Saturday, June 20, 2009

In Defense of Food

Our open book club just finished reading In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. First a little bit about our book club, it's an open group that meets here in the store. Meaning that anyone can come and join the discussion anytime. Whether it's just once because you happen to love our book for that month or it becomes a regular thing because you love us- it doesn't matter to us!! We meet on the third Thursday of every month at 6:30. Sometimes there are even snacks! And all book selections for the current month are 20 % off!

And now to talk about the book we just finished. I loved it. I feel like buying a stack of the books so that I can just hand them out to strangers. That could be weird, and expensive, so don't worry, I won't do it! The quick sum up of the book is found right in the front of it, Eat Food, Not too Much, Mostly Plants. Michael Pollan does a great job researching food, it's origins and where we are today with ingredients, additives and all that. His basic approach is that nutritionalism (is that his word or a real one?) is kind of a crap shoot. Yes, we can identify things that are good for us or things that our bodies need but half the time we don't know why. Or those vitamins or minerals are important in the plant they originally came from and when seperated they don't work the same in our bodies. Very interesting. He really focuses on synergy and how important it really is.
One thing I really liked about this book and the thing that hit home is the time spent on our food. He writes about how in the cultures that we are constantly perplexed by their thinness and yet they eat food we avoid like the plague in all of our diets (France, Italy, Greece) they take time with their food. They spend time cooking it, eating it and even the clean up of it. It's less processed and more real ingrediants. His point with the idea of spending time with our food gives us an appreciation for where it comes from, how it was raised or grown, what it tastes like, and gives us time (hopefully) with the people in our lives. And that taking this time helps us eat less (it takes about 20 minutes for our brain to realize we are full) and eat healthier (it tastes lots better). One thing about junk food, processed food and all other oddities is that they really taste best when consumed quickly. Imagine lingering ( and I am talking taking those 20 minutes!) over a burger from McDonald's... Not a good idea. Anyways, this concept hit home for me because I eat so fast and usually alone. And I thought I ate healthily enough til this book. Eating "real" food (less than 5 ingredients, food your great grandparents would recognize, no processed) is kind of hard! I have to re-evaluate my grocery shopping!

Our book club's discussions for this book were quite lively and needed none of the sometimes needed prompts and discussion questions. Basically we just asked what eveyone thought and it took off from there! Please feel free to come to our next meeting where we are voting on our next installment of books to be read. If you feel so inclined bring 3 titles of books that you think would be great to read in a book club. If you don't feel so inclined... just bring yourself and come and get to know us! Third Thursday of the month!

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