Young and Hungry

Michael Pollan to Oprah: Food Is Alive and Should Die

Michael Pollan has written a number of bestsellers, including the brilliant The Botany of Desire, and he was No. 6 on Newsweek magazine's list of New Thought Leaders. But you wanna bet his appearance on Oprah this week probably did more for his cause than anything he's put in print?

OK, I"m exaggerating, but Pollan's day-time talk show appearance delivered the news of the Evils of the Western Diet to a segment of America that lives far outside the liberal, Food Inc.-watching, Whole Foods-shopping, Prius-driving milieu (yes, I just used the word, "milieu," and I won't even apologize for it, because I'm a liberal, Food Inc.-watching, Whole Foods-shopping...).

Maybe I missed it, but it seems that Pollan has added a new twist to his standard edict — "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants" (as well as its more folksy variation: "Don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food"). It's this:

Eat only foods that will eventually rot.

The new sub-edict reminds me of those famous McDonald's outtakes from Morgan Spurlock's Super Size Me DVD. Pollan has his own version of Spurlock's test; he tells Oprah that he has a two-year-old Twinkie in his possession that's still as soft and spongy as the day he bought it. Which can only evoke one response in my book: that shit ain't right.

"Food is alive and should die," Pollan tells Oprah. Right on, MP.  

  • Carrie the Red

    This makes me think of the commercial frosting I used to draw that number for your birthday cake a few years back. It has been on display in the kitchen for three years now, with no sign of mold, decay, or any decrepitude. It looks like it was created yesterday. Creepy.

  • Kaz

    I watched the show yesterday and was impressed by how excellent it was. It really made me think about a lot of things.

  • Sandy

    It is very sad that Mr. Pollan has to even point out these simple, very obvious, common sense rules about food - people alread know "you are what you eat" - there has to be more alternatives that are readily accesible for people before there can be change.

  • keri marion

    i love you, michael. keep on rockin' in the food world.

  • An Briosca Mor

    I would instead say "Food is alive and must be killed!"

  • An Briosca Mor

    Or "You should kill your food, not the other way around."

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  • Philip

    There’s an interesting post over at the Health Journal Club that makes the case that people should just not eat anything that wasn’t a food 100 years ago. Gets rid of the aspartame, bleached GM flour, high fructose corn syrup garbage they try to pass off as food these days. If interested you can read on it here,