"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma was a fascinating read for me, an exposition of the degradation of our natural resources to fuel and supply a food chain that has left a large share of Americans overweight and suffering from an array of preventable health problems. Pollan says that he then wrote In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto in response to the large number of readers that subsequently asked what they should be eating. How appealing is it to think that the answer is as simple as the catch phrase that wraps the lettuce on the book cover? "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." But of course, if that was the extent of the answer, there would be no book.
Pollan asserts that we have lost our way nutritionally because we have become bogged down in what the author calls "nutritionism," an ideology that contends that the value of food lies in the nutrients it contains rather than the food itself. We select and consume food based upon the assertions of a huge marketing machine designed by the food manufacturing industry. Manufacturing. That's right - too many of us eat manufactured rather than whole foods. Because it boasts words on its labels like "fat-free," "no cholesterol," "whole grains," to name but a few. As Pollan comments about that wasteland of additives that exists in the aisles of the middle of most grocery stores:
"Yet as a general rule it's a whole lot easier to slap a health claim on a box of sugary cereal than on a raw potato or a carrot, with the perverse result that the most healthful foods in the supermarket sit there quietly in the produce section, silent as stroke victims, while a few aisles over in Cereal the Cocoa Puffs and Lucky Charms are screaming their newfound " whole- grain goodness" to the rafters. Watch out for those health claims."