Wednesday we watched an interview with Vandana Shiva and discussed the influence of industry in choosing what we eat. I find it so fascinating that the world (mainly the U.S) has evolved into one that eats mindlessly, without purpose. Generally, we eat based on emotion, desire, or due to lack of self control. While all these reasons are problems within themselves, an even bigger problem is what we are eating.In the following video, a major food and sustainability critic, Michael Pollan, brings up a few key points to how we should look at food and calls this viewpoint "Nutritionism." .
Firstly, I find it interesting how he, like Shiva, finds a very strong correlation between the food that we buy and how industry sells it. Before advertising was around, consumers never were focused on what additives food had to make it healthy. Instead, the food itself was already healthy. They did not need to be told that a certain product has "lots of fiber" or "Vitamin A." However, what I find to be the sad part is that the food industry is driven by what sells. Today, as Pollan claims, the things that sell are those that have been enhanced or processed. No longer can farmers strive off of a large crop yield or great farming season. Instead, they are dependent upon the amount of processing a food product goes through and then how well it is advertised. Consumers often do not want to think about what is healthy and, instead, buy what they are told is healthy.
This brings up his second main point of nutritionism. Consumers have fallen into the trap of advertising and fads. Fifty years ago the nation was not struggling with high cancer rates, obesity, diabetes, etc., nor were fad diets or crazed "nutrients" a popular topic. Simply, people ate what they grew. Pollan reflects on this to help us realize that this has worked in the past, so why are we straying so far from this way of life in the present? While Pollan points to advertising and industrialization, what do you think is the reason? Furthermore, is the term "organic food" a way that industries can earn money by making it sound healthier even though "organic food" is how food was always sold 50+ years ago, minus the name?