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Dear Michael Pollan

I have just finished reading your book In Defense of Food.  I thought it was important information and I agree with many of your points and certainly much of your thorough research.

I saw you on Bill Moyer’s Journal and thought your stories were good and contributed to my well being.  Reading your book was like savoring a good meal.

Many of my readers do not read books anymore, so I am planning on sharing 3 important items from your book and your blog so that they might link through and read from there. I also wish to share something with you which I discovered on television this weekend.

The first idea I share is about your concerns about NUTRITIONALISM.  I do believe this concept of approaching food is not healthy and contributes to a great deal of confusion and strange eating habits with unhealthy outcomes.  I think you are absolutely correct that if a product claims to be healthy one should avoid it and not consume it.  This nutritionalism seems like the way cigarette companies promoted smoking.  I am wondering how big a kick-back the American Food Industry receives for every diabetic they deliver to the Pharmaceutical companies or Heart Attack to the Surgeons.

“That’s what I mean by the recommendation to ‘eat food,’ which is not quite as simple as it sounds.  For while it used to be that food was all you could eat, today there are thousands of other edible foodlike substances in the supermarket.”

I highlighted the following list and then copied it out to hang on my refrigerator because I thought this was such a useful list:

  • Avoid Food Products containing ingredients that are a) Unfamiliar b)Unpronounceable, and c) More than 5 in number, or that include d) High-Fructose Corn Syrup.
  • Avoid food products that make health claims.
  • Shop the peripheries of the supermarket and stay out of the middle
  • Get out of the supermarket whenever possible
  • Shake the hand that feeds you.
  • Eat mostly plants, especially leaves.
  • You are what what you eat eats too.
  • If you have the space, buy a freezer
  • Eat like an omnivor  E.
  • Eat well-grown Food from healthy soils.
  • Be the kind of person who takes supplements.
  • Eat more like the French or the Italians or the Japanese or the Indians or the Greeks.
  • Don’t look for the magic bullet in the Traditional Diet.
  • Have a glass of wine with dinner.

Now I wish to tell you that last night on the news I saw my first commercial that was promoting a heavily processed food as a “real food” for one’s family to consume slowly, although the main dish was ready in just 12 minutes.  My mind said okay so now we are playing word games here – must be a dish by the American Food Industries standards of “real”.  Something more to education folks about?

I wanted you to know that I have a garden, shop the farmer’s market and fill 2.5 freezers every year.   I am working on healing myself with whole fresh foods.   I am still overwhelmed by how many people quote back to me that organic foods are so much more expensive as are foods from the farmer’s market.   I want to shout:  THEY ARE NOT AS EXPENSIVE AS THE MONEY YOU WILL SPEND ON HEALTH CARE, and IT IS REAL HEALTH CARE, NOT MADE UP EUPHANISMS.”

Do you find yourself getting frustrated?  Since I started eating vegan raw for healing – organic only whole foods, my food bill has dropped from $50 a week to $35, and as we have worked to put my partner’s Rheumatoid Arthritis in remission again, his food bill has dropped from $150 -training to about $90.    His medication bill dropped from $298 a month $10.93.   Healing with food and cooking for your self is a pleasure and a good way to experience love of self.

(I will confess that purchasing grains that nourish folks with Celiac Disease are more expensive than wheat, barley, oats, and others which are more locally grown)

So I am hoping that my readers will click over and check out your site and will connect with more of your very good information about food and food studies from a journalist – reporter.

I also want to share this quote with everyone from your book; it meant a great deal to me and encouraged my healing.  Thank you for your very fine writing, book, and good efforts.

“Eating with the fullest pleasure-pleasure, that is, that does not depend on ignorance – is perhaps the profoundest enactment of our connection with the world.  In this pleasure we experience and celebrate our dependence and our gratitude, for we are living from mystery, from creatures we did not make and powers we cannot comprehend.”

So was this information helpful to you?

Your comments are so appreciated and add so much to the conversation.

