Click on the book to go directly to Michael Pollan's website.

Finally finished Michael Pollan’s The Defense of Food (and now well into The Age of Innocence, which I’m reading to keep my daughter company), and I have to say that I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I enjoyed The Omnivore’s Dilemma. It is a worthwhile read, but didn’t have the same kind of narrative pull for me.

I found myself impatiently reading the first 100 pages, wanting to skip ahead to the third section where Pollan explains, in detail, what he means by his eater’s manifesto: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

Even that section wasn’t as exciting as I’d hoped. You know, the whole preaching to the choir business. I already stick to the periphery of the grocery store when shopping, in fact, I avoid shopping at grocery store as much as possible – and try to work around our CSA basket and local Sunday farmer’s market. I did love that the premise of that whole third section was about trying to escape the Western diet. Growing up in an immigrant household, I have a leg up on that one, psychologically at least, because I’d have no problem switching to a full Korean diet anytime.

Good tips I did glean:

  • Avoid food products containing ingredients that are a) unfamiliar b) unpronounceable c) more than five in number (good one!) or that include d) high-fructose corn syrup (oh no! can I really pass on a free Coke from the costco food court?)
  • Eat mostly plants, especially leaves. – This is a hard one for me, but is one that I will really work on in 2010.
  • If you have the space, buy a freezer. – More on CSA chicken and grass-fed beef in future posts.
  • Pay more, eat less. – LOVE THIS CONCEPT. Now I just need to sell it to my husband… Also love the stats: “In 1960 Americans spent 17.5% of their income on food and 5.2% of national income on health care. Since then, those numbers have flipped: Spending on food has fallen to 9.9%, while spending on health care has climbed to 16% of national income.” Pollan’s point? You don’t get healthy by eating cheap food or WE PAY FOR CHEAP FOOD BY SACRIFICING OUR HEALTH.
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