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In Defense of Food | [Michael Pollan]

In Defense of Food

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." These simple words go to the heart of Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food. Humans used to know how to eat well, Pollan argues. But the balanced dietary lessons that were once passed down through generations have been confused, complicated, and distorted by food industry marketers, nutritional scientists, and journalists-all of whom have much to gain from our dietary confusion.
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Audible Editor Reviews

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." These are the first words of Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto. Scott Brick narrates these opening sentences with slowly paced emphasis and a nicely modulated deftness, with a hint of coyness. The coyness is Pollan's. For what else can one eat but food? And why does eating need a manifesto? Pollan answers that we increasing do not eat food (whole food) but rather consume processed "food products". We are in "The Age of Nutritionism". Pollan's In Defense of Food is a richly developed polemic against the unhealthful food culture that the ideology of nurtitionism represents. The book is as well a de facto manual for growing and eating our way out of it.

Brick is a compelling spokesman for Pollan's argument. He brings to In Defense of Food a voice in the baritone-to-tenor range, with an always on-the-mark sonic focus matched with a point of expressive emphasis that constantly shifts, as Brick makes his flawless and fluent runs up and down and within his octave ranges. Brick's doing all of this can only be achieved by natural talent, disciplined training, and smart reading — joined by a mastery of a quite large array of narrative and expressive skills.

It is very likely that somewhere in some academic haven there are specific concepts and a precise language that could quantify and describe what goes on with Brick's narrative voice. In the end, though, it all comes down to art. Using, with apologies, an extended metaphor, that of jazz: Brick picks up his axe (saxophone), fingering the notes and changing the octaves with the keys; with his fine set of chops (lips) applies the pressure onto the sax's mouth piece and reed, and, modulating the breath and applying nuances of feeling and expression, blows -- that is, in jazz-speak -- plays. The well-argued and passionate polemic that is In Defense of Food is, in this audio production, a show piece showcasing Scott Brick's narrative range and dexterity. —David Chasey

Publisher's Summary

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." These simple words go to the heart of Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food, the well-considered answers he provides to the questions posed in the bestselling The Omnivore's Dilemma. Humans used to know how to eat well, Pollan argues. But the balanced dietary lessons that were once passed down through generations have been confused, complicated, and distorted by food industry marketers, nutritional scientists, and journalists-all of whom have much to gain from our dietary confusion. As a result, we face today a complex culinary landscape dense with bad advice and foods that are not "real." These "edible food-like substances" are often packaged with labels bearing health claims that are typically false or misleading. Indeed, real food is fast disappearing from the marketplace, to be replaced by "nutrients," and plain old eating by an obsession with nutrition that is, paradoxically, ruining our health, not to mention our meals. Michael Pollan's sensible and decidedly counterintuitive advice is: "Don't eat anything that your great-great grandmother would not recognize as food."

In looking toward traditional diets the world over, as well as the foods our families-and regions-historically enjoyed, we can recover a more balanced, reasonable, and pleasurable approach to food. Michael Pollan's bracing and eloquent manifesto shows us how we might start making thoughtful food choices that will enrich our lives and enlarge our sense of what it means to be healthy.

©2008 Michael Pollan; (P)2008 Penguin Audiobooks

What Members Say

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  •  
    cemkur 03-24-09
    cemkur 03-24-09

    cemkur

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    "Phenomenal book"

    Phenomenal book, I would strongly recommend it to anyone who is interested in living a healthy, happy and long life

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan dover, DE, USA 06-20-09
    Ryan dover, DE, USA 06-20-09
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    "Rethink what you know about food"

    Pollan brings to the table a wealth of information that challenges the conventional wisdom of western eating habits. After listening to this book, I know find myself questioning everything I consume. The irony is, most of the habits I picked up from this book are instincts we all have inside of us. Shop for natural foods. Don't shop for products that contain the new "fad" in them. If it does not naturally occur, stay away. We can all live healthy by eating actual food and not scientifically engineered nutritional supplements. Two thumbs up to Michael Pollan on this book, it is well worth the read.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe Kansas City, MO, United States 04-07-14
    Joe Kansas City, MO, United States 04-07-14 Member Since 2011

    I read science, biographies, histories, mysteries, adventures, thrillers, educationals, linguistics but not no way, not no how, romances.

