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In Defence of Food: The Myth of Nutrition and the Pleasures of Eating: An Eater's Manifesto [Paperback]

Michael Pollan
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
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Book Description

7 May 2009

Michael Pollan's In Defence of Food is a simple invitation to junk the science, ditch the diet and instead rediscover the joys of eating well.

This book is a celebration of food. By food, Michael Pollan means real, proper, simple food - not the kind that comes in a packet, or has lists of unpronounceable ingredients, or that makes nutritional claims about how healthy it is. More like the kind of food your great-grandmother would recognize.

By following a few pieces of advice (Eat at a table - a desk doesn't count. Don't buy food where you'd buy your petrol!), you will enrich your life and your palate, and enlarge your sense of what it means to be healthy and happy.

It's time to fall in love with food again.

'Brings home the real wonder of eating food'
  Sunday Times

'Instantly makes redundant all diet books and 99 per cent of discussions around healthy eating ... Sense, at last'
  Daily Mail

'Pollan invites us to grab our pots and pans and cook some real food for dinner'
  Time Out

'Read this witty book for a healthier life and diet'
  The Times

'Eminently sensible'
  Fay Maschler, Keynote

'A must-read ... satisfying, rich ... loaded with flavour'
  Sunday Telegraph

For the past twenty years, Michael Pollan has been writing about the places where the human and natural worlds intersect: food, agriculture, gardens, drugs, and architecture. His most recent book, about the ethics and ecology of eating, is The Omnivore's Dilemma, named one of the ten best books of 2006 by the New York Times and the Washington Post. He is also the author of The Botany of Desire, A Place of My Own and Second Nature.


Frequently Bought Together

In Defence of Food: The Myth of Nutrition and the Pleasures of Eating: An Eater's Manifesto + Food Rules: An Eater's Manual + The Omnivore's Dilemma: The Search for a Perfect Meal in a Fast-Food World (reissued)
Price For All Three: 17.97

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (7 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141034726
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141034720
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 12.5 x 19 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,043 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

For the past twenty years, Michael Pollan has been writing about the places where the human and natural worlds intersect: food, agriculture, gardens, drugs, and architecture. His book The Omnivore's Dilemma, about the ethics and ecology of eating, was named one of the ten best books of 2006 by the New York Times and the Washington Post. He is also the author of In Defence of Food, The Botany of Desire, A Place of My Own and Second Nature, and the upcoming Food Rules: An Eater's Manual.

Product Description

Review

'If you're prone to pondering the nutritional advice we're spoon-fed by 'experts', this book is a very necessary antidote' Timeout 'In Defence of Food ... instantly makes redundant all diet books and 99 per cent of discussions around healthy eating' Daily Mail 'Read this witty book for a healthier life and diet' Times 'Eminently sensible' Evening Standard 'His approach is steeped in honesty and self-awareness. His cause is just, his thinking is clear, and his writing is compelling' Washington Post

From the Publisher

From the bestselling author of The Omnivore's Dilemma comes In Defence of Food and the Omnivore's Solution for a new way of eating in the New Year...:


1: Don't eat anything your grandmother wouldn't recognise as food


2: Avoid foods containing ingredients you can't pronounce


3: Don't eat anything that won't eventually rot


4: Avoid food products that carry health claims


5: Shop the peripheries of the supermarket; stay out of the middle


6: Better yet, buy your food somewhere else: farmers' markets or the CSA


7: Pay more, eat less


8: Eat a wide diversity of species


9: Eat food from animals that eat grass


10: Cook and, if you can, grow some of your own food


11: Eat meals and eat them only at tables


12: Eat deliberately, with other people whenever possible, and always with pleasure

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life changing.... really 3 Mar 2008
Format:Hardcover
I heard Mr Pollan on Radio 4, and was impressed. The book is well worth persevering with, it is crammed with well researched information.

This is not a diet book, it is an anti-diet book. It arms you with all the tools you need to make up your own mind about food.

It is easy to become almost evangelical about this book, but it is a really important piece of work. Nutritionalists should not worry, the world still needs you, but this book makes you wonder about the way that major corporations use this information to boost profits.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At last a sensible look at food 25 May 2010
Format:Paperback
What can I say about this book, it is simply superb. What Pollan has done in this book is to bring together all the common sense that been learned about food over the last few thousand years and asks if what we've been doing to foods in the last few decades has really been beneficial.

The book begins by looking at modern food (i.e. processed food) and investigated how this `improved' food has impacted upon the health of the last few generations. The results show just how the food we are eating really is affecting our health despite all the miraculous health claims the packaging may have been making. But Pollan goes on to look at the even bigger picture of how this same food may be affecting more than just health, but behaviour of people and just how the "ready in 20 mins" food may effect the family unit too. He goes on to expose some of the lies that the food industries are making with their health claims and just how the inclusion, or exclusion, of certain vitamins, oils etc can actually be having adverse effects upon our health.

I must admit you begin to feel a little hopeless at this point, however this is where the real brilliance begins.

