Unhappy Meals

28 01 2007

by Derek Beres

A very enlightening and thorough article in today’s NY Times by The Omnivore’s Dillema author Michael Pollan. He dives into the reductionistic tendencies of nutritionists – something he cites as nutritionism – that isolate certain nutrients from foods without considering the more broad considerations of geography, ancestry and, most importantly, treating food as a whole instead of breaking down the sum of its parts and treating it as the essence of the food. As he writes, “ecological relationships are between eaters and whole foods,” not just the nutrients from said food.

“Reductionism as a way of understanding food or drugs may be harmless, even necessary, but reductionism in practice can lead to problems,” he continues. The fact that humans consume foods based from four sources (corn, wheat, rice and soybeans) when we once had 80,000 to chose from (and 3,000 in broad use) takes the diversity from our diet, forcing us to seek out pills and pumped-up foods with certain vitamins that we once receieved by simply: eating food. Throughout the article he offers great advice on both minor and major steps to take to eating more fully and nutritiously, and yet it comes down to an extremely basic logic – eat less, pay more (if that’s what your local market demands for fresher foods), and eat whole.

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