If you're reading this looking for some sort of dietary salvation, you've come to the wrong place. In Defense of Food— a documentary based on the novel by food activist Michael Pollan— explains the problems behind western food culture and our obsession with finding dietary salvation. People are consulting experts with the question: What should I eat?

shrimp, bruschetta
Clara Yu

What's The Problem?

In Pollan's eyes, people are "whipsawed by changes in nutritional advise we're getting" by food "experts" who control the food industry. 

dairy product, milk, beer
Hannah Cather

He claims, "We're looking for dietary salvation, and when someone comes forward with a theory, we fall into line." One day fat is the enemy, and the next day it's gluten. The industry controls people's food choices to make a profit.

What Does This Mean?

pizza, tea, coffee, beer
Meghan Flynn

Obesity is a growing problem; Two out of every three adults in the United States is obese. "In the last 30 years, the rate of childhood obesity in America has more than doubled." Children are developing heart problems typical of people in their late 60's. 

There's More To Blame Than Fast Food

beer, wine
Zoe Zaiss

When you walk into the supermarket, there's food screaming with health claims: "gluten-free, sugar-free, fat-free, all-natural, added vitamins and minerals." Consumers are falling victim to what Pollan calls nutrition-ism, "the ideology of believing that the nutrient is the key to understanding food." But there's so much more to understand.

What We Can Take Away From Other Cultures

carrot, vegetable, pasture
Shari Brown

Pollan tells the story of the Hadza tribe, who still get food the same way our ancestors did: by hunting and gathering. They eat meat when they can find it, and live off fruits, vegetables, nuts, and honey in the meantime. They're known as some of the healthiest people in the world.

The French, on the other hand, eat foods that are high in fat and sugar, but eat these foods to a different extent than Americans. The French don't regularly eat McDonald's and wash it down with a 16oz. Diet Coke.

espresso, tea, croissant, coffee
Molly Delmore

They generally eat at the same times each day for longer periods of time. Their portion sizes are smaller. There's no "mad obsession with controlling your diet because the culture controls it for you." Most of all, they celebrate each other's company and enjoy the food they're eating.

So What Do I Eat?

Pollan has come up with a seven-word mantra to give Americans an idea on how to eat: "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants." Yes, it's that simple.

Emma Goll

Notice that the produce section isn't screaming with health claims. These foods don't have a long list of ingredients or an all-natural garauntee because they don't have to. You don't have to be a nutritionist to make healthy choices because the food tells all.

Sangria, Sparklers, Indian Food, Party, sushi
Carolyne Su

The next time you eat, consider reevaluating what it means to eat. Where is my food coming from? What's in my food? Who can I enjoy my next meal with?