In the final third of the book Pollan explains how we can reclaim the power over our diets and health. He does this, not in some complicated diet, i.e. GI, Atkins, Calorie counting or any of the other ridiculous `weight loss' diets (personal opinion), but by simple easy to follow guidelines (i.e. if a food has more than 5 ingredients, most of which you can't pronounce, then don't by it, or even simpler, buy food that your Great Gran would recognise (that's the yogurt in a tube out then)).
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a great book 3 Jun 2010
Format:Paperback
I will keep this brief as there are already wordy reviews here.

Being round, I read quite a bit on diet and how to eat and for me this was a clear concise opinion on the subject that I agree with. I read the whole book last weekend (no mean feat for me) couldn't put it down. Not only does he present how things got into the state they are, which for me was helpful, he offers a practical and simple solution, one we all know but forget. Eat [real] food, not too much, mostly plants. He fleshes out what he means by this and made it simple so I can remember it as I shop. It's only been a week but I do feel a weight has been taken off my shoulders when it come to eating. He taken it away from simply feeding and back to eating and being civilised around food. I anticipate not being round for much longer.
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47 of 51 people found the following review helpful
By Timos
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is very well written and easy to understand. It conveys a complicated subject matter very simply. This is that the "western diet" of processed food products is slowly killing people and that we need to radically change our relationship with food. While this sounds scary, the book is not an act of scare-mongering but an essay on what and how we should eat food. I would highly recommend anyone living in the west to read this book as it will open their eyes.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full of common sense, a first class read 2 Sep 2008
By DMH TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Cannot recommend this book too highly. It's easy to read, written with good humour as well as insight, and makes lots of good points about the way our eating habits have changed for the worse in the 20th and early 21st centuries. Mr Pollan points to several of the key behavioural changes that lie at the root of our eating problems and suggests simple ways of reversing the bad trends. To paraphrase him very slightly, the key is to eat REAL food - not the over-processed garbage that we get served up far too often today as "food". The anecdote about the inhabitants of Okinawa who trained themselves to stop eating when 80% full also highlights how we need to re-educate our appetites. Well worth the outlay.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How our "food" is no longer really food 21 Jan 2009
By Dennis Littrell TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
The devils here are "nutritionism" and "reductive science." I would prefer the terms "big agriculture" and "over processed, refined and denatured" foods. And if the word "science" is insisted upon, it should be "science" sponsored by big agriculture and food processing companies. Terminology aside, the point that Michael Pollan is making is that the problem with the American diet that has led to an astonishing increase in obesity and attendant chronic diseases of plenty such as type two diabetes, is that we are eating foods that have been produced unnaturally in monocultures, foods that have been stripped of many of their nutrients, foods that are alien to any kind of established or traditional cuisine.

Pollan demonizes reductive science because that has been the tool of the corporate interests. However reduction in science is a method breaks things down into individual parts, a method that is handy for some kinds of problems. When we cannot break down the problem effectively, as in the case with food, reductive science is less capable and we must give greater weight to historical science. We must look at entire cuisines and the social situations in which food is eaten to understand our nutritional relationship to what we eat and how. Sometimes it is the case the whole IS greater than the sum of the parts. In the case of even a single food, such as an orange or an apple or leaf of spinach, it is not currently possible to identify reductively just what it is about the food that makes it healthy for us to eat. Indeed, as Pollan argues, there may well be synergistic effects from a single food to an entire cuisine that are essential to good eating.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect
Michael Pollan has a beautiful way of looking at the world. I support anyone who wants to read all of his books. They are all great.
Published 3 months ago by Angelique Iles
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing
Very balanced piece of work giving loads of information for the reader to draw their own conclusions, although obviously guided. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Mrs. J. A. Glover
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book
If you care about what you eat and get fed up of hearing all the do's and dont's surrounding what is purported to be a healthy diet, read this book. Read more
Published 10 months ago by L. Astbury
4.0 out of 5 stars really good advice
brings reality to you. It shows that we should not live to eat but to live and also eat to live a healthy and happy life.
Published 10 months ago by Rafiqi
5.0 out of 5 stars An Exciting Book About Food
I stumbled upon Michael Pollan's book in a supermarket. You will get the irony if you read the book.

I was having some weight problems. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Dan Ionescu
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read!
A thought provoking book that chimed perfectly with my recent change in attitude to food and eating. Read more
Published 12 months ago by frustrated hippy
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read
Nicely put together, simple and accessible information on an often complex and confusing subject. The history of Western attitudes to food especially interesting.
Published 12 months ago by Iain Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Get your balanced diet here!
The most good sense and clarity of anything on food and diets that I've read. Re-tune your thinking on just about every aspect of the subject.
Published 14 months ago by saggs
5.0 out of 5 stars Mandatory reading if you care about real health
Future school education programmes should include healthy eating as mandatory. The syllabus? Forget your food pyramids, forget your government healthy eating advice, forget the... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Cooler
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read
I kept thinking, as I was reading this, "Wow. I knew this but never acknowledged it." And now I am determined to pay more attention to what I knew. Read more
Published 17 months ago by ANG
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