By his own admission he is not a nutritionist--just an Englsh major trying to eat real food. Tonght, to a nearly packed house at the Syracuse Civic Center, Pollan wove together the themes of his three most recent books: Food Rules, In Defense of Food, and The Omnivore's Dilemma into an accessible primer on the ills of our food system and what we might do about it.
Even if you have read his books you'd find the reminder of some of his points startling: 20% of food is consumed in the car; the typical Western diet (filled with refined carbs, salt and sugar) is largely responsible for high rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and 1/3 of the cancers diagnosed; we've largely forsaken eating for pleasure and community building for eating for health--except we're getting less healthy; Americans spend only 9% of their income on food--less than any other industrialized nation (and if I'm not mistaken, this number has gone down in the past decade).
He began his lecture by filling a table with some edilble food-like substances he purchased at Tops earlier in the day. There were things I didn't know existed--I mean, frozen pancakes with sprinkles already on them?!? I don't get it--apparently, I need to investigate what else is in the conventional grocery store--just to see it. I tend to shop the perimeter of the supermarket and farmers at the CNY Regional Market get the lions share of our food dollars.
For those who have been reading this blog for any length of time or following the sustainable food revolution, tonight was classic Pollan--engaging, thought-provoking, and inspirational. I left reinvigorated and excited about this harvest seaon and grateful for the folks in our community who are trying to get real, whole foods onto our plates--you know, the folks listed in the left side bar.
Pollan says he isn't an evangelist but I'm hoping that he made a few more Michael Disciples tonight. Each and every person makes choices each and every day that affect our foodshed and what is stocked on grocery shelves. The power to change our food system, live with a higher degree of wellness and health, and actually enjoy the food that nourishes us is in our hands--or can be if we reach out for real food.
Anyone else craving kale right now, or is it just me...?