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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Independent author and amateur beefcake

Saturday, June 2, 2012

In Defense Of Food - Michael Pollan

We've all watched PBS at some point and have seen the images or listened to the descriptions of what and where our food comes from.  This book's not about that.  It's about what the Man has done to our food and how they've told us what's best, even when they, themselves, aren't sure what 'is' best.

I'm sure the studies and research presented in this book has been cherry picked. Of course it is, why wouldn't it be, Pollan has written this book from his perspective, but I get the feeling that there's more to support his theory than there is the government/corporation. 

Margarine, Omega 3, Low Fat, Free Radicals and Antioxidants are all words/catch phrases that are fairly new to our lexicon.  Why are they new?  Food companies like it when we buy things from them so they've discovered that if we're motivated by health benefits we throw certain items into our shopping basket.  It's an old game and, in the end, we should be above it.  We used to call it snake oil, back in the day, not my day or probably your day but maybe you're great-grandmothers day.  If something has to market itself to us as 'healthy' than is it really 'healthy' or are they just saying it is? 

Anytime someone says...be an independent thinker, I'm all over that.  Michael Pollan, is saying, don't believe all that you read, listen to your gut.  In the eighties we were told to go on a low fat diet.  We replaced those fats with carbs and we've gotten fatter for it.  Our belly, sometimes called our second brain, due to all the nerve endings it contains, doesn't seem to appreciate our newfound diet.  Which makes sense, since for the past thousand years they've been trained to enjoy a traditional diet of all natural fat, protein and carbohydrate.  Pollan's not saying that the Irish should go back to just eating potatoes but he does say that whole/natural foods are better adaptable foods than the synthesized fabricated concoctions we've been eating can be.

The deconstruction of food into nutrients has been man's biggest downfall, so far (don't want to sell us short, after all).  We keep isolating certain aspects of nutrition and saying..."this is the new best thing we've all been missing!" only to find that, after all the dust settles, we were wrong.  Take omegas for example, they loaded us up with Omega 6's when, in the end, it was Omega 3's that had all the health benefits.

This book makes that case that our grandparents knew what they were doing, after all.  Lard was good for us.  Hydrogenated vegetable oil was not.  Nature knows best and man keeps trying to get the drop.  What more do you need to know. 

Eat food, mostly plants, not too much.  Is Pollan's motto.  It makes sense too, once you think about it.

Most plants and animals have been bred to grow quickly, in order to be more profitable.  When, in fact, to be more nutricianable (a word I've just coined) they need to have the time to grow appropriately.  We wouldn't expect our two year olds to know algebra why would we expect our food to have all it's nutrients if it's only had  fragment of the time to absorb them? (okay, bad analogy but I think you get the drift.)  We load up on grains and seeds when it's the plants they turn into that carry all the nutrition.

It's obviously an interesting read, not a long one, I managed it in a few hours, but the information inside of  the covers is profound.  I highly recommend it to anyone that's wondered if yogurt go pops were healthy for your children.  (I think you know the answer to that, btw)

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