Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Pollan & Pleasure

Huh, do you think this guy is covering Miss Jackson? I wonder.

I recently read In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. I was pretty shocked to see that it was #1 on the bestseller list. Pollan draws some conclusions which are quite a radical departure from the Standard American Diet. His mantra, originally expressed in a seminal NY Times magazine article, is "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." I love Pollan and could go on for some length about his new book, but I want to focus on one thing he says towards the end:

"What nutritionism sees when it looks at the French paradox is a lot of slender French people eating gobs of saturated fat washed down with wine. What it fails to see is a people with a completely different relationship to food than we have... They seldom snack...they spend considerably more time eating than we do. Taken together, these habits contribute to a food culture in which the French consume fewer calories than we do, yet manage to enjoy them far more."

I think this could be the next diet trend: it's not what you eat, it's how and where you're eating it. Mireille Giuliano has touched on this but it really deserves more attention. Americans as a whole eat in their cars, at their desks, in front of the TV, standing up--often as quickly as possible in order to attend to the next task. It takes the body 20 minutes to register full-ness, but I would bet most Americans rarely eat a meal outside of a restaurant that lasts that long. I, for one, have been focusing on
--buying high-quality food, even if it's more expensive
--savoring my food as much as possible
--if I must eat at my desk, I turn away from my computer and concentrate on my food
--consciously thinking about whether I want to finish a whole portion instead of just eating until there is no more food

Since I do eat most of my meals at work or alone, this is a challenge, but I think I've been eating less, experiencing more pleasure, and feeling more satisfied.

(Pushups completed: 720)


Ashasarala said...

Hey, cool blog. Thanks for visiting mine! Fondant has no eggs. It is simply sugar, water and sometimes corn syrup (I used organic). For flavour, you can add vanilla extract or any extract, really. It's tricky to work with, but it's fun to practice.

Anonymous said...

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vegan blog tracker said...

I've heard many good things about that book - I'll have to take a look at it sometime soon. I love the bite-size summary, though - "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." It's important for really short, really simple sound bites like that to get out in the public.

Monika K said...

I need to get that book - the statement you included seems spot on as far as my recollections of Europe go. arch nemesis.

zandria said...

I just checked this book out of the library this morning, and I'm looking forward to reading it. I've stopped eating a lot of processed foods already, but I'm hoping his book will inspire me to go even further. :)

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robotslingshot said...

I really enjoyed Pollan's book, and even told my mom to read it. nice blog! It is my first visit, but I'll be back.


Meg Wolff said...

I really enjoyed this article and your concious efforts at the end to make your meals a conciously pleasurable by slowing down. I am inspired to be more concious of these things too. Thanks!