reginadelmar’s #CBR5 review #52 In Defense of Food: An Eaters’ Manifesto by Michael Pollan


I am a fan of Michael Pollan, having read several of his books and heard him speak when he’s in town. I hadn’t read In Defense of Food because I heard him interviewed and attended a lecture right around the time the book was published. At the lecture he brought a shopping bag full of things he’d picked up at a grocery store: green tea infused sodas, yogurt with fiber added, and numerous other manufactured foods. His point was that in the United States we practice “nutritionalism” focusing on particular nutrients rather than whole foods, and eating manufactured foods in the process. This is the theme of the book.  Pollan goes through a history of food science, a description of what we are eating today, and his suggestions for a better way of eating.

The phenomenon of nutritionalism was named in the late 20th century, but has been in practice since the 19th century. Currently the popular “bad” nutrient is the carbohydrate. Athe end of the 20th century it was fat, in the 19th and early 20th century, John Kellogg and others extolled the harm of animal proteins. In general, our food research seeks to isolate certain nutrients and determine their harmful or beneficial effects. This isn’t all bad, science has discovered vitamins and other minerals in food and determined they were necessary. The problem is that this form of reductionism also creates over simplifications in our approach to food. Continue reading

Sophia’s #CBR5 Review #36: Cooked by Michael Pollan

CookedIt was when I saw Michael Pollan on The Colbert Report that I realized he had written another book. I’ve already read The Omnivore’s Dilemma (2006) and In Defense of Food (2008) by Michael Pollan. I’m a fan of books about food and I’ve been impressed by Pollan’s previous book. So, I immediately jumped on my library’s website to join the waiting list for Cooked (2013).

I’ve especially enjoyed Pollans previous books about food. He gives general advice about what to eat and shows in interesting detail where our food comes from while avoiding the driving agenda that mars so many other books on food and nutrition. Instead of drastic requirements, Pollan tends to focus on common sense, and a healthy variety of foods that we can cook ourselves. And that’s where Cooked begins.

Click here for the rest of my review.