Friday, June 18, 2010

In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan

In Defense of Food
An Eater's Manifesto
by Michael Pollan
I have to say this is some book and would be very difficult to recap in a paragraph. If you are interested in how our western diet has evolved and the progression from whole foods to processed foods than this is a very comprehensive book.
In some respects I was very disturbed by what I read and it really made me think about what I now purchase at the grocery store. The book is due today at the library and as I run thru the pages to recapture some information for the blog I wish that I had time to read it again as I read some portions that are great to read again.
Michael goes to say
" A hallmark of the Western diet is food that is fast, cheap, and easy. Americans spend less than 10 percent of their income on food; they also spend less than a half hour a day preparing meals and little more than an hour enjoying them"
" Foods have long been processed in order to preserve them, as when we pickle or ferment or smoke, but industrial processing aims to do much more than extend shelf life. Today foods are processed in ways specifically designed to sell us more food by pushing our evolutionary buttons- our inborn preferences for sweetness and fat and salt. Tastes great,less filling! could be the the motto for most processed food , which are far more energy dense than whole foods: They contain much less water, fiber and micro nutrients, and generally much more sugar and fat, making them at the same time, to coin a marketing slogan, " More fattening, less nutritious! "
Michael's number on rule: If you grandmother wouldn't recognize the food... don't eat it!
Another wonderful quote from the book:
" Is it a coincidence that as the portion of our income spent on food has declined, spending on health care has soared? In 1960 Americans spend 17.5 percent of their income on food and 5.2 percent of national income on health care. Since then, those numbers have flipped: Spending on food has fallen to 9.9 percent, while spending on health care has climbed to 16 percent of national income. "
Don't you think that spending a little more on healthier food would reduce the amount we spend on health care?
In his last chapter of his book he gives us tips on how to make healthier choices in the types of foods we eat and how we consume our food!
One last mention that stuck with me in the book. He mentions that gas stations are for fueling up your car... not you! How much garbage is sold in those stores attached to the gas station? And yet we see people there every day picking up lunch, snacks, or heaven forbid... energy drinks!
This is a must book to get your hands on.... You can read it cover to cover but then it's perfect to also go back and reference certain sections.

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