Michael Pollan is an American journalist specializing in the field of nutrition and food production. He is the author of eight bestsellers which inspire but also shock nutritionists and American consumers. His book “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” was hailed as one of the ten best books of 2006 selected by New York Times and The Washington Post.
“In Defense of Food. An eater’s manifesto” and “Food Rules. An eater’s manual” are also available in Polish. One of the keystones provided by Pollan to the readers is that food is not exclusively a biological function. It also has a cultural, social, and communicative aspect. Eating exclusively to preserve life becomes tasteless. “The claim that eating should be foremost about bodily health is a relatively new and, I think, destructive idea – destructive not just of the pleasure of eating, which would be bad enough, but paradoxically of our health as well.”
The very characteristic, straightforward and unpretentious form of his publications attracts crowds of fans. In his books we can find simple rules telling us what and how to eat. Supposedly, we all know them, but do we always remember that something that was delivered through the car window is not food? Do we eat only when we feel hungry and not when we feel bored? How do we eat?
This subject is rarely mentioned in the handbooks on healthy diets. We should do it slowly, sitting at a table away from electronics and being surrounded by other people. This enables us to live healthier lives, even without following a diet. Pollan clearly stands for liberaton from the captivity and pressure of the increasing number of new, fancy diets. He is also in favor of using common sense and buying products that are minimally processed. “On whose authority do I purport to speak? I speak mainly on the authority of tradition and common sense,” he writes. “For while it used to be that food was all you could eat, today there are thousands of other edible foodlike substances in the supermarket.”
The author provides food for thought recalling that our grandparents and parents ate quite different things than we and our children are eating now. In the past, our mothers had the authority in the field of feeding their children. Today, we treat dieticians or media as authoritative figures. “What an extraordinary achievement for a civilization: the Western society has developed the one diet that reliably makes its people sick,” notes Pollan. “Therefore, it is good to eat according to some regional diet – the society with a poor diet will not survive."
In his latest book entitled “Cooked”, Pollan strongly urges for home cooking. Eat ingredients which your great-grandmother would also recognize as food, cook them, eat with family and friends, add salt and sugar on your own, appreciate this everyday magical transformation. This way of eating is nourishing and it opens the door to better and more conscious life.
Movies inspired by Pollan’s books were presented last year at the Berlinale – Berlin International Film Festival. The film entitled “In defense of food”, which is based on Pollan’s book, was presented at the Films For Food festival under the auspices of Dr Irena Eris SPA Hotels.