Sunday, January 24, 2016

In Defense of Food

The wonders of Netflix and other Chromecast-able video apps have brought a wealth of foodie documentaries into my home.  Granted, finding the time to sit and watch is not easy.  However, we did just get a chance to watch PBS’s documentary adaptation of Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food.  Let me say from the outset that I completely understand that many people won’t sit down to read the book and that most who would already have.  With that, I encourage you all to spend 90 minutes with this film.

What Pollan does so skillfully and with ample evidence is illustrate the challenges and the nuances of figuring out what really is healthy to eat.  What was deemed fine in one decade, appears to actually be dangerous in the next (margarine).  What we thought was bad for us, turns out to be somewhat helpful (limited amounts of red meats).  Many things are actually necessary to eat, but dangerous in large quantities.  Making matters more challenging, the food industry loves an opportunity to repackage their wares to meet the latest health and food trends.

Pollan constructs the movie around his eventual conclusions about how we should eat – Eat Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plants.  I like another suggestion mentioned by Marion Nestle in the movie – eat the perimeter of the grocery store and avoid the interior.  Or avoid foods that have packages – think apples, not apple sauce and Apple Jacks, think real poultry, not chicken nuggets.  If we all ate appropriately portioned foods in natural forms we would solve so many health problems.

Though I have seen Pollan speak and have read a few of his books, I found In Defense of Food to be a succinct, user-friendly way to initiate discussion about healthful eating.  In fact, it stays exceptionally true to the book of the same name.  I encourage you all to seek out this documentary and consider not a diet, but new life-long habits.

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