Despite receiving some criticism on his book “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto”, Michael Pollan is quite passionate about the stance he has taken about food, nutrition, and the Western diet. Pollan points directly to unhealthy behaviors that many of us, to include myself, are guilty of, yet provides a straightforward solution. He says to, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants”. Despite this simple answer, he explains that the Western culture continues to become increasingly unhealthier. How can this be when we have access to more than enough food? In our culture, we are intrigued by the latest trends and fads, and this is true in our diets as well. In our journey to discovering exactly what our foods are comprised of, in order to reach optimal health and knowledge, we have created nutritionism, as Pollan calls it. By knowing what our foods are made of, we have established a lingo full of buzz words that convince our culture of the “nutrients” we need for our health. Pollan claims that this line of thinking is absurd, and we have overcomplicated something that should be fairly easy to achieve. He believes that “nutrients” are, more or less, a gimmick, and that we just need to consume real foods.
If the answer is so simple, how is it that we fail? Well, we require convenience, instant gratification, and want to exert minimal effort in order to be healthy in our daily lives. This is also a cultural issue. Then there is the cost of eating whole foods. Unfortunately, it requires more money to eat organically grown vegetables than it does to eat a highly processed, microwave meal. In many instances, the cheap option wins. Professor Beth Wheat highlighted this point, yet also spread a glimmer of hope that growing your own food does not have to be an impossible task. She is a Jill-of-all-trades it seems, yet with the right amount of heart and resources, she has convinced me that starting a farm is feasible. It could even fall within our culture’s love of all things simple.
Overall, our food system seems to be skewed in the wrong direction. Along the way of gaining knowledge about the nutrients we are consuming, we lost sight of the food we are consuming. The two are not one in the same. Those like Pollan and Wheat have created great reminders that we can simplify our diets, reduce the amount of processed foods we eat, and ultimately gain a healthier lifestyle.
Heritage Prairie Farm, https://www.heritageprairiefarm.com/gallery/, Accessed 14 Jan. 2018.