In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
"Eating with the fullest pleasure - pleasure, that is, that does not depend on ignorance - is perhaps the profoundest enactment of our connection with the world. In this pleasure we experience and celebrate our dependence and our gratitude, for we are living from mystery, from creatures we did not make and powers we cannot comprehend." - Wendell Berry
The best thing about this book is its simplicity. It is not a diet book, and can even be classified as an anti-diet book. It is not a difficult text on nutrition science. It is as it claims to be: a defense of food. Food untouched by the unscrupulous capitalist aims of food corporations, free from the reductionist trappings of science & gov't-backed "nutritionism", and free from the pressures and prescriptions of well-meaning yet often misguided health officials. Michael Pollan's suggestion for better health and better life is simple: eat a diverse diet, rich in real, whole foods in their most natural state. No calorie counting, no minimizing food to their nutrient parts, no removing & refortifying or any of the other questionable methods of modern agriculture. Just clean, whole foods.
Pollan's aim isn't to solve heart disease or hypertension or make a prescription for addressing obesity. He isn't even solely addressing the sick. He's talking to all of us who have been led away from the foods that our bodies need for optimal health, who have fallen victim to the perpetual need for cheap, fast, convenient food. He calls upon us all to truly examine our relationship with food, not just in a nutritional sense, but also within the context of family, culture, and ancestry.
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Niv Mullings is a writer, poet, and plant-based health coach hailing from The Boogie Down Bronx.