My Mom sent me a link to a documentary called “In Defense of Food” but the video wouldn’t work on my browser. So I searched for it on youtube and found this talk by the same name, by the author of “In Defense of Food”, Michael Pollan, that was super interesting!
What I learned from “In Defense of Food” talk by Michael Pollan:
1. We in America are puritanical in our view of all foods as either good or bad. This is perhaps because of our Puritan roots. We eat for nutrition rather than social connection and enjoyment.
2. In the 50’s when the link between saturated fats and heart disease came out, the FDA put out a Public Service Announcement to “Eat less beef”. The cattle industry lobbied and had that changed to: “Choose more meats that are lower in saturated fats”.
This set a precedent to talk about all future scientific findings about food without mentioning actual whole foods but only the nutrients concerned. Instead of “eat more fruits and vegetables” which were found to fight cancer, they put out “eat more vitamin C, anti-oxidants and beta carotene”.
This was all very confusing for the average person. And it was also the birth of “Nutrientism”. Nutrients are invisible abstract things to fear or covet, making nutrientism almost a religion.
We always have to have a nutrient good-guy of the moment, and a nutrient bad-guy of the moment. And they often change!
3. Processed foods masquerade as healthy foods because the food industry changes their make-up to reflect the latest fads, slapping a label on them announcing “Low-Fat, High Fiber” or “Gluten-Free, Fortified with anti-oxidants” thereby making it look like these empty calories are the healthy foods to eat. Meanwhile the true healthy foods, the fruits and vegetables, sit quietly in the produce section like unsung heroes.
4. It’s clear that humans can adapt to many different kinds of diets and the variety of diets around the world are pretty healthy. The one diet that we have not been able to adapt to is the processed food diet of America. Our diet causes heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
5. The rules of healthy eating are simple….
– Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.
– Shop from the perimeter of the supermarket, not the aisles (The perimeter has the perishable foods. The aisles have the foods that don’t go bad, because not even the micro-organisms that break foods down are interested in them or recognize them as food).
– Only buy things your great-grandmother would recognize as food.
If anyone finds the documentary by the same title as this book to watch online, I’d love it if you could post a link to it in the comments! I’m going to read the book too eventually, as it sounds both important and inspiring!
You can find the book “In Defense of Food” on Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and other book sellers online.