Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Immune to Enjoying Food

There is book club going on over at Chrunchy Chicken. The book is, In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan. Here is a summary of chapter 7 which I found especially intriguing because it touches on the sheer abundance of food available here in the good ole U.S. of A.

Immune to enjoying food?

Or, maybe just feeling that we somehow deserve any food we, ethnic, served to us, organic, seconds, sweet, non caloric, freezable, attractive, fun.
Beware. . . . I have generously inserted my opinions in this next paragraph.

Chapter 7. Beyond the Pleasure Principle
"The idea that Americans have become immune to enjoying food, due to the sheer abundance of it, is an interesting one. It allows people the luxury to focus on food for it's nutritional value only. Let's be quite honest here -- this is a luxury in a world where many are focused on what they can afford, find or make mud cookies out of.

I know several people whose diets revolve solely around its nutritional value and not their actual enjoyment of it. This may not be obvious when people focus on garlic, olive oil, flax, salmon, etc. purely because they offer some sort of "extra" nutrition.

In other words, "experimental science has produced rules of nutrition which will (supposedly) prevent illness and encourage longevity." Many people have subscribed to this way of thinking. They are looking for the holy grail of nutrients to keep them alive and healthy.
There is a much bigger picture here that is being overlooked. That includes activity level, genetics, stress factors and environmental toxin exposure. Food (nutrition) alone is not the end all answer."

From the In Defense of Food link:
Michael Pollan describes an American paradox: The more we worry about nutrition, the less healthy we seem to become.

But if real food -- the sort of food our great grandmothers would recognize as food -- stands in need of defense, from whom does it need defending? From the food industry on one side and nutritional science on the other. Both stand to gain much from widespread confusion about what to eat, a question that for most of human history people have been able to answer without expert help. Yet the professionalization of eating has failed to make Americans healthier. Thirty years of official nutritional advice has only made us sicker and fatter while ruining countless numbers of meals.

Pollan proposes a new (and very old) answer to the question of what we should eat that comes down to seven simple but liberating words: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

Crunchy Chicken

cross posted at Catholic Notebook

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