Other related posts you might also enjoy:
The End of Overeating
5 Must Haves for Your Next Doctors Appointment
I read Mr. Pollan’s book on my KINDLE

Harvest Potluck Ebook almost ready for publication…Some wonderful recipes which we hope will give some donations to UNICEF.   Yum Yum…

19 Responses to “Dear Michael Pollan”

  1. Betsy Wuebker Says:

    Hi Patricia – With Thanksgiving coming up, it has seemed to me that the chatter I encounter online and in person is increasingly about food. After a discussion yesterday with my LOL (Little Old Ladies) Internet Marketing Group – we are old but if the whippersnappers can do it so can we – about Food, Inc., our Locavores post, and Pete’s and my latest foray to the butcher for the rest of our pig, I had another post planned on the subject. So I was especially interested in these ideas and statements.

    The one about don’t eat anything that claims to be healthy is so great! Filled with additives or misleading copy on the label, it seems as though these items create a false sense of doing what’s best. I liked your analogy of the tobacco companies. Lots to ponder and research in advance of my post. Thank you, as always.
    .-= Betsy Wuebker´s last blog ..Down to Sleep: The November Garden =-.

  2. Betsy Wuebker Says:

    I went on and on and still forgot to mention your e-book project in my post, but would love it if you did in the comments. I know you are working diligently on it. It’s rough getting old and forgetful.
    .-= Betsy Wuebker´s last blog ..Unincorporating Food, Inc. =-.

  3. Unincorporating Food, Inc. — Passing Thru Says:

    […] prior to writing this post, I read this one, by our friend Patricia at Patricia’s Wisdom, who wrote an open letter to Michael Pollan (who […]

  4. vered | blogger for hire Says:

    “Many of my readers do not read books anymore” – ouch. I’m probably one of them. :)

    The list you posted on your fridge is great. I do try to avoid processed foods that have a frighteningly long list of ingredients.
    .-= vered | blogger for hire´s last blog ..Genetic Testing for Children: Would You Do It? =-.

  5. Patricia Says:

    I am jealous of your LOL group…I truly need one of those…I am attempting to run the ebook as my only post for the next week attempting to get donations…I need to got to SF to learn how to format and design the pages…which I think IT Geek and I will have accomplished by the end of the weekend….
    …sometimes dyscalcula just makes working alone too tough and I want to honor all the recipes and folks pictures….
    I am also saying a wee prayer of Thanksgiving for Davina editing the last few pages of writing….I was in tears by yesterday morning and her support and editing hug was so appreciated.

    Your new post this morning is just writing at it’s bestest…Thank you…thanks for the tags too :)

  6. Patricia Says:

    no ouch intended….as a matter of fact it gives me something to do with all my reading…summarize books for my blog reading friends…and pique imaginations. You be brilliant at what you do and I will be shining in my good efforts and together we will educate and bring joy to fruition.

    I am not worried about you – just hope your kids know you are reading online! they will do what you do and nothing will replace reading Little Women cover to cover in a book form!

    Pollan’s list has been published before….and I do think it is a good one to keep track of….I think he lives near you…someone who just took out his front yard for fruit trees and veggie garden nearby?

    I am planning on figuring out the name of the best vegan restaurant I ate at in the Mission District…and do a shout out…I am heading your direction tomorrow…

    Now about that Chanukah donut recipe…..

  7. Julie Says:

    I heard a rule of thumb a while ago that struck an “of course!” chord: Don’t eat anything your grandmother wouldn’t recognize. :)
    .-= Julie´s last blog ..More in Love Than Usual: Celebrating Fall =-.

  8. Patricia Says:

    That is a good rule and I do think my 94 year old mum lived so long because she ate what came from their garden all her childhood…she only had problems when when she ate in the dining facility of her assisted living center. No pills until 90 years old…thank you for your good comment

  9. Jannie funster Says:

    Very original how you framed this review as a letter.

    I like the idea of shaking the hand that feeds you.

    Do you find it a challenge to keep track and on top of the inventory in your freezers? I only have 1 and I forget about the stuff at the bottom of it. Any tips?
    .-= Jannie funster´s last blog ..3 Photos I Took 3 days Ago & 3 Photos I Took 5 years Ago =-.

