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Way In

Food for thought

One of the most curious books Third Way was ever sent for review was a tome entitled What Would Jesus Eat: The ultimate program for eating well, feeling great, and living longer. Taking cues from the supposed diet of our Lord, the author recommended fish and olive oil, and warned against the 'hidden dangers' of pork and over-leavened bread.

Unlike most contemporary diet books, it did at least talk about actual food rather than just the biochemical make up of what we eat. Readers these days are more likely to be encouraged to 'up their Vitamin C intake' than to eat an orange. Nutrients, minerals ... and what is a 'superfood' exactly? Similarly, governmental health organizations, wary of offending large agricultural lobbies, are more likely to blame obesity on seemingly origin-free saturated fats than on excessive meat consumption.

'Humans used to know how to eat well', says Michael Pollan, the author of In Defence of Food. 'But the balanced dietary lessons that were once passed down through generations have been confused, complicated, and distorted by food industry marketers, nutritional scientists, and journalists - all of whom have much to gain from our dietary confusion.'

Pollan's book is 256 pages long, all of which are informed and interesting. But lethargic readers might be happy enough to stick with his three-sentence introduction. It's not as simple as it sounds, apparently, but it'll do for us: 'Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.'