Brain Food

December 31, 2008

I recently finished the book “In Defense of Food- An Eater’s Manifesto” by Michael Pollan. As 2009 is fast approaching, it is a good time to re-evaluate how we treat our bodies in terms of health and the prevention of diseases.

I loved this book. It not only emphasizes what I find important- whole and natural ingredients, it’s based in the science of food. Michael Pollan does a great job in terms of explaining the science of food without boring me. It’s full of facts and studies, but the overarching theme resides in simplicity. He encourages readers to search for whole natural foods, including lots of fruits and vegetabes, not food-like substances that are currently in grocery stores. Even if that item is “organic”, if it has more than 5 ingredients, it is not worth going into your mouth. Although, I have to admit, I do not think that I would be able to follow his philosophy completely, it did open my eyes to certain facts I didn’t know.

Here are some tidbits:

-People who eat the way we do in the West suffer substantially higher rates of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and obesity than people eating any number of traditional diets.

-Researchers have been on hand to witness the arrival of Western diseases in isolated populations. Some noted that Western diseases followed closely on the heels of the arrival of Western foods, particularly refined flour and sugar and other kinds of “store food.”

-Nutritionism is a farse- do not fall into the trap of divorcing vitamins from the whole foods in which they reside. For instance, a study says that not one of the nutrients alone can explain the benefits of whole grain foods- the study could not explain the improved health of the whole grain eater. Various grains and parts act synergistically.


My synopsis doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the information in this book. I encourage you to buy or check the library for this book or his other book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma. These books will shed light on aspects of nutritionism and the modern diet that you may have never thought of. I will continue to pay heed to his advice regarding sugar and processed foods, by limiting those in my diet.


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Other posts you may enjoy:

  1. The China Study
  2. Queen of Fats- The Omega 3
  3. Food Quiz
  4. Food Rules by Michael Pollan
  5. Forget food rules?

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