  10. Patricia Says:

    Yes freezer inventory is hard…especially when one is not the only user!. I keep lists on the door of the large freezer of everything except applesauce…then I check off when I use something and date.
    Once a year I have to defrost – then I find the containers of 2005 applesauce that got pushed to the back.

    The insider half freezer has little things like shredded cheese and nuts.

    I keep all the meat in one section of the freezer and soup stock in another….one whole freezer is just from the garden – veggies and strawberries. I hate it when someone does not date or label something!

    I have several buyers still of applesauce and they come for about 12 containers a time…they must be new containers so I mark them by using different colored lids.

    Fruit juice does not stay long so I put the quarts in the door of the freezer….

    Veggies do not need to be on a shelf that is running the chilling …in my freezer they are all on one shelf…frozen as flat as I can get them so they stack…

    I have recipes grouped by food seasons…so each season we are eating different food groups and combinations. I think it is very hard to eat raw (inexpensively) during the coldest months…so I think soup, soup, and more soup….the freezer lets me purchase things when they are fresh and in season…

    In my extra refrigerator I keep the alternative grains that are so expensive and it acts like cold storage or a root cellar.

    I thought this was a fun way to do a post…and then went over to Pollan’s blog today and found he was writing a letter to the owner of Whole Foods as his post….great minds think alike?

    Nice to find you here…as always a pleasure…
    and this reply is probably more than you were wanting!!

  11. Hilary Says:

    Hi Patricia .. before I forget – your ebook .. good luck and well done on seeing the project through.

    Love your Little Old Ladies Group – not sure I like the Old – but as a 60+ .. who feels 20, but is going on 40 .. I guess I could do with such a group ..

    Don’t eat anything readymade, comercially available. Can’t believe what’s in some things.

    Eat fresh from the land if you can – I’m sure I’m healthier because we had fresh home grown everything .. I try and cook similarly now ..

    Good thoughts – and yes, if one changes one’s diet .. ie no preserved foods, no mixed foods eg sausages, etc (I used to love salami etc) …. and if we don’t eat those things we are definitely healthier – our body tells us so.

    The thing people forget and especially the oldies (old ones!) and those looking after the oldies .. is drink water, drink, drink – lubrication is the best thing we can do for our bodies. Also lots of fruit and veg as you do, with little of anything else = very good for you …

    Interesting post and information – thank you
    Hilary Melton-Butcher
    Positive Letters Inspirational Stories
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..Iron Curtain or a rich Green Natural Wilderness =-.

  12. Patricia Says:

    Still working on ebook…still not sure I can pull this off with such limited IT skills…

    THE LOL group is Betsy’s at Passing Thru….I just wish I had such a group. I feel at least 85 years today…

    waiting for my ride to the train to go to my IT’s and see if in person I can figure out how to format….I apparently have done it quite wrong – oh well it is good to keep learning new things.

    I seem to need more grain and fish in my life than raw vegan…so am adding a slice (or roll) of whole grain bread I make to my week and a Salmon patty.

    We are having a big wind and rain storm…lost power all night long…so will be off line for awhile between train and storm…

    Hope all is well with you…

  13. Hilary Says:

    Hi Patricia .. you’ll be fine – positive vibes coming over .. despite the westerly gales – the positiveness will win through!

    Good luck and I’m thinking of you while you go through the IT hell of learning this stuff & I admire for saying I CAN DO .. you will and it’ll be great and raise good money when it is ready .. when it feels it will be ready – so no rush, if it’s not possible – it’s not possible.

    I’m not a grain person .. never have been – and it can cause me a headache or two – so I steer clear .. not all the time. I have rice, couscous .. but not bread or pastry if pos.

    If you’re still having a big rainetc – so are we here in the UK in the north .. storms and floods I think ..

    We’re fine down here .. and as far as can be fine! Thanks for asking – look after yourself and love what you’re going to achieve – Hilary
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..Iron Curtain or a rich Green Natural Wilderness =-.

