Wednesday, September 09, 2009

In Defense of Food

In Defense of Food, an Eater's Manifesto, by Michael Pollan. (author of the Omnivore's Dilemma).

Eat real food, says Pollan, avoid processed. Recognize that "nutritionism" is about applying reductionist thinking and analysis, looking for that simple rule rather than at the whole organism (the whole person, in his/her natural eating habitat). The prime motive of the food industry is profit (whatever generates the highest ROI), and there is more profit in specialization and marketing than there is in general health and well-being. Omega-3's (is it merely chance that it sounds like - OMG three?) are good for you (pay no attention to the mercury accumulated in the fish, or the pesticides in the orchard sprays).

The lipid hypothesis, the carbohydrate hypothesis, and the "omega-3 cult", are simplistic reductionist approaches supported by "clinical studies". If I borrow a clinic, I can do a clinical study. Robert has a favorite saying: "For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong,--H.L. Mencken ".

* avoid "food" that contains unfamiliar, unpronounceable, contain more than five ingredients, or that contain corn syrup.
* avoid "food" that makes health claims. the American Heart Association bestows its approval on Lucky Charms, Cocoa Puffs, etc.
* shop the perimeter of the supermarket, stay out of the middle - processed foods dominate the center - even better, escape the supermarket entirely
* eat plants
* you are what you eat eats too - industrial beef loaded with ... look it up (or live with your illusions)
* avoid overeating
* eat meals, slowly, at a table (desk is not a table), preferably not alone

Please read this book for yourself. Some of the comments do not necessarily reflect the authori's position and are extrapolated with my personal bias. Reserve it at the library; it's a quick read.