Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The State of Food: Michael Pollan

This author, of last year's outstanding The Omnivore's Dilemma, has an article in the nation's paper of record (the "Magazine," actually), which nicely encapsulates many of the problems with the US industrial food system (and make no mistake, "industrial" is the best term here) and the way we eat. If readers are too consumed with other matters to make it through the book, this article is a nice summation of the topic. Pay particular attention to how the food industry, through its lobbyists and bought-and-paid-for representatives in Congress, manipulates official government recommendations on what should constitute healthy eating. Also particularly insightful is the discussion on why "scientific" findings regarding diet are frequently wrong. Towards the end, Pollan has some rules or suggestions on what to eat (which is what we really want to know, isn't it?):
1. Don’t eat anything your great-great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.
2. Avoid even those food products that come bearing health claims.
3. Especially avoid food products containing ingredients that are a) unfamiliar, b) unpronounceable c) more than five in number — or that contain high-fructose corn syrup.
4. Get out of the supermarket whenever possible.
5. Pay more, eat less.
6. Eat mostly plants, especially leaves.
7. Eat more like the French. Or the Japanese. Or the Italians. Or the Greeks.
8. Cook. And if you can, plant a garden.
9. Eat like an omnivore.
Peruse the article for the explanatory comments. The man really does have a fine perspective on the whole question of what and how we should eat. Since most of the sentient beings in Chaos' world consume food, this is a somewhat burning question (Chaos has always been somewhat of a gourmet, in fact).

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