Wednesday, February 17, 2010

In Defense of Pollan

In the first part of Pollan’s book In Defense of Food, he begins to develop many arguments against our current diet and the way American’s view food. One of his core arguments is that for humans food is more than eating. He contrasts human consumption of food to that of animals. He says that animals merely “feed” while humans eat. Pollan remises about his childhood and how haw family would bond around food. I agree strongly with Pollan’s argument here. For humans, food can be pleasurable; such as tasting good or the enjoyment one gets from cooking, among many other things. It can also be part of identity. Pollan talks about culture and how food has a lot to do with the identity of different cultures. Food is almost as big a part of culture as anything else. Finally, food and eating is social. It is what brings so many families together at holidays, or old friends who want to catch up. It is what unites people. Think of all the joy that you have experienced over Thanksgiving or Christmas. A lot of that joy probably centers around cocktails and appetizers, followed by a great meal with the ones you love.

Pollan also argues that the Americans are becoming increasingly worried about nutrition, but are mysteriously becoming more and more unhealthy. He believes that nutrients are not the same as food. Pollan goes as far as calling this concern “orthorexia,” and saying it is a disease. I agree with Pollan again on this topic. If people were to just eat whole fresh foods in moderation we would all be healthier. However, I have two things to add to this argument. First, is that exercise also plays a huge role in health and obesity. There will some “wiggle room” in your diet if you work out daily as recommended. Also, it is not always easy to eat fresh foods when we are so busy; especially for college students who may or may not have access to a kitchen. The Hunt For Healthy Food is often very difficult for people in this day and age.

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