Pollan makes some good points around his "eat food, mostly plants, not too much" theme. I learned a lot about the history of the business of food in America, and how most of our food is crap as a result. It gets a bit too technical at times, but if you are into the local/whole food movement you will get plenty out of this book.
Pollan's got some sound advice in this book. He tries to keep it simple.
But this is not a 'diet" book, It's more a thorough investigation of where the Western world (specifically America) went wrong in our relationship with food, ceding all control of our dinner table to 'experts' and no longer seeing "food" as an idea and cultural experience... but only as fuel... and through the misguided lens of "nutrition."
The first half of the book examines and breaks down the series of cultural moves (politically and capitalistically) that since the 1970s have separated us from our close relationship with "food."
Basically, we no longer see an apple - we see vitamins, calories and nutrients.
We see fat, sugar and antioxidants.
What we eat is no longer in the hands of "Mom" and "Family Tradition" - it's in the hands of Nutrition scientists and the large food conglomerations.
I devoured this book; it is amazing. It's full of all the "common sense" stuff you already know, deep down in your mind, yet don't really think about. It's terrifying and appalling and fascinating to read at the same time. At one point, I started to get panicky about what I could do IMMEDIATELY. Predictably, I feel duped and manipulated by the food industry. I've wanted to grow my own food for a while, but reading this solidified that idea in my head.
Pollan touches on many important issues and introduces ideas I hadn't thought about, including pesticides, food ingredients, and HOW we eat. I loved the discussion of the French Paradox near the end and find myself incorporating a lot of French eating customs into my own meals.
I've always eaten "healthy," with few processed foods, but this made me question the nutrition of the whole foods I purchase. It made me see "nutritionism" in an entirely new light, too. If you love food or even if you have a shaky relationship with it, read this. At the very least, you'll be enlightened on the subject of nutrition. You will naturally change your behavior with this knowledge in your head.
With his characteristic journalist's eye, Pollan takes on the food marketing industry in an attempt to prompt/shock his readers into selecting food more mindfully.
This book is his answer to the question posed in "The Omnivore's Dilemma": Given that our bodies can digest nearly anything, is there an optimum way to eat? Nutritionists give us one answer: all we need is the right balance of macro nutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fats) plus our required vitamins and minerals. A can of Pepsi and a bag of Doritos is nutritionally identical to a banana and an ear of corn, plus a little bit of fat for frying.
Pollan argues that the data from the 40-year Nutritionism experiment is in and the results say the source matters -- perhaps even more than the macronutrients. His answer to the optimum diet question is "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."
Sorry. I'm sure if you're a "foodie," this is the book for you. I wasn't looking for a diet (though I could use one), but I thought this would be "reader friendly." I didn't think it was; I found it heavy going and admit that I skimmed a lot. Guess it just wasn't what I was looking for.
I enjoyed this book a lot. It put into words far better than I could many of the thoughts and feelings I've been having about "Nutritionism" (thinking of food in terms of being a composition of individual micronutrients instead of as, well, an actual whole food that's part of a larger food chain). He very clearly lays out the shortcomings of and damage done by this line of thinking and offers a more helpful alternative. It also plainly stated a lot of the problems and shortcomings of the kinds of research nutritional scientists either prefer or are forced by circumstances to use. Our food system and ways of eating in this country are so screwed up and it's going to take a lot more than individual effort to change that, but his advice to "Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much" is a good place to start.
not as good as the Omnivore's Dilemma, but interesting. very easy to read and it has some interesting points. makes you realize how hard it is to eat perfectly, and find healthy foods, when we are surrounded and tempted by fast food and processed foods. you can read this book in a few days.
Fantastic book. MUST READ! What an eye opener! My mom has been into nutrition her whole life and I was raised in the 50's & 60's eating whole foods, no wonder bread, though thru the years there are many times I have not of course. I am no angel. The information about imitation foods, the FDA, "food products" and "nutrition-ism" is so well stated, interesting, amazing actually and true! As he says...any "ism" is a ideology, not science or a fact!. We think our scientists have discovered all the vitamins that are .... important... critical... but they don't realize they don't know yet...what they don't know.... until they FIND IT! like electricity...it was always there, we just had to discover it. We have - overall- been turned into lab rats for the food companies and medical industry. How to get away from "diets" and normalize eating. Though may try with intermittent fasting. to cleanse the gunk out I think the intermittent fasting could help and then just eating "real food," not too much and more mindfully." Will read this again . am getting a copy to send to my mother & daughter-in-law. Everyone should read this book.