Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Defending Food

I was able to digest the wonderful tome In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto in the spring, returning to it the last few weeks, hoping to remember some of Michael Pollan's advice and see if I had been putting it into practice.

As has been stated regarding this work, it is the practical conclusion to his Prize Winning Omnivore's Dilemna (a much larger and all encompassing work). Where OD showed the history and repercussions of our food choices upon the planet, IDOF documents the effects of food choices on the human body. To be truly holistic as an eater, one must think about both. While I became a more conscience eater due to environmental considerations, my body has been served. However, it is good to consider the impact upon both environs (as a father, I am now just as concerned with the internal significance of food choices). Sadly, I have met too many selfish organic eaters, lacking any concern for the impact of food upon animal, planet or the other.

In light of that, I am going to share some of the principles of In Defense of Food during the next few days. I decided to do it now, since the book has been out for a while. Since many of you have read the book, it will come as a reminder. However, if you have not read it; hopefully this will spur you to read it to see how Pollan works out his guidelines for healthy eating... summed up in the manifesto:

Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants.

By the way, did you see Nicolas Kristoff's op ed on eating ethically? Read it. Here is the money quote:

So, yes, I eat meat (even, hesitantly, goose). But I draw the line at animals being raised in cruel conditions. The law punishes teenage boys who tie up and abuse a stray cat. So why allow industrialists to run factory farms that keep pigs almost all their lives in tiny pens that are barely bigger than they are?

Defining what is cruel is, of course, extraordinarily difficult. But penning pigs or veal calves so tightly that they cannot turn around seems to cross that line.

No comments: