I have not read a book for pleasure in a long time. Finally, I figured out my ipod (who said Apple programs were user friendly?) and loaded the audio book In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. It is so refreshing to hear a voice defending real food against the “edible food-like substances” of our time. Pollan advises a simple diet of eating high quality real food that consists mostly of plants. There are no restrictions in the way of real food; if you love potatoes, eat them every day. If you hate eggplant, you never have to eat one again and you can still be entirely healthy. The obvious issue with our society is HOW things are grown, raise, formulated and processed.
My favorite quote so far is “…a health claim on a food product is a strong indication it's not really food." This is referring to A) it is in a box/bag to advertise a claim and B) the claims are “low fat, no cholesterol, heart healthy, good source of whole grain, sugar free and high fiber. All of these latter claims are slapped on packages of fake food that can be synthetically altered to make such claims.
A great disservice has been done to food. Scientists create synthetic beta carotene and call it a carrot. Whether using this to create a vitamin or enriching an “edible food-like substance,” it is in direct violation of God’s creation and in turn our very bodies. Conspiring men believe and are good at making others believe that they can make foods better than nature. Our society is brainwashed into thinking fake foods are better than the real thing because they can formulate it and reformulate it to fit the fad of the season.
There was a really interesting section in the book where it talks about the evolution of food labeling. From 1938 to 1973 the term “imitation” was used on the product labels of fake foods posing as a real one. The FDA changed this law to one of broader interpretation; “as long as the new fake food were engineered to be nutritionally equivalent to the real article, they could no longer be considered fake.” This is when traditional grocery items like bread and yogurt were reformulated from a simple 2 to 5 ingredient lists to recipes containing 30 plus ingredients.
When I was growing up, my poor mother didn’t stand a chance, it was impossible to get foods grown without synthetic chemicals and pastured animals raised without pharmaceutical. Even most people growing/raising their own, had no idea it would be wise to avoid such mainstream practices. It is such a blessing in our day to be able to obtain real, high quality food. In Defense of Food reminds us that you can “Vote with your forks!” Support local, organic farmers and local, organic farmers will become more accessible.