In Defense Of Food Review

Editor's Review: 3.5 / 5.0

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In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto is a book by Michael Pollen. It first started as an essay about nutrition he had written for the New York Times, but when he realized there was much more to be said about the nutritionally issues, he developed the book. In the book, he says food is not about all the nutrients or what you make it on the plate, and we should not have to rely on “experts” to tell us how to eat. Instead, we should go back to a basic eating approach, and he tells us how we should do it.

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In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto brings forth an interesting contradiction. America as a country is unhealthy, yet we have a strange preoccupation with trying to eat healthy, lose weight, and stay healthy. He maintains that by continuing to eat a Western diet as we have been, we will never be able to stop the contradiction and vicious cycle. In order to truly achieve health and weight loss, we need to go back to eating seasonal locally sourced foods, and get away from the processed, packaged, convenience food we are all so familiar with. The foundation of his program is to “avoid any food your great grandmother would not recognize” and to treat fruits and vegetables as the main components of your diet. Instead of going to the grocery store, try to find organic produce from your local farmers. He says even though the expense for the higher quality is greater, you will be eating less and healthier, thereby making up the difference. There is great emphasis on making your food at home instead of going out because it will not only be healthier but will help you build a stronger bond with those in your family. He says to stick to three meals a day, with smaller potions, and to see meat as a side rather than the main dish. He says you should also avoid snacking when possible. He also recommends gardening for exercise because it helps to connect you to the food you eat.

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  • This program promotes eating more whole, organic foods.
  • This program promotes eating locally grown and in-season produce.
  • This program promotes eating at home so you can get more enjoyment from your foods.


  • This diet may be hard for some people to follow because it is expensive to purchase fresh organic produce all the time.
  • There are political themes throughout the book, which most readers will not identify with.
  • Some people may consider this program an “elitist” approach.


In Defense of Food is an interesting approach, but if you don’t have time and money to make your meals and use organic ingredients, you may have trouble sticking to the program.

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