Good Reads & Resources

Unhappy Meals

While cleaning out my bookmarks, I came across an old but wonderful article that I wanted to share: “Unhappy Meals” by Michael Pollen.

It is a bit of a long read, so here are some of my favorite points from the article:

  • Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
  • It was in the 1980s that food began disappearing from the American supermarket, gradually to be replaced by “nutrients,” which are not the same thing.
  • The first thing to understand about nutritionism is that it is not quite the same as nutrition. As the “ism” suggests, it is not a scientific subject but an ideology. In the case of nutritionism, the widely shared but unexamined assumption is that the key to understanding food is indeed the nutrient.
  • Scientific reductionism is an undeniably powerful tool, but it can mislead us too, especially when applied to something as complex as, on the one side, a food, and on the other, a human eater.
  • We also eat foods in combinations and in orders that can affect how they’re absorbed.
  • Perhaps what we need now is a broader, less reductive view of what food is, one that is at once more ecological and cultural. (Note that these ecological relationships are between eaters and whole foods, not nutrients)
  • The astounding variety of foods on offer in the modern supermarket obscures the fact that the actual number of species in the modern diet is shrinking.
  • As we’ve shifted from leaves to seeds, the ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s in our bodies has shifted, too.
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