  14. Patricia Says:

    Thanks for the supportive words…I hope it will make UNICEF some money…

    I think I need to get off the computer…the wind is really something right now…
    Landslides have stopped the train north of Seattle

    I will try to get on line in San Francisco…

    I have to be careful of grain, but have found oat and nut flours are good for my system…so I make a whole grain and nut bread for me…
    Rice, potatoes and dairy are huge no-no’s for me…

    I drink lots of water, but am allergic to the chemicals which they put in out water here…..I boil all my water and run it through a charcoal filter system…what a difference this makes and to my cooking too…

    Oh I must turn off the computer now!

  15. Hilary Says:

    Travel well .. and UNICEF Fund raising as you so rightly say ..

    Landslides etc – we’ve got those in Scotland too .. just prefer it to stay away from here!

    Funny old things our bodies – we find out what’s right for them …

    Be well – and bon chance .. H
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..Iron Curtain or a rich Green Natural Wilderness =-.

  16. Sara Says:


    Like Jannie, I liked how you did a book review of your letter. It was a great way to approach this because I was wanted to know what YOU had to say to Michael Pollan! I wasn’t disappointed.

    I’m not the best at reading ingredients in what I buy, but I do try to buy less processed or easy to cook food. This can be challenge for me as I don’t cook myself and so convenience foods can seem easier. What I do now is fix a lot of salads, using our leftovers.

    I’m always fascinated how other developed countries are dealing with food. England seems to have moved more to organic/free range food than where I live. My daughter can easily get unprocessed and organic foods, even in London.

    Hope the book project goes well and that it’s author stays well:~)
    .-= Sara´s last blog ..The Journey Begins: Part Two =-.

  17. Evita Says:

    Hi Patricia

    Well done with this post and thanks for talking more about this book. On my long list of to read books, that have my shelf piling up, this was not one of them for various reasons. That is why I am so glad to learn more about it from you and other writers.

    I think we need to really get back to basics with the food we eat, and the truth is, it is so simple to do.

    My favorite part was when you talked about eating from the periphery of the grocery store – perfect point!!! I would even go as far and say only one part of the periphery in particular.

    Like you I eat vegan and mostly raw, and it is so easy, makes one feel so healthy and it feels so good to know that it is helping our bodies and our planet. So way to go and I am sure you will continue to have amazing results with your health.

    We really are what we eat – and the closer we eat to what we were meant to be, the better!
    .-= Evita´s last blog ..How Hypnosis Can Help With Motion Sickness =-.

  18. Kim Woodbridge Says:

    High fructose corn syrup is the worst – and it is in SO many products – even ketchup and yogurt. It’s odd how sugar has become the “healthy” choice.

    I have not read any of Pollan’s books but I recently watched The Botany of Desire, which I thought was very interesting. I especially liked the discussion of monocultures and how Johnny Appleseed was basically bringing hard cider to the frontier.
    .-= Kim Woodbridge´s last blog ..How to Create Your Own WordPress Shortcode =-.

  19. Patricia Says:

    I am home now and book published whew! Thank you for your good wishes.

    I am happy to say that our area of the country is full of healthy foods and organic and CSA produce – the folks here really have voted with their spending dollars. It is more now a competition of who has the “correct answers” – I think that is very individualistic.

    I was going to also put up Food, Inc. the movie now on DVD…It has lots of Pollan’s book and material plus interviews with him in a documentary style – I do not think I will run …the book is amazing as is his website – though his blog seems to have gone very quiet?
    I am now reading a person who thinks that vegan nor Food Industry Food is correct for us to eat and – it is fascinating too…I will review it when I am done….my Medical Intuitive is recommending organic, free range beef for me once a week, besides salmon once a week. I am having a great deal of trouble wrapping my head around this, but will test it out…I am usually game for a 6 week trial of anything :) though I think it will be hard to find the organic beef this time of the year???

    Yes, I knew that about Johnny Appleseed, but he did bring the apple from Russia for UK and USA to enjoy….hard cider and all!
    I think you would like the Food, Inc DVD too….easier to digest…I would still read Pollan’s book

    I am confused about what I should be eating right now…and I am on a huge plateau…huge…
    .-= Patricia´s last blog ..Harvest Potluck UNICEF Fundraiser =-.