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Michael Pollan ( 1955 - )  Category ( Authors ) [suggest a correction]
 

Michael PollanBorn an urbanite, and to parents involved in the financial world, at first it might seem odd that Michael Pollan would grow up to write what has become a seminal text on human nutrition, cultural mores, and health. He was born on Long Island, New York and holds the Bachelor of Arts from Bennington College and the Master of Arts in English from Columbia University. In addition to being the author of the acclaimed, The Omnivore's Dilemma, he is also a journalist, activist, and a professor of journalism at the University of California.

He is married to artist Judith Belzer, who specializes in landscape painting. The couple met while attending Bennington, where both were studying for their undergraduate degrees. They have a son named Isaac, and Pollan's sister is Tracy Pollan, who is married to actor Michael J. Fox.

Pollan is best known for Omnivore's Dilemma, which was published in 2006. In it, he lays out four basic ways that humans have historically obtained food, including the current industrial farms, large organic farms, local farming, and the ancient hunter-gatherer. The book details each of these systems, starting from the beginning stages of planting and growth, or in the case of lifestock, from conception to birth, and straight through to an actual meal. The book was named one of the five best nonfiction books of 2006. The James Beard Foundation named the book its 2007 winner for best food writing. It was chosen by the University of Pennsylvania and Washington State University's reading programs.

Pollan is critical of modern agribusiness, claiming it interferes with the natural cycles of farming. He advocates a return to natural ways of farming, living, and consuming. He blames big business and big government for the disruption of the natural order, and that humans, animals, plants, and the environment have been adversely impacted as a result.

In 2008, Pollan published In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto. In this book, he challenges the notion that high consumption of fat and cholesterol lead to heart disease. He continually returns to his intitial premise, which states, "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." He also suggests that individuals eat only those things that people of their grandmother's generation would have recognized as food.

In 2009, he published a condensed version of his earlier efforts, Food Rules: An Eater's Manual, which includes informative quips such as "the whiter the bread, the sooner you'll be dead." Pollan is also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a former executive editor for Harper's Magazine. He has recently written a number of articles on the meat industry and American agriculture. He co-starred in the documentary, Food, Inc.


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