Monday, September 28, 2009

Michael Pollan Talk

            The format of the event was a formal speech given by Michael Pollan, with multiple introductions. There wasn’t exactly a lot of audience interaction. People clapped and hooted if they liked what Pollan said, but there wasn’t much room for questions. The general content of the presentation was a discussion on Pollan’s book In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto. All most of Pollan’s facts were backed up by expert opinion, which was usually his own, statistics, and scientific evidence by other experts.

            I actually agree with most of the points Pollan made in his presentation and in his book. One smaller point he made in his presentation was that things labeled “health foods” probably aren’t real foods. This makes complete sense to me because if something is modified to make the food healthier, then it probably wasn’t a natural process. If a food isn’t produced by natural process then it really isn’t food.

            I also agree with the point Pollan made when he said that we really don’t eat for pleasure or community anymore. We eat to satisfy our hunger and that’s about it. People in our society rarely sit down to eat as a family or community to talk about important issues or daily occurrences. People in our society maybe take ten or fifteen minutes to eat, while other countries, such as in Europe, take one to two hours to eat. They do this to share the events of their day and discuss significant issues regarding their lives. I feel like we do need to go back to this way of eating to bring back other importances of eating besides satisfying our hunger. 

            Another point I agree with when it comes to Pollan’s talk is the point he made about shopping only at the edges of the grocery store, which is where all of the grains, vegetables, fruits, and dairy products are located. All of these products are what we need in our diet, and our diets should be limited to those products. Of course we can deviate from these food groups every once in a while, but we should try and stick with the basics.

            One thing I can’t get past with this whole argument is why it matters so much what we eat. I think humans are smart enough to make their own decisions on what they want to eat and they don’t need people preaching to them all the time and harping over them about what to eat. We need to educate the public as much as we can about what they are eating and then let them make the decision. If someone wants to choose to eat a McDonald’s hamburger then let them. In making this decision they might work out an extra half hour at the gym to compensate for that unhealthy hamburger. All in all I think we are all smart enough to make our own decisions when it comes to food and everyone should stop trying to impose their ideas on other people.


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