
1 vote evamat72 | Mar 31, 2016 |
Pollan picks up the sword and goes to battle against nutritionism. I'm not sure he wins this war but he leaves them bloodied.

Pollan is a persuasive journalist but not always convincing. For me the reason is simple. He tells us a lot of things, many of which are evident by common sense thinking, things we knew or our mothers knew, or our grandmothers, but which have been swept aside by not thinking of food as food but as nutrients. Some of these statements the author backs up and others seem to fall into the "we hold these truths to be self-evident" category. When that happens I think Pollan falls a little way (sometimes headfirst) into the trap of playing loose with how things correlate or not that he finds so many other theories to have fallen into. It may also be that he has covered that territory well in his other books. I'm willing to give him some benefit of the doubt here because I thought most of the information presented was well documented, but he does fail in places.

This book emphasizes using common sense and a healthy skepticism of nutritionism. I like to think that I have already embraced some of the strongest principles from the book - to eat simple foods - the less processed the better. I've long since downsized my meat eating, especially beef, so that it is frequently not the central part of a meal. I have long been an urban (well, suburban) gardener and have grown fruits and vegetables for roughly 30 years or so. There is a lot to pay attention to, but Pollan presents his case in a very readable fashion. There is good information here. Going forward I think I'll be a better eater. I'm both a grower and a cook, who loves having farmer's markets, and I realize I can do a lot better and I plan on it. This isn't a book of recipes - it is a book to get you to think about what you eat and why and how. There are a lot of takeaways from it. I've heard and read bits of Pollan before and I'm glad I read this one. Recommended for anyone who wants to live long and prosper.

The strength in the book comes in part in his documentation of how food is labeled and looked at since the 70's. Remember, if you are old enough, when you could buy imitation ice cream. Or imitation anything. That label went away and there is a reason for it. Almost all the "food" you buy now would be considered imitation or adulterated by common sense and government required labeling in the past. He is also working from strength when he rails against the science of nutrition and the fads of the day about what is good and what is bad and the many mistakes that have been made (for various reasons). The book is good reading on that account. The problem for me was that Pollan really goes overboard in condemning nutrition science. You can see why he is mad about it, but I don't think all nutrition science is bunk. I had other bothers also and one of the big ones to me is a clear anti-science bias. That maybe isn't quite right either. Pollan cites science when it agrees with him but gets mad at it when he doesn't agree with it.

There is an extensive reference list of his sources at the end of the book as well as resources and index.

My daughter bought this book when Pollan came to speak at her college, Cal Poly, in 2009. It proved to be a rather controversial event. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2009/10/california-agribusiness-pressures-... and http://www.newtimesslo.com/news/3411/controversy-erupts-over-michael-pollans-pol... and http://www.hearstranch.com/michael-pollan-speaks-cal-poly/ among others. Youtube has the eventual diluted forum that resulted. 3 1/2-4 stars ( )
  RBeffa | Jan 5, 2016 |
Just skimmed it.
  emblue | Jan 3, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Michael Pollanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Brick, Scottsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vlek, RonaldTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Ann and Gerry,
With gratitude for your loyal friendship
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Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
…the "what to eat" question is somewhat more complicated for us than it is for, say, cows. Yet for most of human history, humans have navigated the question without expert advice. To guide us we had, instead, Culture, which, at least when it comes to food, is really just a fancy word for your mother.
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Challenges current approaches to healthy eating, arguing that the real food consumed by past generations is being replaced with commercialized, scientifically altered foods that offer no health benefits and may cause serious damage, and encourages people to change the way they eat and return to basic nutrition rules.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0143114964, Paperback)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:50 -0400)

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"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." These simple words go to the heart of food journalist Pollan's thesis. Humans used to know how to eat well, he argues, but the balanced dietary lessons that were once passed down through generations have been confused and distorted by food industry marketers, nutritional scientists, and journalists. As a result, we face today a complex culinary landscape dense with bad advice and foods that are not "real." Indeed, plain old eating is being replaced by an obsession with nutrition that is, paradoxically, ruining our health, not to mention our meals. Pollan's advice is: "Don't eat anything that your great-great grandmother would not recognize as food." Looking at what science does and does not know about diet and health, he proposes a new way to think about what to eat, informed by ecology and tradition rather than by the nutrient-by-nutrient approach.--From publisher description.… (more)

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