"What the Soviet Union was to the ideology of Marxism, the Low-Fat Campaign is to the ideology of nutritionism -- its supreme test and as now is coming clear, its most abject failure. You can argue, as some diehards will do, that the problem was one of faulty execution or you can accept that the underlying tenets of the ideology contained the seeds of the eventual disaster." (p. 41)

Ok, yes, just yesterday I was all "whine, bleh, me-me-me, I can't find a good book to read, bleh bleh."

But today I am reading Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food.

It may be changing my life. I mean, we can't be sure yet, since it's been just about 24 hours. But you know how I'm not at all prone to being over dramatic, so chances are my life is in fact changing.

Ok, let's get serious here.

Pollan's a great writer; within the introduction of his book, he manages to whisk the reader through the last 50 years of eating food in North America. He explains the ideology of "nutritionism," and -- frankly -- makes you a bit queasy about all the crap you've been ignoring on the ingredients list of virtually anything you'd find in a grocery store freezer. Actually, if the lists of things you can't pronounce don't make you queasy enough, he walks you through all the things fed to pigs, cows and chickens to nutrient-up your pork, beef and eggs.

Now, the manifesto part is summed up in the first line of the book and on the cover of the paperback: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." But these simple words of advice do not actually signal the start of a book that is going to talk down to you. This is a work of journalism written for wide public access, and if anything it's an order not to reorganize your diet (necessarily) but to rethink how and what you eat.

Fascinating stuff.

By the way, other reads to consider if you're with me on this track?

In Edmonton, We eat together, by Julianna Mimande and Gabe Wong -- a book not just about eating locally, but about Alberta growers and producers.

And, in general, I'm pretty excited about Sophie Dahl's Miss Dahl's Voluptuous Delights, though have yet to pick it up.

1 comment:

erin said...

If you like "In Defense of Food", you really should read "The Omnivore's Dilemma", his previous book. A little meatier (no pun intended) in terms of research and content, but all the more illuminating.

Anyone else's opinions if they've read it?