Last week, Michael Pollan (author of the acclaimed The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
) did an interview with NPR's Science Friday in order to discuss his new book, In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto
, whose contents can be summed up as, "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."
Hidden in those seven words is an indictment of "Nutritionism," the philosophy that says that food must be approached as a scientific challenge, valued for its nutrients, which can be delivered in purer, industrialized (and highly profitable) forms in packaged, prepared dishes and ingredients.
Pollan makes a convincing case -- citing credible research -- that the science behind nutritionism is, at best, "promising" but not ready for primetime (he likens it to sixteenth century surgery: fascinating but not the kind of thing you want to be on the receiving end of). He explains how nutritionism has captured politics, so that the FDA isn't allowed to say, "Eat less red meat," but is backed into saying, "Make eating choices that are lower in saturated fats," prompting an industry to spring up around further industrialization of food to remove saturated fats. Nevermind that the science says, "Eat less red meat" -- by demonizing a nutrient, a blow to the cattle-ranchers is turned into an opportunity to create even greater markups on their product by charging a premium for engineered, "low in saturated fats" beef.
Pollan has a set of simple rules for eating that really resonate: "Shop the edges of the grocery store, not the middle," "Eat things your great grandmother might have eaten," "Eat nothing that bears a health or nutritional claim," and so on.
It's a delightful interview and it's led me to ordering the audiobook to listen to on my morning walks.
Link to In Defense of Food
Modern civilization has all but disappeared. It falls to a fearless, dedicated and slap-stick bunch known as Post-Apocalyptic Nomadic Warriors to help humanity recover. With help like this, you might be better off on your own! Benjamin Wallace’s first installment in the Duck and Cover series is a quick and witty read. We find America […]
This beautiful collection of all twenty paintings, and eight drawings, assigned to Hieronymus Bosch, may be replacing the Codex Seraphinianus on my coffee table for a bit. These surreal masterpieces by Netherlandish artist Jheronimus van Aken, better known as Hieronymus Bosch, are reproduced beautifully, on lovely paper, and are thoughtfully arranged. Some pieces, such as […]
Is “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” actually about psychedelic drugs, British colonialism, or penis envy? Depends who you ask. At the BBC, Hephzibah Anderson surveys 150 years of weird readings of Lewis Carroll’s classic book. From Anderson’s essay: Re-examining the text, critics found plenty of gynaecological imagery, from the rabbit hole itself to the curtain that […]
Folks used to rely on alarms to protect their home – and before that, the family dog. Now, anyone looking to guard their homes can choose from some high-tech options, including the Amaryllo iCamPRO FHD Home Security Camera (now just $219 in the Boing Boing Store).In fact, this 2015 CES “Best of Innovation” award-winner boasts so many features, it’s […]
If you want a quality vaping experience, it’s usually going to cost you. Vaporizers that deliver a fast, controlled burn will set you back up to $300, which is why the FEZ Vaporizer (now just $99) is an absolute steal.The FEZ dry herb pen does everything that more expensive models handle at a reduced price. It heats up […]
Taking pictures can be challenging. There are a million factors that can influence each shot you take – and unless you’re a trained photographer, you often just focus, click…and cross your fingers.Of course, you can take some of the ambiguity out of your picture-taking with this Hollywood Art Institute Photography Course & Certification package, now […]