Gathering my thoughts about our first lesson, I am amazed by how complex food actually is. After having read Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food, it’s surprising that even though there are things like the slow food movement and scores of people fighting for community gardens, the veil of nutritionism has not really lifted from the American psyche. Generally speaking, most Americans grow up familiar with the food pyramid and many of nutritionism’s bite-sized aphorisms; avoid carbohydrates, don’t eat too many sweets, and so on. It is terribly confusing to go through a grocery store with every label screaming out its health advantages, while “whole foods” (as Pollan refers to them) sit quietly lining the walls. People still tout the healthfulness of so-called “cleanses” wherein people drink scarcely more than maple syrup, cayenne pepper, and lemon, and after it’s done, go right back to eating all the food-like substances that were causing issues in the first place. These types of cleanses are at best ill-advised (WedMD’s take on cleanses, for example).
How can people make changes toward a healthier diet when they’re on a budget? I discussed food with a friend recently; she bought a $4 low fat Greek yogurt that she loved, but discovered that it contained massive amounts of sugar. She later tried the “full” fat Greek yogurt (twice as expensive) and noticed that she needed less of it to be satisfied—exactly what Pollan wrote about the benefits of purchasing whole foods. The problem, though, is a lot of people simply cannot afford to make the investment in healthy eating like Pollan suggests in a small list of rules at the end of his book. I hope as our course continues, we will explore more options for how a healthy diet can be maintained on a budget.
Kara Mayer Robinson. “The Lemonade Diet/Master Cleanse.” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/diet/a-z/lemonade-master-cleanse-diet. 18 Jan 2018.