Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Book Review: In Defense of Food

Sorry, I have been away from the blogosphere for a whopping two days. Ok, that is not a very long time, but it feels that way when you don’t post on a daily food journal! I was a sick puppy yesterday. Just a head cold, but enough to make basic physical activity impossible. I stayed home from work and even took pictures of everything I ate, but fell asleep sometime around 6:00 pm and didn’t wake up again until this morning. So sorry about that! It is hard to gauge how many people actually read this thing, but I like to pretend its millions and trillions.

In any event, my sick time allowed me to finish reading In Defense of Food. You know what that means: BOOK REVIEW!

Overall, I enjoyed this book a lot. Sometimes, I read books like these and don’t learn that much because it is preaching to the choir. I have been fascinated with healthy eating since I was 13 years old (not that I necessarily practiced what I knew!) so I know a lot. But this book really showcased the faults of nutrition science. You know how you constantly hear about new research that reveals things like “Vitamin C is connected to pancreatic cancer” or “Calcium prevents butt tumors” etc. etc. This book basically says that a lot, if not most, of those studies are rubbish. There is even a word for this kind of thinking: Nutritionism. It’s when we think of food as these little parts instead of it as a whole. We don’t think of milk as milk but as a great source of Vitamin A and calcium. So then we take a Vitamin A supplement and a calcium supplement and then we wonder why we get a butt tumor! (Generally speaking of course.)

You can look at the history of nutritionism and see its many faults. Remember how they used to say that margarine was better for you than butter? Then this pesky little thing called TRANS FATS was revealed (you know it’s illegal to have trans fats in foods in Denmark? Not so over here in Trans Fat North America!). And now there is not just plain old yogurt, but cherry banana yogurt with probiotics and artificial food colouring! It can get exhausting knowing what to eat and what not to eat, especially when scientists are constantly finding new studies and telling us the opposite of what they were saying 10 years ago.

The solution? Stop reading and start eating whole foods. The more basic, the better. Do your own cooking. Buy from farmer’s markets or the outer perimeter of the grocery store (where the basic, fresh food is kept). Eat simple, wholesome food. Don’t worry about calories. Don’t worry at all. Just eat simple, good, natural food and spend your time thinking about other things…like the physical ramifications of butt tumors!

I give this book two healthy, wholesome, and natural thumbs up.

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