“In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto”, written by Michael Pollan. A book that I believe should be on everyone’s “Need to Read” list.

Yes, the same Michael Pollan who wrote the OTHER BEST SELLER, “The Omnivores Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals”. All I can say is this, “concerning food, this guy gets it!”

In the past few years this journalist, science writer, and professor at UC Berkeley, has written two books that I couldn’t agree with more (well, 90% anyway/which is a high percentage for me/I am normally VERY skeptical). If you have any interest in real quality food for yourself or your family, you would be doing yourself a huge disservice by not taking a look at "In Defense Of Food".

Let’s delve into nine note-worthy points of this rather dynamic, yet quite short book (quick read), “In Defense Of Food” (Michael Pollan’s subtitles in quotes):

“Eat Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plants”

Pollan, the “reluctant leader of the real food movement”, summarizes "In Defense Of Food" with this statement. “Eat Food”, and if it has been industrialized, it doesn’t qualify. It must be real, traditional, and recognized as a food a couple hundred years ago. “Not too much”, which obviously runs counter-culture to what is going on in our country to day, but imperative if we are to regain optimal health. “Mostly Plants”, this concept isn’t new either, but if you look at the majority of the healthiest cultures in the world, you begin to understand that they “get it” concerning this most valuable point.

“Pay More, Eat Less”

If you are eating meat products that have had a healthy and nutritious diet and you are consuming fruits and vegetables that have come from fertile soils, YOU WILL BE PAYING MORE. But…you CAN and SHOULD eat less of these highly nutritious foods. One of the predominant reasons we overeat is because of the lack of nutrients available in our daily consumption. If you don’t pay for better quality food now…your body and your checkbook will pay later, guaranteed.

“Don’t Get Your Fuel From The Same Place Your Car Does”

This Sub-Title is one of my favorites, and it is pretty self-explanatory. It amazes me how we put cheaper fuel in our bodies than we do in our vehicles.

“Consult Your Gut”

In the United States we base the amount we eat on extrinsic factors, like; “is the plate or bowl empty?” In other countries, people base the amount they eat on intrinsic factors, like their satiation levels. Since the serving sizes here are so out of whack, this guarantees over-eating. You see, because of these serving sizes, “eat everything on your plate” doesn’t mean what it used to. Unfortunately, most of us are done eating in less than twenty minutes, so we have no mechanism to truly measure “fullness” (it takes at least 20 minutes for the gut to communicate satiation levels to the brain). Some cultures are successful with their meal sizes, and improving their health, by eating only until they are 80% full.

“You Are What What You Eat Eats Too”

The QUALITY of the diet of what you eat eats is hugely important. Cattle and sheep should be eating grass. Salmon and Chickens are NOT vegetarians. How can we receive any benefit from consuming animal products that are not vibrant, let alone extremely unhealthy? Side-Note: People who have issues with Gluten may have difficulty consuming products that are fed diets full of wheat, rye or barley (or anything containing gluten).

“Eat Well-Grown Food From Healthy Soils”

Fruits and Vegetables need a lot more nutrients from the soil than what is provided from chemical fertilizers that only provide NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium). This type of conventional farming will continue to reap high quantitative yields, but the quality (nutrient value) of these crops is practically bankrupt.

“Avoid Food Products That Make Health Statements”

You almost feel bad for all of the real, traditional, and nutritious foods as they must sit silent while all of the “industrialized” food can make claims like; low-fat, heart-healthy, no trans-fat, high-fiber, no cholesterol, etc. It’s so bad (sad actually), it’s almost comical, but…it is NOT funny!

“Get Out Of The Supermarket Whenever Possible”

We need to get back into the practice of actually knowing who is farming our meat, poultry, dairy, vegetable and fruit products. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to occasionally look your favorite farmer in the eye, shake their hand and actually ask them pertinent questions about what they are selling you? A good start is to visit a local farmers market a couple times a month.

“Eat Mostly Plants, Especially Leaves”

Corn and Soy are not leaves, they are considered seeds. Leaves are high in nutrients (including thousands of nutrients we have not identified yet) and low in calories, and seeds are high in calories and low in nutrients.

Lets not be misled, "In Defense Of Food" is focusing on real high quality foods, not the supposed foods that we have been led to believe should dominate our nutritional regimens.


In the book, “In Defense Of Food”, Michael Pollan makes one final point that I believe everyone, young and old, should understand. In nutrition, the parts are NOT greater than the whole (sum). What this means is this, when we break these foods down into macro-nutrients (protein, fat and carbohydrates), vitamins, minerals, secondary nutrients, anti-oxidants, etc. and consume them as such, we lose something that science has not been able to explain; the synergy of how real food works as a whole on giving us optimal health.

Concerning your health: there is no combination of food nutrients (isolated from the food itself) that will be of more valuable to you than consuming the real food in its intended natural state!

I believe we should all stand up and be heard concerning the defense of food, as it is the most important aspect of our health. Remember, if the food isn’t healthy, we won’t be healthy!

Concerning our health, lets be on the offensive in the defense of food!