How Food Makes Me Feel

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As a young adult woman in a time heightened by social media popularity and the craze of food science, I—like many young women—are at a millennial crossroad, confused and perplexed by the need to look a certain way to achieve maximum “likes” while also drowning in a sea of supposed scientific facts that influence how I can have a body that I so desperately want.

After struggling with this conundrum throughout the majority of high school with the rise of Instagram and reading the first part of Pollan’s book, I have realized that young women, like me, have continued with this unhealthy relationship with food because of the overwhelming information about what food is made up of and what I should be putting in my body. Pollan’s idea of nutritionism breaks down food into its component parts, creating a more developed food science. Now there’s an overload of information about food that you need to process, changing our understanding of what it means to be making healthy food choices. While this dialogue is happening, simultaneously, social media is training us to validate ourselves by other people through number of likes or online popularity.

These conversations intertwine in a lot of ways. For example, social media has cultivated an ideal body image and Pollan’s idea of nutritionism has defined our perception of “fat,” forgetting the valuable additions that having a healthy portions of fat has (Pollan 49). We have convinced the younger population that being “fat” is unhealthy without talking about the variability of being “fat,” only to be supported by social media’s idolization of certain body types. But the conversation doesn’t need to end there. To get to a healthy relationship with food, I need to better my understanding of what food does for my body and focus on changing my perception of myself in regards to other people.



1 thought on “How Food Makes Me Feel

  1. Mackenzie Bull

    I really resonated with the point that you made about the crossroads that young adult women in contemporary society face when caught between the seemingly endless array of scientific information that follows cyclical food crazes, and the personal feelings that often accompany societal expectations regarding physical beauty. I, like many other women, often find myself at a loss when faced with the multitude of continuously changing claims to health and wellness that at any one time characterizes a ‘healthy diet,’ while still hoping to achieve that standard of unattainable beauty and unrealistic perfection that is so prevalent in a society characterized by appearances online.

    In my opinion, this commonality of an unhealthy relationship with food is perpetuated by the public nature of physical beauty in today’s society, a phenomenon that has emerged in recent years with the rapid development of social media platforms. Like many women my age, I find that the concept of comparing personal body image to the examples commonly seen on social media is almost inherent in the nature of our generation, with few finding themselves an exclusion to that rule. As you also mention, the need to feel validation online through relative popularity depicted on social media platforms has a measurable influence on not only the way our generation perceives ourselves, but the relationships we have with our bodies, and as a result, with the fuel needed to power them on a daily basis.

    Moving forward, conversations surrounding nutrition and health should revolve around the individual, rather than society as a whole. No one body is the same, and therefore no one diet should be the same. Sure, there are commonalities in the effects of healthy foods compared to those considered to be unhealthy, but the degree to which we let these classifications affect our respective diets should revolve around our personal goals for fitness and well-being, rather irrelevant and alienating than societal expectations. Hopefully, with the progression of time, our society’s obsession with personal image will fade, as we attempt to focus as a whole on creating a positive relationship with the food that we consume, and as a result, with the way we see ourselves.


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