In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto
Michael Pollan says it succinctly when he states “We’re consuming edible, food-like substances; products of food science, NOT of nature”.[i] This is a profound substance and theme, and very much describes the reality of the food industry for the past several years. He further describes the fact that today’s supermarkets display a “daunting dietary landscape”[ii], and that the more we as consumer concern ourselves with our nutrition, the less healthy we actually become.
With a number of the main causes of death today being the result of chronic diseases that are directly linked to diet, consumers must pay attention. Michael Pollan rightfully stresses that “the whole point of eating is to maintain and promote bodily health, as opposed to pleasure, sociality or identity”.[iii]
This statement resonated with me strongly, as it is so very true. All too often, people are indulging in far too much of unhealthy foods to counteract emotions they are feeling and moods they are displaying. Many social outings, meetings and celebrations typically involve food and beverages (including alcohol); it is challenging to resist the temptation to overdue it in these situations. Particular foods/meals/beverages are associated with the identity or image people wish to portray to others, which is also unnecessary.
Pollan emphasizes the fact that “nutrient-by-nutrient” nutrition science involves removing the nutrient out of the context of the food, the food out of the context of the diet, and the diet of out context of the lifestyle. He describes how this reductionist approach to food science is not only simple and mechanical, but misleading. Instead, he reinforces that fact that all nutrients exist in dynamic relation to one another, seeing it as a synergistic system. Therefore, Michael Pollan states his food philosophy bluntly: “Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants.”[iv]
In order to experience a paradigm shift here, consumers are significantly in need of an entirely new way of thinking about eating.
[i]-[iv] Pollan, M. (2008). In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto. New York, NY: Penguin Press.