I have just finished Michael Pollan’s latest book, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto and all I can say is wow.
It’s his follow up to his bestseller, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals that attempts to answer the question “What should I eat?”
He sums it up in his eater’s manifesto with seven simple words: Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly Plants.
And then goes on to give background on how and why he developed this food philosophy:
- We should reject science and industry in determining what and how we should eat.
- Science is limited in understanding something as richly complex and multifaceted as food.
- Much of the ‘scientific wisdom’ we have been fed over the past several decades is being proved wrong.
- Most of the stuff in grocery stores today is not food, but overly processed, artificially flavored, dyed and chemically infused ‘food like products.’
- The Western diet now consists of “lots of processed foods and meat, lots of added fat and sugar, lots of everything–except vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.”
- We are overfed and undernourished for the first time in history.
- We have become an unhealthy population preoccupied with nutrition and diet and the idea of eating healthily.
- Four of the top ten causes of death today are chronic diseases with well-established links to diet: coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and cancer.
- We have become alienated and confused and no longer think in terms of eating meat, grains and veggies, but their chemical components: proteins, fats, carbohydrates, saturated fats, omega 3s, trans-fats, etc.
He strongly believes, “It’s time to return to tradition, common sense and intuition, our senses, and the wisdom of mom and grandma. We can learn a lot more about eating from history, culture and tradition than science because whole foods are proving to provide much more than just the sum of their parts.”
The rise of the organic movement, and local agricultural renaissance underway across the country allows us to opt out of the conventional food system. Eaters now have real choices. Once again we have real food to eat. And all I can say is hurray for that.
In Defense of Food Healthy Eating Guidelines
He further defines his seven word eating food philosophy with the following guidelines:
- Don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.
- Avoid food products containing ingredients that are unfamiliar, unpronounceable, more than five in number or that include high fructose corn syrup.
- Shop the peripheries of the supermarket and stay out of the middle.
- Get out of the supermarket and instead visit as much as possible farmers markets, CSAs, farm stands, etc.
- Eat mostly plants, especially leaves–they are full of phytonutrients.
- Eat small amounts of meat, treating it more as a flavoring or condiment for the plants.
- You are what you eat and what you eats eats too–think grass fed meats and free range organic poultry.
- Eat wild foods when you can.
- Take supplements. People who take supplements tend to be healthier overall.
- Eat like the French or the Italians of the Japanese, or the Indians or the Greeks…a traditional diet of real foods. Regard nontraditional foods with skepticism.
- Don’t look for the magic bullet. Eat a wide variety of foods.
- Have a glass of wine with dinner if you want.
- Pay more and eat less. Eat food of a higher quality and in less quantity.
- Eat meals at the table not at the desk or in front of television.
- Don’t get your fuel from the same place your car does.
- Try not to eat alone.
- Eat slowly and enjoy your food–it should be pleasurable.
- Cook, and if you can, plant a garden.
And there you have it. A simple nourished way to eat, according to Michael Pollan.
What do you think? Is it realistic? Would it work for you? I’d love to get your thoughts on In Defense of Food!
*PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® calculated by Simple Nourished Living; Not endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc. All recipe ingredients except optional items included in determining nutritional estimates. SmartPoints® values calculated WITHOUT Weight Watchers Zero Points fruits and vegetables using the WW Recipe Builder.
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