" 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 for mostly "unreal" foods, 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 are generally the ones marketed as healthy and nutritious. Arguing that foods cannot be stripped down to their nutrients, Pollan stresses that we should only eat foods that that our ancestors would recognize. Replacing food with nutrients has led Americans to an obsession with nutrition and "healthy"" eating; a popular fad that, ironically, can lead to poor health. .
Pollan calls the health food craze "Orthorexia Nervosa"," an eating disorder centered around an obsession with nutrition. He writes that a person who lives his/her life driven by a "need" to only eat "health food," is setting themselves up for diabetes and other health defects. .
Not only are many of us paranoid about the foods we eat, but some of us have taken the obsession so far that our bodies are no longer receiving the nutrition it needs to thrive. 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.