Skip to main content

Food is one of the biggest research that I looked into when looking to improve my health and live longer. I had previously done some research when I was running my healthy food startup cleanbites (read about my learning here). The conclusion from that research was whole food, clean food, and reduction of the 5 evil whites (salt, sugar, rice, pasta, flour). However, I also relied on some guidance from governmental food recommendations which I thought should have been well-funded and done by smart people. Boy was I wrong! in fact, it is mostly influenced by food industries like dairy and meat.

As you embark on your research into food and nutrition, it’s important to establish a solid foundation. One great resource that can help provide that foundation is Michael Pollan’s book IN DEFENCE OF FOOD. The insights and knowledge gained from reading this book can serve as a valuable framework as you continue to expand your understanding of food and its impact on our health.


“In Defense of Food” by Michael Pollan is a book that critiques the modern Western diet and the food industry, and argues for a return to traditional ways of eating. The book is divided into three parts, each of which addresses a different aspect of the relationship between food and health.

Part 1: “The Age of Nutritionism”

  • This section provides an overview of the history of nutrition science and how it has led to a focus on individual nutrients rather than whole foods. Pollan explains how this has led to confusion and conflicting advice about what to eat and has allowed the food industry to market processed foods as health foods.
  • In the book “In Defense of Food”, Michael Pollan writes that beta-carotene, the nutrient that gives carrots their orange color, needs another nutrient to be converted into Vitamin A. Pollan explains that Beta-carotene is a precursor of Vitamin A and that it needs fat to be converted into it. He also cites studies that show that people who eat carrots along with some fat (such as oil or butter) absorb more beta-carotene than those who eat them raw or cooked in water. Therefore, he suggests that to get the most out of beta-carotene it is best to consume it in the context of whole foods that naturally contain the complementary nutrient it needs.

Part 2: “Escape from the Western Diet”

  • This section explores the health consequences of the Western diet, which is high in processed foods and sugar, and low in fiber and nutrients. Pollan argues that this diet is responsible for the rise in chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. He also provides examples of traditional diets from around the world that are healthier and more sustainable.

Part 3: “Getting Over Nutritionism”

  • In this final section, Pollan lays out his own approach to eating and provides practical advice for how to navigate the modern food landscape and make healthier choices. He advocates for a return to traditional ways of eating, such as choosing whole, unprocessed foods and eating meals with others. He also encourages readers to pay more attention to the pleasure and social aspects of eating, rather than just focusing on nutrients.

Overall, the book advocates for a more holistic approach to food, one that takes into account the cultural, social, and pleasure aspects of eating and encourages people to eat whole, unprocessed foods that are part of a cultural tradition.

I love his food manifesto, it is incredibly simple.

Eat Real food. (Eat whole real food)

Not too much. ( We are in an era of abundance due to industrialization)

Mostly plants. (We are not meant to eat too much meat)

Inspirational relationship with food

Some Questions that I was looking to improve my diet or food plan.

  • When is the best time to eat?
    • The best time to eat depends on an individual’s schedule, lifestyle, and health needs. Generally, it is recommended to eat three main meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) with small snacks in between, if necessary.
      • Breakfast: Eating a healthy breakfast within an hour of waking up can help jump-start your metabolism for the day and provide your body with the energy and nutrients it needs to start the day.
      • Lunch: Eating lunch around noon or early afternoon is ideal, as it helps to sustain energy levels and concentration throughout the day.
      • Dinner: Eating dinner at least 3 hours before bedtime is recommended as it allows the body enough time to digest the food before going to sleep.

      It’s also important to consider the timing of your meals in relation to your physical activity. Eating a meal or snack before exercising can provide the energy needed for a workout, while eating a meal or snack after exercising can aid in recovery.

      Additionally, people with specific health conditions such as diabetes, heart diseases and obesity may have different eating schedules, it is best to consult with a healthcare professional to understand what works best for you.

  • How many times should we eat in a day?
    • The number of times you should eat per day is a personal choice that depends on your body’s needs, your activity level, and your overall health goals. Generally, most adults benefit from eating three main meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) with small snacks in between, if necessary.Eating three main meals a day, with the largest meal in the middle of the day and the smallest in the evening, is a traditional pattern in many cultures. This allows for better digestion and energy balance throughout the day.Some people may prefer to eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day, also known as grazing, which can help keep blood sugar levels stable and prevent overeating.On the other hand, some people may find that eating two larger meals a day, also known as intermittent fasting, works best for them, it can help with weight loss and improve insulin sensitivity.It’s important to note that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, the best way to determine how many times you should eat per day is to experiment with different eating patterns and observe how your body responds. It’s also essential to consult with a healthcare professional, especially if you have any health conditions or are taking medication.
  • What type of food should we eat?
  • How to improve my microbiome.

Leave a Reply