No title has been more accurate at detailing the problem with America’s relationship with food than Michael Pollan’s “In Defense of Food.” As the semester draws to a close and I recall why I wanted to write on the subject of food, I realized it was because I think food needs defending.
Obviously food is critical to any physical being’s existence. Despite this link, the homo sapiens species seems to have a twisted relationship with food. We humans eat genetically modified, processed, pesticide-sprayed, artificial substances that no human 100 years ago would have recognized. Our tastebuds crave the taste of disodium pyrophosphate more than a carrot and we don’t even know what that word means!
I remember in the spring of 2011 Michael Pollan came to UP and spoke about America’s distorted relationship with food. He said that we can’t call the things we eat food anymore, but rather “food-like substances.” These food-like substances are contributing to “rich-country” diseases: diabetes, heart disease, obesity. They are strangling our earth by choking the soil and ground water with chemicals. They are abusing hundreds of thousands of animals bred in captivity to die in the captivity of our greedy stomachs. They are labeled to deceive our senses that food-like substances are the answer to our body image problems. When did fake food become more appealing than real food? And why are we so obsessed with this artificial world to the point that it’s literally killing us?
Choosing to eat healthy is not easy. As a poor college student my sense of food prices is heightened and I know the battle between saving money and choosing organic or cage free is painful. Which is why we can’t just fight for our right to eat healthy in the check-out line. We must push for regulations on food quality standards and educate our peers about the importance of eating real food. Because we deserve it.