In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, published by Penguin Press and written by Michael Pollan addresses the fact that we truly are what we eat.
And what we eat can be a cause of health problems or can benefit us with great health.
Pollan begin In Defense of Food by delving in to the history of how nutrition and compounds in food where discovered. In the early 19th century, an English doctor, William Prout, identified protein, fat, and carbohydrates are three components of foods. Not longer after, renowned German scientist, Just von Lebig, adding to Prout’s work by discovering minerals in foods and how food becomes energy our bodies use. It was not, however, until 1912 that Casimir Fund added the missing link by identifying vitamins in the foods we eat.
Back in 1912, people ate very healthy food. It was grown in gardens, often in the home’s kitchen garden, and the person eating it knew how it had been grown. Staples were flour, salt, a few seasonings, butter, flour, corn meal, and sugar. Today, the labels of our foods are so complex that even when read, we don’t understand what those things we can’t pronounce are and why they are in our food.
The government regulations concerning what can be contained in our foods and considered nutrients has changed our foods from whole foods to consumables that have who-knows-what inside them. Pollan advocates in In Defense of Food that we must strive to know what is in our food and avoid added sugar and added fats, no matter what name they may be hidden under on the label. He advocates avoiding refined carbohydrates of all kinds because they are tied directly to development of disorders such as heart disease, diabetes, and even some forms of cancer.
The best part of In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto is that Michael Pollan offers practical solutions to help a person learn how to eat a diet of natural foods that do not contain all the bad stuff so many foods do. Sure, you aren’t going to be popping as many meals in the microwave, but then is that small time savings really worth dying over at an early age? I don’t think so.
There are so many books out there that suggest you eat this way or that way and they all suggest conflicting practices. Pollan’s In Defense of Food is just the latest of his many books about food, and I find his work very consistent and believable. It is also, once you read and understand it, simply a matter of learning how to eat a common sense diet as did the people in prior generations who ate food instead of strangely named food additives and processed nutrients.
I recommend In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan to everyone. Americans are becoming too fat and that is a proven fact. Even our children are becoming fat and even obese. Disease is on the climb in all age groups. By learning how to eat foods that should go into our bodies rather than eating food lacking any form of nutritional merit, we can easily change bad eating habits into a healthy eating pattern which may promote weight lose without even trying. You will feel better and perhaps also find the motivation to get some exercise to really get in good health.