In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto Paperback – Apr 28 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Pollan provides another shocking yet essential treatise on the industrialized Western diet and its detrimental effects on our bodies and culture. Here he lays siege to the food industry and scientists' attempts to reduce food and the cultural practices of eating into bite-size concepts known as nutrients, and contemplates the follies of doing so. As an increasing number of Americans are overfed and undernourished, Pollan makes a strong argument for serious reconsideration of our eating habits and casts a suspicious eye on the food industry and its more pernicious and misleading practices. Listeners will undoubtedly find themselves reconsidering their own eating habits. Scott Brick, who narrated Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma, carries forward the same tone and consistency, thus creating a narrative continuity between the two books. Brick renders the text with an expert's skill, delivering well-timed pauses and accurate emphasis. He executes Pollan's asides and sarcasm with an uncanny ability that makes listening infinitely better than reading. So compelling is his tone, listeners may have trouble discerning whether Brick's conviction or talent drives his powerful performance.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
" Michael Pollan [is the] designated repository for the nation's food conscience."
-Frank Bruni, The New York Times
" A remarkable volume . . . engrossing . . . [Pollan] offers those prescriptions Americans so desperately crave."
-The Washington Post
"A tough, witty, cogent rebuttal to the proposition that food can be redced to its nutritional components without the loss of something essential... [a] lively, invaluable book." --Janet Maslin, The New York TImes
" In Defense of Food is written with Pollan's customary bite, ringing clarity and brilliance at connecting the dots."
-The Seattle Times
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Top Customer Reviews
Our curse is processed food. The dieting industry completely distorted our feeding process. Our desire to improve everything and to separate 'needed' ingredients from the 'unneeded' ones leads us to refining most of our food products. However, our artificially 'improved' food only seemingly has the same nutritious qualities as natural food. Artificial and natural foods have as little in common as silk roses with real ones.
Processed food is easily obtainable, doesn't require much work to prepare, and, unfortunately, it is often also addictive. At the same time it is full of calories with very small nutritional content.
Like "The Omnivore's Dilemma", Pollan's new book is indeed eye-opening. It makes us think twice about what we are going to put into our mouths the next time we eat. For more reading about the danger of refined foods I strongly recommend "Can We Live 150 Years" - another book devoted to living in agreement with nature, and revealing the secrets of healthy diet.
Pollan can be funny at times, always easy to understand and to the point. I highly recommend this for anyone living in North America who eats food.
Unlike "Omnivore's Dilemma" which was more of an exploration of the food that is on the typical North American dinner table. "In Defense of Food" is more of a prescription for healthy eating, and a natural follow-up to Pollan's excellent investigative work in "Omnivore's Dillemma".
Essentially, Pollan's argument is that we should eat less and eat mostly fresh vegetables bought at the farmer's market. Nothing fascinating there, but Pollan goes into depth to prove why the current North American diet is the absolutely worst diet humankind could have ever come up with.
Overall, I think most people will enjoy reading "In Defense of Food" more than "Omnivore's Dilemma" simply because it is more concise and has a direct message as opposed to the exploratory work that Pollan goes into with "Omnivore's Dilemma".
Considering the subject matter -nutritionism- Pollan has a light touch, a very non-lecturing way of dealing with the most pressing of issues. While he backs up his conjectures (because, let's face it, *everything* in this field is conjecture, not the least of which what science tells us) with references, he doesn't get bogged down. The tone is serious...yet the delivery quite...well, 'digestible'.
All the way through reading 'Defense', I found myself a) shaking my head, b) feeling angry, sad, frustrated, and c) wondering what the average person's reaction would be. Because over the past few years, I've found myself walking a particular, mostly divergent path when it comes to certain points-of-view. I am not a materialistic consume-a-lot consumer. I do not see the automobile as being an acceptable core value. I have strident views regarding fitness and health. And I see what Pollan talks about as paramount in our world; the economy, the environment...none of it will matter unless we effect a paradigm shift in the way we eat. Pollan provides enough to chew on here for the necessary dialogue to begin.
We have, in many ways, been sold a bill of goods regarding food. And at the heart of it, the equivalent of the 'military-industrial complex' that has brought about the world we live in today in a war-sense. Behind this 'Western diet' effort, the scientists, the media and the government.Read more ›
I have it since three weeks and read it already twice...
The book advocates a rejection of 'nutritionism' and reductionist science, with its over emphasis on breaking down the parts of food to chemical properties and expecting to be able to understand food piece by piece. But, like most of nature, things are not built like machines with interchangeable parts; instead they are a set of intricate and complex symbiotic relationships, irreducible to simple components that can be added or subtracted at whim by the food industry.
Pollan does fall into his own trap, when discussing the benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids, but acknowledges this seeming contradiction to his argument.
Pollan also advocates a return to food culture, rather than seeing food as simply an annoyance that must be dealt with a few times a day. Sit at a table, he says. Sit with other people. Enjoy your food slowly. All this is excellent advice.
Slowly but surely it seems our society is coming to recognize the importance of food and food culture, seeing food as a way to connect ourselves to nature and enjoy ourselves while doing it. Hopefully this book will speed up the process a bit.
Most recent customer reviews
This is an excellent discussion of the state of our food industry, and has practical suggestions on how it can be improved. Recommended.Published 3 days ago by Pat Marrion
Great response to The Omnivore's Dilemma. Michael Pollan is a great storyteller and journalist.Published 3 days ago by Amazon Customer
It's not often you read something which forms such a deep and lasting impression. This book is wonderfully written, humorous, thought-provoking, and well worth reading. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jen
A great analysis of the food industry , how we got to this ( rather sad ) state of un-nutrition or even anti-nutrition , and what you should do about it. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Big Bill