Michael Pollan

Too much, and not enough, in Atlantic junk-food story

My alert and studious friend Steve passed me this story from the Atlantic that springs from a familiar mold, taking the contrarian viewpoint on a reaction to orthodoxy. In this instance, the orthodoxy is our broken food system, the reaction is Pollanism, and David H. Freedman’s contrarian viewpoint is embodied by its headline, “How Junk Food Can End Obesity.”

Citizen of the planet

A version of this was also posted today at Sprout Savvy. I'm delighted to share with them, and delighted they invited me to.

One of the first questions people have for me is, Never mind how you lost 155 pounds, how have you been keeping it off for almost 20 years?

I have several answers, depending on how much time we have, but the best, most accurate one is, I finally realized and accepted that I’m a citizen of the planet.

No redeeming value

Some people oppose any public suasion of any kinds on food choices — and even some of those do so honorably, instead of being motivated merely by their paycheck. I suspect they would object to the above.

But here's the thing, even putting aside the question of whether sugary soda is even food, or, in the coinage of Michael Pollan, a "foodlike substance." If any currently "acceptable" food or drink product warrants this sort of treatment, it is sugary soda.

It's all one issue

My longest-standing readers know that I started out blogging on topics of sustainability, which I rather narrowly defined as issues around energy use. Gradually, I shifted to food issues because I wanted and needed to support my book, "Fat Boy Thin Man."

In the transition, I saw how sustainability, defined as the dictionary does, rather than cloaked in the meaning "we" have attached to it, applies in so many ways to food. Yes, my thinking was absurdly narrow.

"The mother of sustainable food"

Do I have hope? Yes, I have hope because, as Michael Pollan wrote in "The Omnivore’s Dilemma," what it means to say that something is “unsustainable” is that it will stop. And we have an unsustainable food supply.

The speaker is Joan Dye Gussow, "the mother of the sustainable food movement," as ID'd by writer Paula Crossfield, setting up her interview on Grist (and, previously, on  Civil Eats).

What we can do, politically

Taxonomy upgrade extras: 

Few sweeping statements can be applied broadly, but here's one I'm willing to stand by: The first action any problem eater should consider is to take responsbility for what he or she eats, and look for support and help to change.That's what I did, albeit haltingly and irascibly, and I'm maintaining a 150-pound-plus weight loss for almost 20 years.


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