Do you ever ask someone for his or her opinion merely to hear your own opinion reinforced? This is especially gratifying if you’re asking someone who’s more knowledgeable, respected, or interesting than you are….
Guilty as charged! That’s exactly what I felt like when I finished this book. Ah ha! I told you so! Well, Michael Pollan told us so, but I knew it already….
In Defense of Food is an engagingly written critique of processed foods (and the accompanying industry), the “science” of nutrition, the obsession Americans have with food/nutrition/etc., and the way America eats (both what and how). Pollan is a whole foods advocate, but doesn’t sound as edgy as some whole foods advocates do. He comes across as a man of common sense who is troubled by the inconsistencies and discrepancies he’s learned of in relation to food and how we consume it in America. I found his comments on the necessary, but lamentable, reductionism in nutritional science very interesting and thought-provoking.
At the end of the book, he develops his opening 7 words in more detail: Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants. His approach strikes the reader as both doable and sensible. Even more refreshing, it sounds tasty and enjoyable. I’ve been mulling over some other thoughts related to Pollan’s ideas that I hope to flesh out more eventually on Tarnished Teapot, but for now, I’ll end with the encouragement to everyone to think more about what you eat and how you eat it! Read those nutrition labels, eat your veggies, and slow down….
A final note: Pollan is most definitely coming at this issue from an evolutionary/non-religious standpoint. As one who believes adamantly that God created the world (from nothing) and created humans as the pinnacle of that creation, I must disagree with Pollan’s comments about humans and their diet evolving over time, almost magically. Nonetheless, I do think we, as Christians, have some responsibility to evaluate our lifestyles, including our diets, and make sure we are being good stewards of the earth and ourselves as we seek to glorify our Creator.