Thursday, October 25, 2007

Michael Pollan, American Hero

I hope that Michael Pollan is the one who will bring sense back to Americans' eating habits. He's doing a good job so far.

Five great Pollan moments:

1. His article in the NY Times magazine laid out a plan for successful eating in 7 words:

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. "Food" is defined as only those foodstuffs that your great-grandmother would recognize.

In the same article, he notes "Of course it’s also a lot easier to slap a health claim on a box of sugary cereal than on a potato or carrot, with the perverse result that the most healthful foods in the supermarket sit there quietly in the produce section, silent as stroke victims, while a few aisles over, the Cocoa Puffs and Lucky Charms are screaming about their newfound whole-grain goodness."

2. The guy actually grew his own yeast in order to make a self-produced meal in The Omnivore's Dilemma. (You might want to skip the part where he kills the wild boar, though.)

3. He smacks down Whole Foods for talking the talk but not walking the walk; specifically, for publicizing the importance of choosing local food while not offering their customers many local foods at all.

4. In an interview about his new book, he hits the nail on the head regarding our fast food nation:

"I think that there's some brainwashing going on with this idea that we don't have time to cook anymore. We have made cooking seem much more complicated than it is, and part of that comes from watching cooking shows on television -- we've turned cooking into a spectator sport."

5. He explains why the Congressional farm bill is so important, despite its low profile. Long story short, it encourages overproduction of crops such as corn and soy that become added sugars and fat in our lowest-priced foods and in the school cafeteria:

"The farm bill essentially treats our children as a human Disposall for all the unhealthful calories that the farm bill has encouraged American farmers to overproduce."

HS already has Pollan's new book on pre-order: we'll have to arm-wrestle to decide who gets to read it first.


Theresa said...

He sounds super cool! I love the comparison of cooking shows to a spectator sport. I cook a lot, does that mean I'm very athletic? Really though, he makes some great points!

The Little Vegan said...

Hehe I'm imagining pulling a crayon labelled "Jealous" out of the box (what color would that be anyways???) and drawing on your face ;o).

VeggieGirl said...

wow, interesting stuff!! Pollan's book definitely sounds like a good-read...

I read your comment on my blog - yor grandmother put saurkraut in a cake? yikes! haha. but I DO hope you'll give carob another chance!!

urban vegan said...

I have a love-hate relationship with Pollan. He brings up some great points, but he stops short of being the poster boy that he really could be.