Friday, February 08, 2008

TED: The Omnivore's Next Dilemma - Michael Pollan

In this great TED Talk, Michael Pollan wonders . . .

What if human consciousness isn't the end-all and be-all of Darwinism? What if we are all just pawns in corn's clever strategy game, the ultimate prize of which is world domination? Michael Pollan asks us to see things from a plant's-eye view -- to consider the possibility that nature isn't opposed to culture, that biochemistry rivals intellect as a survival tool. By merely shifting our perspective, he argues, we can heal the Earth. Who's the more sophisticated species now?



Anonymous said...

Hey Bill,

Pollan is great. Was actually wondering what your thoughts are on his criticisms of what he calls "nutritionism", as reflected in his "Omnivore's Dilemma" book and expressed on the web in this BookTV lecture.

Take care,

william harryman said...

Hey Matthew,

I haven't read the book, but I enjoyed the lecture in the link you sent.

As to whether I agree with him -- yes and no.

I'm a big fan of what is often known as the caveman diet, or paleo diet. In this sense, I tend to agree that we should just eat healthy whole, unrefined foods.

But he tends to reject some of the claims of the current science of nutrition. The real issue now is that people eat crap, and as long as they do, we need to pay more attention to the "chemistry" of foods.

I agree that "nutritionism" is not a very good approach -- the real answer is eating "real" foods, not worrying about the chemistry of food. But very few people do that -- and those who do so do not have to count calories, take huge amounts of supplements, nor do they get the common diseases of cancer, diabetes, or heart disease.

If we could eat like our ancestors ate, we could throw out "nutritionism."

By the way, he seems to take a somewhat "integral" approach to this issue -- I guess I need to get the book.