The book’s title gives a summary of the concepts explored in the book. Pollan creatively writes about nutrition to make the society acknowledge the need of assuming a habit of healthy living. In natural foods, the author means unprocessed food unlike the commonly consumed by the current generation that are highly processed. The author refers to modern day food as food- like substances. People eat these substances because they are edible and food-like (Pollan, 51). Pollan presents the modern day worry of food nutrition, regarding it as the American Paradox. He observes that the more people worry themselves about nutrition and their body health; the more they tend to become less healthy. The author claims that most people today eat in their cars or eat alone. He observes that such eating habits lead to unhealthy lifestyles. This paper reviews the book, “In Defense of Food” while presenting the Pollan’s point of view on food and the ecosystem.
Michael Pollan informs the readers that eating habits have changed over time. He persuades the readers to go back to the old eating habits for their nutritional value. The author claims that today people can break down grains of wheat and corn, but cannot reconstruct these grains (Pollan, 20). Pollan also informs the readers that today the people reduce food to its components, but they cannot put take it back to its original form. The book highlights that food sum up to different parts. He claims that different nutrients have varying effects on the human body and that scientists can measure the effects of every single nutrient from food. The author claims that people eat so that they can maintain good health. In this content, he guides that people should seek advice for eating habits.
Pollan claims that nutritionists fail to shed light about these facts to the public. By failing to provide such information researchers aim at creating confusion and, they succeed at this (Pollan, 61). He persuades the readers to watch on their nutrition by following simple practices. He asks readers never to eat any food element that their great grandmother would not recognize. He also advices the readers to avoid eating food products that claim to have high nutritional and health value. Pollan urges the reader to become vitamin conscious but never to subscribe to vitamin supplements. He also asks the reader to eat food, but not too much. He advocated for plants. He claims that most people purchase his book because they doubt that they have a health food culture. Pollan says that food-processing companies control the diet in America. He gives the case of Senator McGovern who lost his seat due to his push for a policy regulating meat consumption. Beef processing companies made the Senator unpopular which contributed to him losing his seat.
According to the Pollan, macronutrient’s war is still identifiable in the modern world. Nutritionism has continued to confuse many people as they follow the advice from their nutritionist, which continues to change every day (Pollan, 28). It started with the war on saturated fat. Today the war on carbohydrates has taken center stage. He claims that nutritionists continuously create theories regarding different foods and their health benefits. This information has created an eating disorder known as orthorexia. He claims that people today have an unhealthy obsession. This unhealthy obsession revolves around eating healthy food. He claims that bodies like the F.D.A continue to approve foods, which have not undergone valid testing. For this reason, people continue to feed on unhealthy diets. For example, the F.D.A approved corn oil because it does not increase the number of calories in one’s body. However, they failed to consider the poisons in the diet from corn oil. He claims that diabetes campaigns have not created a diabetes free generation. These campaigns have continued to develop the diabetes industry. Pollan persuades the readers to focus on the reductive effects in food science and recognize the ability to make errors in research. He advocates for local basic foods, which do not go through processing. He persuades the readers and the American population in general to spend more time and money on food. The author also persuades the readers to abandon fast foods in exchange for traditional meals. He mostly advocates for plant nutrition. Plant nutrition entails consuming plants in the diet and increasing the number of plants as compared to meat in a person’s diet.
Pollan claims that food companies have caused a public confusion on nutrition. He presents nutritionism as the root of many nutrition problems in today’s society. The generations that existed long ago did not have nutritionists (Pollan, 34). They rarely consumed processed foods. These people had good health and rarely suffered from health and lifestyle diseases. The rise of nutritionism has caused public confusion about different foods. As communities began the process of civilization these health problems became rampant. Civilizations lead to the innovations in food processing. People began considering processed food as cheaper food compared to fresh food from the farm. The process of civilization did not take place in agriculture. Populations increased at a fast rate and this created the need to produce food faster. Researchers developed mechanisms, which produced food at a faster rate than the natural process. This led to genetic modification of food to increase the growth rate. Processed foods contain a high rate of processed sugars. The process of processing foods also reduces the micronutrients in the food. Therefore, the food seizes to exist as health food with nutrients and just exists as edible substances.
Individuals can improve the current food system by aiming to consume less of processed foods and to consume more of fresh foods. People can achieve this by investing in backyard farms, which will cost little capital (Schlosser, 25). Every household should aim at producing thirty percent of the food they consume in their back yard. This will ensure that they consume healthy fresh, unprocessed foods. This will also reduce their intake of processed sugars by thirty percent. Secondly, every neighborhood should have and active grocery store. This grocery store will provide fresh produce to the community that surrounds it (Maslin 4). Grocery stores will provide access to fresh products that take long to produce in the backyard gardens. They will also provide access to fresh products to households that do not have their own gardens. Every neighborhood should aim to replace the fast food joints with grocery stores and fresh food outlets (Schlosser, and Charles, 34). The project may take long; people should invest in fresh food outlets to have a higher ratio as compared to fast food outlets. This will provide fresh food to the communities especially working communities. In such communities, most people take fast food for lunch because of their tight work schedules. Fresh food stores will provide an alternative for this.
Finally, organizations like F.D.A should provide clear and valid information regarding nutrition. These organizations and nutritionist should conduct research on nutrition without pressure from food processing companies (Pollan, 36). This will allow them to provide valid and useful information to the public. The undertaking is essential in improving nutrition for the public.
Pollan explores the changes in health and attributes them to the consumption of processed foods. He urges the readers to consume fresh plant-based food and reduce their meat consumption. The author blames the changes in health on nutritionism. He claims that nutritionists have changed peoples eating habits. People should understand that they form a part of the ecosystem. In this context, individuals should live in a way that balances the ecosystem.
Maslin, Janet. "Obsessed With Nutrition? That's an Eating Disorder." The New York Times. The New York Times, 2 Jan. 2008. Web. 31 Mar. 2014. <http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/03/books/03masl.html>.
Pollan, Michael. In defense of food: an eater's manifesto. New York: Penguin Press, 2008. Print.
Schlosser, Eric. Fast food nation: the dark side of the all-American meal. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2001. Print.
Schlosser, Eric, and Charles Wilson. Chew on this: everything you don't want to know about fast food. Boston [Mass.: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2006. Print.
Yadav, P. R., and Shubhrata R. Mishra. Human ecology. New Delhi: Discovery Publishing House, 2004. Print.