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    "Prepare to change your habits"

    The best books affect you, make you think and sometimes they even make you change your day to day habits. This is one of those books, a short read of ground shifting potential. And like all great books I’ve read, it starts with a simple premise and a simple question: Western culture is, by and large, health obsessed and has been for a while. We count calories, we examine fat content, we examine with finite prevision the nutritional makeup of our foods. So why, in a culture of nutritional obsession are we getting sicker and sicker every year?

    What the author poses as an answer is, to use his words, that we have removed culture from our eating habits (culture being a word that means your mother). So he examines the food industry for all its faults and suggests an alternative: eat food, not too much, mostly plants. It’s strange that someone would need to spend a whole book defending food but most of what we eat is not, strictly speaking, food. You should read this book, it has made an impact in my life. So go on, get cooking.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diana Diaz United States 09-30-13
    Diana Diaz United States 09-30-13
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    "Eye Opening book!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, this is a wonderful book that I would recommend to anyone that wants to know about food and all the "diets" that have contributed to our health today.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Eat Real Food!


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    brenty United States 07-22-13
    brenty United States 07-22-13 Member Since 2015
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    "A thoughtful holistic perspective"

    And I don't mean 'holistic' in the hipster sense; this book gives a great top-to-bottom view on why we should eat food and just what that really means for us as human beings.

    If what you put into your body matters to you, read this book and enjoy its depth; if you don't particularly care about what you put into your body today, read this book so that you might care tomorrow.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephanie BERKELEY, CA, United States 06-25-12
    Stephanie BERKELEY, CA, United States 06-25-12
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    "Plain Talk - Simple, Straightforward"

    In the beginning of the listen, I was unimpressed and even a little irked by the reader's tonality and emphasis on the reading. This annoyance lasted for several chapters..but eventually, either his reading got better or I was so engrossed in the content it no longer bothered me.

    It's a very good book. It pulls no punches---hails an attack on all of the food industry and the USDA alike. It's in plain English, which makes it not only easy to understand but very easy to listen to.

    Good information and food for thought. I read this immediately after listening to Gary Taubes "Why We Get Fat" --and it was in stark contrast in terms of simplicity (Gary's was much more scientifically based and technical and focused on a meat-based diet, while IDOF focuses on a plant-based diet), and the view points differed in many respects, but both are good books, and it is worth reading them both in order to get a well-rounded view of the impact of today's diet on our health and society.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim Frisco, TX, United States 06-25-12
    Tim Frisco, TX, United States 06-25-12 Member Since 2013
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    "Ejoyable Listen with Great Information"
    Any additional comments?

    It's amazing to me how much food is processed these days! Great information provided in a captivating format. You might think a book on nutrition could be boring, but not in this case. Scott Brick does a fabulous job emitting the emotions of the author.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jackie pittsburgh, PA, United States 05-25-12
    jackie pittsburgh, PA, United States 05-25-12 Member Since 2015
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    "can't improve on what God supplies"
    Would you consider the audio edition of In Defense of Food to be better than the print version?

    yes


    What other book might you compare In Defense of Food to and why?

    food inc


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    yes


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    nutrition in its natural state


    Any additional comments?

    narration was somewhat monotoned, hard to keep focused on story line

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shannon 01-29-12
    Shannon 01-29-12 Member Since 2013

    I love listening and usually get in at least three hours a day. I like fiction, biographies and medical non-fiction.

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    "Sneering, condescending narrator"

    I don't know that I've ever written this on this site, but I think this is a book better read than heard. At least, it's better read than heard with this narrator.

    His general tone is one of sneering condescension, as he explains things that his tone seems to indicate any idiot should know. It's as if he's sprinkling vinegar, rather than honey, while attempting to convert a group of flies.

    There is a lot of good information in this book. I had many questions as to the origin of the information provided. Perhaps the printed edition includes footnotes.

    I have to say that the book gave me a lot to think about, and I will be adjusting my diet.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada 10-20-10
    Daniel Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada 10-20-10 Member Since 2011

    virtual_chillidog

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    "A manifesto for the foodie"

    If you had to choose between celery and hot dogs for the rest of your life, which would be the "healthy" choice? The answer may surprise you...
    Pollan sets out to establish a guideline for what people should eat, and he's quite successful. This isn't and anti-dieting book, but it's not a guide to "nutrition" either; instead, the book sets out cases and examples that willl make you think twice about the assumptions you have about food (and "food products"), and hopefully will help you figure out how to eat more food and less garbage.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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