Wednesday, October 7, 2009

“The American Diet, the American Paradox” (E.C.)

The event opened with the school chancellor speaking about Michael Pollan and providing a bit of backround information. She spoke of his accomplishments and explained how the University got him to come and speak. Eventually Michael got on stage and began his comical and engaging speech.

Pollan said “We all get fat on our low fat campaigns.” He is completely accurate, and makes a good point. In today’s society everyone is trying to eat healthier and eliminate all negatives from our bodies. Pollan states that in theory this would work for losing weight, but it doesn’t. When all of the negatives are taken out of ones diet so are many of the positives. He says to eat “real food”...well what is real food? According to Pollan it is anything that your great grandmother would recognize(un-processed foods).

In the speech Pollan points the blame for an unhealthy america towards marketing. He even went as far as to inform the audience to simply not buy food that you have seen advertised on television. Could the food we see on television really be this bad? Michael thinks so, he said that 94% of the food we see advertised on television is processed. I feel that he is right about the mainstream food advertisements being made up of almost all unhealthy and processed foods, but he takes his suggestions a bit far.

“Use common sense when eating” these are the words of Pollan; he is projecting to eat “real food.” He states in his book to “eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” It is just more evidence that eating should not be as challenging as we are making it.

Pollan brought up the point that some of the main reasons to eating have been forgotten. He explained that eating was commonly much more than feeding our hunger. Eating used to be a gathering time to socialize and a time to relax and enjoy the pleasurable tastes of a meal. Food was much more than just food, but that has changed in today’s age. People are always looking for something fast. A meal has fallen back on our priorities. We want food fast and we want it healthy. People no longer eat to enjoy food. I agree with Pollan that this change in the way we look at food has had a dramatic negative effect on our diets. If society is looking for a way to fix their nutritional habits we need to slowly drift back towards the old reasons to eat food.

The presentation was very interesting to hear directly from Michael Pollan. It was nice to get an authentic feeling about his thoughts on nutrition. He was a comical man who kept the audience’s attention. As he began he seemed a bit nervous but gained confidence as he moved along through the presentation. I found this interesting because seeing him nervous in front of roughly 7000 people let me see him as a “normal/average” person. Anyone who wouldn’t be nervous would not be considered average under my standards. In the end I enjoyed the presentation and found it very informational.

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