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Editorial 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

Critic Reviews

"[Narrator] Scott Brick brings the necessary energy, pacing, and articulation to what promises to be one of this year's most popular and provocative titles.... Brick carries this manifesto against nutrition science and food manufacturers with the voice of indictment - unflinching, unflagging, and fired by conviction." ( AudioFile)

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a great read

Good book to read for aspiring chefs as my self and anybody who cares about what they eat.

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Reinforcement Of The New Common Sense

Knowledge reinforced by this book:

-Eat whole foods, avoid processed, man made creations.
-Growth hormones and industrialization are part of this.
-You can reverse a bad diet.
-Nutrition science isn't yet a whole and comprehensive science.
-Our diet has been changing based on fads and marketing. Grandma's cooking doesn't make money.
-Obesity, heart disease, and diabetes rates are skyrocketing despite a constant influx of new nutritional information and low fat, processed diet themed products.
-Fruits, veggies, and whole grains are missing from most people's diets.
-Looking at nutrients alone doesn't give us the whole picture of the benefits of food.

All of this information is presented in an entertaining narrative style using statistical information, research, anthropological studies and some cultural comparisons. The audiobook narrator was suitable for the content and didn't make it boring. The information isn't necessarily ground breaking or new as I feel that I've been hearing it everywhere so I do feel that reading this is just a reinforcement of it.

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  • Mindy
  • Coeur dAlene, ID, United States
  • 10-02-16

Finally done!

This book took forever to read as I found the Narration very difficult to listen to. Ironically, the last 90 minutes were the most interesting info. Happy to delete this book.

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  • Bksmrt
  • Illinois, USA
  • 09-21-16

Wake up call to stop eating processed food

Excellent in all aspects. The reader, the author, the topic! Eyes opened wide to the benefits of eating whole food and eliminating the unhealthy processed and fast food that is basically ruining our health. Sad that our "western diet" had spread to other countries increasing obesity, heart disease and diabetes. If you want to know more read Salt, Sugar & Fat by Michael Moss.

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Grateful to Michael Pollan

This should be a class taught in every school. Knowledge thatcertainly will help save the planet and people. M.Galt

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I'm hungry now

I definitely give you a different point of view of where food has come from.

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A masterpiece?

I read omnivores dilemma, loving it so, I decided to pick this one up and give it a try. While his former was at the gym be a logical, this one focuses on a more singular scale. Beautifully written and laced with beautiful logic.

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So true and motivating

I loved this book. I have read about this subject but never a full book. What I liked so much about it was the simple concept of eating real food. I loved the way the author/reader drove the point home that we are all being fooled by the marketing of fake food. Before I completed this book I was already at the farmer's market getting my fruits and vegetables. I made a list of all the real food I bought, and I plan to see exactly how much per meal I will spend. Whatever the cost, my family and I are worth every penny.

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One of the most important books you could read

I grew up in America in the 80's at the height of America's reinvention (or perhaps the acceleration) of what it considered heathy and what it called food. My mom, I very much appreciate, cooked us a hot meal every day. But as a newlywed, I was a little concerned that a third of the recipes I had accumulated began with a can of cream of chicken and chicken breast. When I spent time living in Japan, I was surprised how many of the "rules" of healthy eating that traditional Japanese cooking broke, but they seemed healthier regardless. Traditional Japanese cuisine included far more actual food, much more vegetables and much, much less sugar. It also tasted amazing. Pollan does a tremendous job of documenting how we got to be where we are dietarily (in America), and offers useful suggestions on how we can get back on course. Thanks to this book, I finally made it over to our local farmer's market, something I had been meaning to do for some time.

I would also highly recommend French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le Billon (even if you don't have kids) for a fascinating inside view of how the French approach eating (and ideas on how we could improve our Western approach), and Culinary Intelligence (sadly not an audiobook last I checked) by Peter Kaminsky, if like me, you aspire to up your taste level in order to improve your overall well being.

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Essential information for survival.

Very interesting view on statistics manipulated by food products marketers and corrupt authorities. Manual on how to survive against the national epidemics.