"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
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
I read science, biographies, histories, mysteries, adventures, thrillers, educationals, linguistics but not no way, not no how, romances.
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.
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.
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.
After reading countless diet books, this was a refreshing review of what food really is, and what it is not. I have cancer, and Scott's reminder that overeating not only increases division of normal cells, but also of cancer cells, really stopped me. I have lost 12 pounds already following the simple rules of this book.
None that I can think of
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.
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.
nutrition in its natural state
narration was somewhat monotoned, hard to keep focused on story line
I love listening and usually get in at least three hours a day. I like fiction, biographies and medical non-fiction.
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.
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.
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