Obligatory Michael Pollan Post

Giraffe with HeadphonesYes, yes, I know everyone’s doing it, but I’m listening to the Free Library Podcast of a book talk by Michael Pollan and I’m struck by a few observations:

  • Pollan says “nutritionism” (viewing foods as collections of nutrients instead of, you know, foods) is like surgery in the 1600s. A young science, something you might want to observe, but not something you want to participate in for a couple hundred years.
  • There are as many neurons in your gut as there are in your spinal column.
  • Cultural foodways have wisdom. “Traditional diets” – whatever the tradition – keep those people healthy. There is not one ideal diet for the human body.
  • Be careful when looking at traditional foods, because often what we associate with a particular culture are “banquet foods.” Southern fried chicken? Used to be you made that a couple times of year when the whole family gathered to celebrate a major occasion. So his other advice: eat anything you want, so long as you cook it yourself. “Making French fries is like childbirth. It takes a while to forget how much work it was before you want to do it again.”
  • We don’t really cook anymore, but we’ve turned cooking into a spectator sport on TV. “Watching something on TV is bad for actually doing that thing.” His next comment brought the house down…I won’t ruin the moment. 🙂
  • GMO potatoes are not grown in the US because something like 100 people wrote to McDonald’s and said they didn’t want GMO potatoes in their fries.


  1. onestraw said,

    January 14, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    That last one is the most important to me -it helps to reaffirm that people do still matter at times. I certainly see that in local politics here on the fringe of rural America.

    From the buzz it sounds like Pollan has done it again. That’s good news!


  2. Robyn M. said,

    January 14, 2008 at 7:43 pm

    Okay, I give. Is there some trick to getting iTunes to open this??? I want it on my iPod, damnit! I need to listen to Pollan while I work out!

  3. Robyn M. said,

    January 14, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    Nevermind, I WIN! I got it. =D

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