This book, "In Defense of Food," is galvanizing, offering a holistic re-orientation to the whole realm of food and all that's involved in it.
Pollan gives us a useful new villain, "nutritionalism" (a term previously coined by another author), which is our (and more so, "the pro's" - researchers, dieticians, etc)tendency to want to think of foods in terms of individual nutrients - carbs, protein, fat, micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, co-factors, enzymes, etc), and the omnipresent calorie. This is inculcated through our whole culture, and Pollan suggests it is a BARRIER. He suggests that ESCAPING that fragmented, malfunctioning mindset is our salvation, and offers holistic means of achieving the health and dietary peace that evades us.
(One very little hitch in all this gitalong: Though at each point along the way, Pollan guides the reader such that his various recommendations seem feasible at each step, with the reader nodding in agreement that yes, this is something I could do - at the very end (the VERY end) he picks up a huge amount of speed and arrives at the finish line a bit breathless - with the reader - well, THIS reader - thinking um, I'm not sure about this, you left me in the dust a little ways back there! But... I guess that's another book.)
Otherwise, excellent: brilliantly conceived, creatively researched, beautifully written. And the reading is simply top-notch, the pairing of book & reader is a marriage made in heaven. Scott Brick's delivery is as articulate, as accurate, as brisk, and as bitingly accusatory as David Hyde Pierce, while being as soothing, helpful, hopeful and compassionate as the movement of the text demands.
It is a big topic Pollan has taken on, in terms of the technical scope of the material as well as the social reach of his analysis, and I think he's done a marvelous job, really hit the nail on the head, or very nearly so. I have his other book, "Omnivore's Dilemma" in my library and can't wait to get to it next.
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