In Defense of Food – A Review

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I went to my local library and checked out In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan as a beginning book for me in some offline reading about real food.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was very well researched with several references to important studies on the effects of not eating real food. I actually finished the book in less than a week, so you know it was interesting. It’s been two years since I read a real book cover to cover. Having kids will do that to you. It has to be good to keep me up at night.

Until now, most of the sources I have read about real food have referenced the Weston A. Price foundation as sort of their guideline, if you will, for following a real food diet. Although Pollan references Price a few times in the book, I’m not so sure he is convinced that Price’s way of eating lots of good, healthy fats, soaked grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables is the only way to follow the real food diet.

It’s interesting because Pollan uses references that have studied various cultures of the world where the people are eating different kinds of foods. For example, some cultures consume very little meat and eat mostly plants. Some cultures consume mostly fish and hardly any plants at all. Some cultures consume a wide variety of foods. They all have one thing in common. Their diets sustain them. Their people have much less heart disease, diabetes, and other diseases. The only diet that is not sustaining its people is the Western diet. You probably know what I’m talking about. The processed, packaged, quick, and easy foods that everyone seems to be eating.

The motto of the book is Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. I think it would be hard to argue that this is good advice. The “food” here in the Western world isn’t really food at all. We are eating chemicals that have been assembled in some factory and made to look like food. They trick our bodies into wanting more all while depriving us of nourishment.

Yep, we are a culture full of overweight and malnourished people. I like how Pollan wants us to eat food that our grandmothers or great grandmother’s would recognize. We need to go back to our roots and move away from the factory food for our health and the health of our chlldren!

I learned from this book that if a culture begins eating Western food the experience an unusally high amount of people who suffer from high cholesterol and diabetes. If these same people go back to the culture’s old way of eating they are almost instantly cured of these Western diseases. That says a lot! We need to wake up and realize we are killing ourselves with food!

I am pretty glad that I read this book. I liked the fresh take on eating real food and I guess I was introduced to eating real food in a way that is different than the Weston A. Price foundation. I’m encouraged to explore more and I am definitely reading every label and thinking twice about what I’m preparing my family to eat. We do have a choice in this country. We can eat real food, or we can pour our money into cheap and quick foods that are just going to cause us a host of problems later.


  1. Julie@teachinggoodeaters says:

    I read this book in the summer and was fascinated by his analysis of the focus on “nutrients” vs. “real food.”  

  2. Yes. I really liked how well researched this book was and the analysis on nutrients vs. real food was very thought-provoking!

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