Favorite Food Quotes From Michael Pollan

Michael Pollan has recently earned a spot in my line-up of favorite authors after I read In Defense of Food last summer.  I recommend his books to anyone that is interested in food, cooking, environmental health, nutrition, history, economics, food industry marketing, or American society in general. He has written several best-sellers, and he simply has a way with inspiring words about food and health.  I know what you’re thinking – books about nutrition and food science seem far from exciting, but his style is not your typical scientific or medical lecture.  He writes with convincing passion and quick wit.  I just bought his newest, Cooked, and can’t wait to get around to reading it. Here are some excerpts from his books:
“You are what what you eat eats.”

“Don’t eat anything incapable of rotting.”

“The shared meal elevates eating from a mechanical process of fueling the body to a ritual of family and community, from the mere animal biology to an act of culture.”

“If you’re concerned about your health, you should probably avoid products that make health claims. Why? Because a health claim on a food product is a strong indication it’s not really food, and food is what you want to eat.”

“The sheer novelty and glamor of the Western diet, with its seventeen thousand new food products every year and the marketing power – thirty-two billion dollars a year – used to sell us those products, has overwhelmed the force of tradition and left us where we now find ourselves: relying on science and journalism and government and marketing to help us decide what to eat.”

“If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t. ”

“Organic Oreos are not a health food. When Coca-Cola begins selling organic Coke, as it surely will, the company will have struck a blow for the environment perhaps, but not for our health. Most consumers automatically assume that the word “organic” is synomymous with health, but it makes no difference to your insulin metabolism if the high-fructose corn syrup in your soda is organic.”

“That eating should be foremost about bodily health is a relatively new and, I think, destructive idea-destructive not just the pleasure of eating, which would be bad enough, but paradoxically of our health as well. Indeed, no people on earth worry more about the health consequences of their food choices than we Americans-and no people suffer from as many diet-related problems. We are becoming a nation of orthorexics: people with an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating.”

“When you’re cooking with food as alive as this — these gorgeous and semigorgeous fruits and leaves and flesh — you’re in no danger of mistaking it for a commodity, or a fuel, or a collection of chemical nutrients. No, in the eye of the cook or the gardener … this food reveals itself for what it is: no mere thing but a web of relationships among a great many living beings, some of them human, some not, but each of them dependent on each other, and all of them ultimately rooted in soil and nourished by sunlight.”

“Now, all of this might be tolerable if eating by the light of nutritionism made us, if not happier, then at least healthier.  That it has failed to do.  Thirty years of nutritional advice have left us fatter, sicker, and more poorly nourished.  This is why we find ourselves in the predicament we do: in need of a whole new way to think about eating.”

“Pay more, eat less. What the French case suggests is that there is a trade-off in eating between quantity and quality.”

“To eat slowly, in the Slow Food sense, is to eat with a fuller knowledge of all that is involved in bringing food out of the earth and to the table.”

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