The lessons that I learned while reading Michael Pollan’s book, In Defense of Food, were extremely eye-opening. From what I have learned, what stands out to me the most are the extreme changes that have taken place in the process of procuring food as an individual. It seems to me, from what I can tell at this point, that the two biggest changes have been the kinds of food available combined with the way that we structure our lives and our society today. Time is extremely parcelled in our everyday lives, we must organize our activities and duties into very specific time slots, and we must always stay on time, watching it for fear of falling behind. The effect of this is that there is little time in the day to truly think about or care about food for most individuals. After reading the first section of Michael Pollan’s book, In Defense of Food, I saw a connection between time and the seeming obsession that society has with nutrition. Due to the way that an individual must schedule their day, thinking about food in a non-utilitarian way becomes a luxury. Food, it seems, had become about fuel for the day ahead and nothing more.
This line of thought has created many questions for me that I hope to be able to explore and answer. Namely what that ramifications and repercussions of the industrialization of food are now and what they will be in the future. The last sentence of the first part of In Defense of Food summarizes the connection between nutrition and time in a disturbing way: “Thirty years of nutritional advice have left us fatter, sicker, and more poorly nourished. Which is why we find ourselves in the predicament we do: in need of a whole new way to think about eating” (Pollan, Michael). This is something that I would like to explore further, how we can change the way we think about food, and how can we implement these changes in a sustainable and affordable way, available to everyone. It seems to me that parts of the answer lie in our past and with our ancestors. We should start by looking to the past to find solutions for the future of food.
Pollan, Michael. In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto. Penguin Books, 2008.