By Michael Pollan
Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Penguin Books, 2009
Genre: Non-fiction, health & fitness, healthy living, diet, nutrition
Intended audience: American adults
Number of pages: 140
Time period: The era of obesity and processed “food-like substances”
Description: A practical guide for what and how to eat, written as a follow up to Pollan’s In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto. Following the Introduction, the book is divided into three sections based upon the key concepts from In Defense of Food – “Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
Illustrations: Beautiful black and white illustrations of various food items and equipment break up the rules and text. I can’t tell if they are etchings, engravings, or lithographs, but I like them. There is no illustrator information in the book, so I suppose these are images which are out of copyright and in the public domain.
Pacing: This is a very quick and easy read; after a twelve page introduction, the rest of the book contains rules (some of which have a short explanation).
Characterization: There are no characters, but there are traditional sayings from various parts of the world.
Frame: There are two frames for this book. The first is simplification (of complicated diets, health information, nutritional science, and health claims). The second is a guide.
Story line: A useful little book which offers clear and concise ways to eat healthier (and hopefully end the American obesity epidemic).
Barbara Kingsolver – Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life
Gary Paul Nabhan – Coming Home to Eat: The Pleasures and Politics of Local Foods
Eric Schlosser – Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal
Ronald F. Schmid, N.D. – Traditional Foods Are Your Best Medicine: Improving Health and Longevity with Native Nutrition
Personal notes: A short and sweet easy read. Some of my favorite rules include:
13 – Eat only foods which will eventually rot
19 – If it came from a plant,eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t
25 – Eat your colors
26 – Drink the spinach water
36 – Don’t eat breakfast cereals that change the color of the milk
37 – “The whiter the bread, the sooner you’ll be dead”
39 – Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself
48 – Consult your gut
63 – Cook
Other (diversity, themes, websites):
Grocery Store Wars video on YouTube (5:51)