Monday, July 5, 2010

My inspiration Mondays - In Defense of Food

In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. Wow!
This book has shattered many of my pre-held convictions about food. It has called into question things I didn't even realise were open for debate, such as whether eating saturated fat is actually bad for you, and whether eating a rice wafer is good.

It has also helped me realise I have been getting obsessed with food science. Obsessed with all the vitamins and minerals that make up a piece of food, trying to work out which are the best ones to eat to protect us against cancer, heart disease and Alzheimers.

I was starting to think I needed to do a degree in food nutrition just to cook meals for my family. Now I think I need to ignore the standard dogma food scientists and food marketers spout (as most of it benefits them and not us), and get back to cooking the traditional foods of my ancestors. The foods that would have passed down to me in family recipes, had food scientists and marketers not interfered last century and started telling mothers that they know better.

That's where the title In Defense of Food comes from. Michael Pollan is arguing the case for eating real food, as opposed to imitation processed foods. Somewhere in the last 100 years we've been convinced that food processors can make food better for us, by taking out the 'bad' ingredients and adding in more of the 'good' ones. That's how we've been sold margarines with reduced saturated (natural) fats and added trans (transformed/unnatural) fats. Only problem is, our bodies and fake foods don't go well together. We've since discovered the outcomes of eating trans-fats are increased rates of cancer and heart disease.

So Michael Pollan's suggestion. Eat food (real food). Mostly plants. Not too much. And get back to enjoying food culture, where sitting down to eat a meal together with friends and family is about enjoyment, not ticking off a list of dietary requirements.

You'll have to read the book to find out the whys and hows. For further reading along similar veins, check out The Weston A. Price Foundation website.

In Defense of Food is my must-read book of the year. (Animal Vegetable Miracle would be my must-read book of the last three years.)

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