Getting to Know Your Microbiota with Michael Pollan

pollan.jpgIt’s not a stretch for me to say that I learn something new every day; I work with so many different people on so many different projects, and I do read a lot. But last evening I learned in one article lots of things I did not know and which happen to directly inform all those things I do.

Michael Pollan is at it again, going where no writer has gone before to enlighten and inspire us to change our lives and, in small ways, to change the world. His most recent piece for the New York Times Magazine is another clearly laid-out indictment of our personal diets as they are dictated by “Big Food” and our personal health as dictated by “Big Pharma.” In the article he moves from the revelation that he had his gut analyzed for levels of good and bad bacteria to a discussion of the history and geography of our diet and how it has evolved to remove from our bodies many of the good bacteria that would normally keep asthma, allergies, and other autoimmune diseases out of our bodies. It would seem that the greatest threats to our daily health may not be the bad stuff out there but the lack of good stuff in our own bodies to fight off the bad stuff.

You need to read this to see how his argument develops. But his final point, once again, is that the “components of a microbiota-friendly diet are already on the supermarket shelves and in farmers’ markets.” He reminds us that “the less a food is processed, the more of it that gets safely through the gastrointestinal tract and into the eager clutches of the microbiota” (the collective microbes in our bodies). And as he often does, he explains in great detail why his major point is so important for us to understand: “This is at once a very old and a very new way of thinking about food: it suggests that all calories are not created equal and that the structure of food and how it is prepared may matter as much as its nutrient composition.”

Feed on that, folks — read more and learn more.

Photo by theNerdPatrol