Missed the 2011 Yoga Journal Conference? Notes from Keynote Michael Pollan

Let me be candid: My relationship with NYC is a complex one. I love the land of Pinkberry. I loathe the Yankees. My bro and many of my dearest friends live there. So do more than 8 million New Yorkers. I could go on: love the city’s accessibility on foot, terrified of navigating the subway; thrilled by the plethora of restaurants, saddened by the lack of actual grocers; swoon for all the yoga studios and swanky gyms, irked by the lack of space– somewhere, anywhere– to sprawl out and experience real quiet.

I missed last weekend’s Yoga Journal Conference in New York City, butO.G. pal Julie Walsh was there and reported back on keynote speaker Michael Pollan‘s lecture (he, of In Defense of Food fame) . . .

Julie [below, left] writes:

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The great thing about being a nerd and admitting it to the world is that it’s easier for other nerds to find you, making it easier to unite with like-minded people. One of my best friends is a food scientist. We used to run together for hours, and I still remember trying to process her explanations of how molecules bond together. She lives in NYC, so I bought us tickets to see Michael Pollan speak. I’ve never seen her so excited about a gift.

I expected a talk filled with objective facts in a lecture-like manner. Instead, what I found was a funny, engaging personality, to whom we were able to relate easily. He was a critical thinker, but not a judge. He clearly puts a great deal of mindfulness into his lifestyle and how to publish works that make Americans consider our personal food choices. For example, food marketing is a $32b industry (and much of its advertising is spent trying to convince us that we don’t have time to cook– GoGurt, anyone?). It takes 10lbs of corn to make 1 lb of beef. If the Chinese started to mirror American eating habits, we’d need 2.3 more worlds to sustain this production. Alarming, isn’t it?

But, he believes that even though these facts exist… food is about its context. There’s a place for tradition, family, and culture. Everything in moderation– even moderation. Sometimes you just need to indulge, and that’s okay. Americans like to create black and white rules (including this type A yogi); but we should instead, think about what he dubs personal policies.

What are your personal policies when it comes to food?


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