Truly, I need to keep on top of current trends, so decided to read two of the recent Michael Pollan books to see what the fuss is about.
"Omnivore's Dilemma" takes the title from the concept that eating can be risky -- is that a good mushroom or will it make me sick? You have to take chances to learn about food, or find some other way to test it. Pollan follows the most common food ingredients through the chain and, ultimately, I think that what he has uncovered is that the Standard American Diet is making us sick.
This isn't exactly news -- Pollan's story and the way he illustrates the food chain, processing and consumption patterns is engaging and moves along at a great pace. It feels more like a description of a personal journey which I think would make this very appealing to a lot of people. It's not very didactic, and there are some funny parts in there. The chapters on hunting and mushroom hunting gave me some giggles.
Bottom line - don't eat processed food, support local farmers, even if they aren't necessarily organic (ask about "pesticide free" produce) and stop eating things that aren't food.
"In Defense of Food" was not nearly as good as Omnivore. It was basically like a beefed up magazine article -- wait, that's exactly what it was. It was a bit of a Cliff notes version of Omnivore, but definitely a good read for people who want to get the basic concepts and aren't
big readers. It also provides easy to follow guidelines for folks who need to be told what to do -- things like "Don't eat anything your great grandmother wouldn't recognize as food," "don't eat anything with more than 5 ingredients or with ingredients you can't identify or pronounce."
Mostly, just eat food, mostly plants, not too much.