Saturday, January 22, 2011

1/26: In Defense of Food

In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”  This grammatical atrocity is the sage advice of Michael Pollan; it also is the thesis of his bestselling book In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto.  Although I had never considered food to be in need of defending, Pollan, a talented journalist and academic, has convinced me that the defense of food is direly necessary.In Defense of Food captured my attention long before I ever considered reading it.  I was seeing it quoted in so many places that I was beginning to realize that Pollan’s manifesto was becoming required reading. 
    Despite being interested in what he had to say, I was not particularly looking forward to reading this book.  I expected it to be rather dry and envisioned myself trying to sludge through it—How delightfully wrong I was!  On many occasions I actually found myself laughing out loud (practically in hysterics).  Pollan managed not only to inform me about the deceit being put forth by both food manufacturers and the government but to keep me actively engaged as well.
     This book has helped to precipitate major dietary changes for my family. The knowledge that Pollan dispenses put Ish and me on a much faster track to kicking processed food out of our diets.  To many, this probably sounds like a complicated, stress-inducing task, but for us, it has worked to simplify our lives.  I, for one, have been freed from the bonds of intense couponing and from feeling the need to stockpile—it is hard (read: almost impossible) to stockpile most whole foods.
    One of the pieces of advice that Pollan gives is to pretend you are grocery shopping with your great grandmother.  If she wouldn’t recognize what you are buying as food, then it is probably safe to assume that you shouldn’t be buying it.  This gem has helped us to really look at the ingredients in some of the foods we had been buying.  Thank you Michael Pollan for enlightening me and helping me to eat real food.
   I do not have a single negative thing to say about this book.  For those of you who know me well, you know that this is an extreme oddity.  Not only do I recommend In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto, I strongly urge you to read it.


  1. Your review inspired me to put this book on my reading list. I think you would like the book mom got me for Christmas too....Food Matters. Similar subject matter and some great recipes. Can't wait to hear about your thoughts on The Happiness Project.

  2. We have begun the move to whole foods as well. You should check out the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally fallon. It is a cookbook with great information on nutrition and is all whole food oriented.

    I have begun baking sourdough bread. I have yet to hit on the the right flour mixture to please the kid's tiny taste buds. It is a fun adventure to release from processed food. I agree about the couponing release.

    Oh and a great website... She's a homeschooling mom, and whole food eater. She has great recipes, and lots of information.

  3. Another similar books is Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. The author of the Poisonwood Bible moves her family of four from arid Arizona to the more fertile lands of Virginia where they plan to eat only what they can grow, or buy at their local farmer's market. A major perk of this book is the recipes focusing on lots of fresh veggies. They can also be found on the AVM website.

    Happy reading and eating!


  4. @ Roisin--I was looking into reading that book. I'll definitely have to add it to my reading list.

    @ Gabe-- Thank you for the book and blog recommendations! Do you use a bread maker for your sour dough?

    @ Meghan--I read that book when it first came out, and was definitely not at a place in my life to truly appreciate it. I think I may reread it.

  5. Ooooh! Sounds like a great read!