Sunset's Q's for Michael Pollan, Author of In Defense of Food

What inspired your book, In Defense of Food?

It grew out of my last book, The Omnivore's Dilemma.  Reader's were saying, 'Okay, you're telling me where my food comes from, and I'm kind of alarmed to hear this.  Now how do I eat?'  So I came up with a couple of rules that don't tell you what to eat but how to think about eating.

A few of the rules

Don't eat any food your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.  And these seven words:  Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants.

How do you define "food"? 

I have a very simple food pyramid.  There's food, and then there's processed food.  I cut out all the processed food, so my pyramid is more of a stump. 

How can you tell when something is heavily processed? 

If it has more than five ingredients, it's probably not food.

What's better, eating organic or eating local? 

It's a false choice.  We should be striving to have both.  Many small local farms are organic in everything but name; they've simply chosen not to be certified organic by the government.

How does the average person afford farmers' market produce? 

Shop strategically.  Buy things at the height of the season.  There are a couple of weeks when tomatoes are really cheap.

What about growing your own food? 

I just put in my garden last spring.  I ripped out my front lawn and put in vegetables.  I grew string beans, carrots, broccoli, three different kinds of kale, cucumbers, lots of herbs, potatoes, and chard.  And this garden is only 10 by 20.  The most local food of all is food you grow yourself.

Article courtesy of Sunset Magazine, and can be found in its entirety here.

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