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Lit: Michael Pollan

By Paul Smyth · September 23rd, 2009 · CityBeat Recommends

Why are questions about where we get our food, how we eat it and the consequences for ourselves and our society so salient? For author Michael Pollan, it’s because we are recognizing new and old options for how we behave and the fact that our choices make a difference. “The food issue is actually one of the most pressing issues we face,” he said in a recent e-mail interview. “It generates an extraordinary level of passion.” Pollan, a New York Times contributing writer and journalism professor at the University of California, Berkeley, has helped frame “the food issue” with two best-selling books.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma explores the ecological and ethical dimensions of industrial, organic and hunter-gatherer food chains.

In Defense of Food examines the question of what we should eat in the setting Pollan identifies as “nutritionism,” which focuses on specific nutrients like Omega-3s or anti-oxidants instead of whole foods. Pollan’s concise answer — “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants”— can be a helpful guide if you know that “food” means whole, unprocessed real food, best if it’s fresh, local and produced for quality rather than quantity.

Pollan speaks at Xavier University’s Cintas Center at 1 p.m. Sunday. Co-sponsored by the Cincinnati Public Library, the lecture is free and open to the public.

Read Paul Smyth's interview with Pollan and get event details here.



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