" This simple mantra is the center of Michael Pollan's philosophy as shared in his book, "In Defense of Food." Pollan spends the first portion of the book arguing that at one time, humans knew how to eat properly. He further explains that the food industry, media, and nutritional scientists have sent so many mixed message regarding what we should and shouldn't eat, that healthy food intake is no longer an innate human skill. What to eat, when to eat, and how to eat were once a matter of family tradition and generational trends, but new nutritional standards have sent our knowledge of food into a state of confusion. .
Michael Pollan describes the supermarket as a home to mostly unreal food where true edibles are few and far between. Further, he warns that a major problem with the current food market is that the worst "foods " for us are generally the ones marketed as health foods or the most nutritious. Arguing that foods cannot simply be stripped down to their nutrients, Pollan stresses that we need to choose to eat things that could be recognized by our ancestors. Replacing food with nutrients is also leading Americans to be obsessed with nutrition and "healthy " eating, an epidemic that is ironically making us unhealthy. .
Pollan calls this Orthorexia Nervosa", an eating disorder centered around obsession with nutrition that is not yet recognized by the DSM-IV. He writes that this obsession is manifested through the Western Diet and is extremely conducive to health defects, like diabetes. So not only are we paranoid about food, we are actually ill. Though an obvious critic of our current culinary situation, Pollan does not give up all hope. He explains that through mindful eating we can preserve our food traditions and save our health. In Defense of Food suggests that it will take looking back to familial eating traditions of more time and money spent on food, along with returning to historical foods of the regions in which we live to restore balance to our eating.