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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

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  •  
    Lori Virginia Beach, VA, United States 12-05-12
    Lori Virginia Beach, VA, United States 12-05-12 Member Since 2012
    ratings
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    "Boring!"
    What would have made In Defense of Food better?

    The negative approach to this book made it almost unbearable. The book didn't defend a whole food diet but rather took a very confrontational offensive approach to the poor dietary choices we make today.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Michael Pollan again?

    I like Michael Pollan, but this book was definitely not one of his best.


    Which character – as performed by Scott Brick – was your favorite?

    Good narration-poor story to tell


    Any additional comments?

    What a waste of my listening time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kiosh Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 07-20-10
    Kiosh Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 07-20-10
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    "Repetitive and full of broad assertions"

    The overall thesis of this book is interesting and in my opinion valid: "Eat food. Not to much. Mostly plants". The underlying point, that both what we eat and how it is produced has changed dramatically over the past forty years, is interesting and generally substantiated.

    However, the book was extremely repetitive. The same theme was hit over and over again without going into more detail each time. Overall I found this book was not researched well enough and relied far to much on generalities. Particularly annoying was the unsubstantiated and oft repeated claim that 'traditional diets' are healthier than modern diets. Although this may be true, Pollan provides no evidence for this, nor does he even try to take on the obvious rebuttal that we live far longer today than we ever did on 'traditional diets'.

    As I am already sympathetic to the underlying cause, I really hoped this book would be more convincing than it actually was.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    menary kitchen 11-14-09 Member Since 2009
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    "discouraging"

    This book was not that imformative beyond what we already know. It is simply discouraging because without a cow, piq and a garden, he teaches that we are all going to die. save for the last segment it was not well written. a lot of repeated information

    9 of 25 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nicola Charleston, WV, USA 09-26-13
    Nicola Charleston, WV, USA 09-26-13
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    "NARRATION TERRIBLE"
    What disappointed you about In Defense of Food?

    the narration. i loved reading the book. i hated listening to it. it definitely ruined an awesome read.


    What didn’t you like about Scott Brick’s performance?

    do yourself a favor and listen to a sample. what were they thinking?


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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