I’m just wrapping up reading Salt Sugar and Fat, and I’ll be writing my review of it in the next week or so. In a couple days, I’ll be starting in on the next book on my list, which is The American Way of Eating.
I love when you read a book, and for months after reading it, you end up quoting it to people. That’s what’s been happening to me and French Kids Eat Everything. I find myself in conversation saying things like, “Did you know that in France, children eat the same food as adults? There’s no kids’ menu! Their cafeteria menu sounds amazing – nothing like what we had when we were kids!” Or, “When I have kids, I’m really hoping to discourage snacking. And, I’m definitely going to make them try every vegetable a dozen times. At least. I want them to be adventurous like I was.”
When I was growing up, I was pretty much the opposite of a picky eater. Sure, there are some foods I still don’t like, but I was always fairly adventurous. The rule at my parents’ house was I’d have to try three bites of something before I decided whether I liked it or not, and I’d usually have to try things I didn’t formerly like when they appeared on the dinner table at a later date. If I didn’t like what was being made, I’d have to settle for eating whatever was on the plate that I liked, and I always had the option of making my own food. Most of the time, I’d give in and eat whatever was served to me, and more often than not, I’d grow to like the things that I once hated.
It’s hard to know where to start when talking about a book like Cooked, a work that encompasses so many different topics and took me almost a year to read from start to finish. Don’t get me wrong, it was the opposite of boring or cumbersome, but there were so many plans I had laid alongside this book that didn’t fully go into fruition that the process of reading it and organizing these ideas took a while to solidify, but in the end, I am happy with some of the things that came out of reading this book, and I am hopeful for the future I see in front of me as a result of this book. Allow me to elaborate.
While Part I introduces us to the ins and out of nutritionism, Part II of Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food delves into the modern Western diet and its problems.
Let’s face it, there wouldn’t be books about our diet if there wasn’t something seriously wrong about the way we’re all eating. Self-help books don’t exist because we’re well-adjusted people wondering about hypothetical situations, and health books don’t exist to collect dust on a shelf. Let’s admit we all have a problem and find out what went wrong.
Part I of In Defense of Food discusses the history and complexities of nutritionism, something that is hard to explain and even harder to understand. (And harder still to summarize. Seriously, buy the book). Behind the scenes, nutritional scientists have a lot of complex relationships and nutrients on their hands with no clear conclusions, but when we walk into a grocery store, it may seem like they’ve got it all figured out.
The history of “nutritionism” is an interesting one, and it is an -ism, an ideology, that we have accepted into our Western culture. There are many ideas from nutritionism that have created change in the way we eat, but the lipid hypothesis is unquestionably the most important.