In Defense of Food

I have wanted to review this amazing work since I started reading it. This perspective seems extremely valuable to me in a world dominated by the "food industry". This book changed the way I think about food.

Michael Pollan starts his book, In Defense of Food by discussing the fact that we worry so much about food in the U.S. We talk a lot about calories, or fat content, or good and bad fats, etc. And where has this gotten us? He discusses how the U.S. is more obese than ever, and even those who worry all the time are having a hard to following the "rules" given to us by nutritionists.

His advice, "Eat food," Pollan advises. "Not too much. Mostly plants." And quit fretting. "No people on earth worry more about the health consequences of their food choices than we Americans do -- and no people suffer from as many diet-related health problems," Pollan writes. "We are becoming a nation of orthorexics: people with an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating."

Pollan talks about how the food industry has a reductionist way of viewing food, as a series of nutrients. The problem is our body does not work by this series of rules that scientist, with very little evidence to build their case on, have created. Your body does not like to digest individual nutrients, it likes to digest food.
We need to be giving our bodies more real food. By real food I mean whole grains, fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, and small amounts of fresh meats. These are really the only rules to live by. It doesn't need to be about what you cannot have to be healthy. It means that there are a whole variety of foods we have forgotten (even though they are delicious) and need to bring back in our diets. 

The less we worry about getting enough antioxidants and the more we worry about eating more fruits and vegetables the better off we will be. The food industry is finding very crafty ways to make processed foods look healthier, by adding nutrients that we typically associate with health. 

Also, he talks about dieting, and this is something I continue to advocate: It doesn't work. If you want to lose weight for good you are going to need to make small lifestyle changes that will be lasting changes. Dieting is all about what you cant have, which makes it difficult and frustrating. Being healthy is all about what you can have. 

For the last month or so I have made it a goal to cook with more vegetables. I am amazed at some of the things I have been missing out on the last couple years! (yellow and orange peppers with hummus are incredible). Lifestyle changes can be things like never searching for a close parking spot, or only snacking on fruits and veggies. Do whatever is best for you, because lifestyle changes will help you feel infinitely better and help you live a healthier, longer life. 

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