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Unformatted text preview: The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
What Lessons Did We Learn From Pollan? By: Danny Witbeck and Tony Krahwinekl " When you eat just about anything nature has to offer, deciding what you should eat will inevitably stir anxiety, especially when some of the potential foods offered are liable to sicken or kill you." This is the omnivore's dilemma. After reading Pollan, what do you think some of the reasons are for the "omnivore's dilemma?" Answer: Memory- A lot of brain space and time is devoted to figuring out what's safe to eat. Senses- Taste buds bring us towards sweetness and away from bitterness. Disgust helps too. Advantage of Culture- Tasters of the past. Supermarket choices No culinary tradition to guide America- leaves us vulnerable to food scientist and marketer. Health and nutrition problems trace back to things that happen on the farm and are influenced by specific government policies. What are some of these problems? How are they linked to the farm? Problems Obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes Resistant strain of bacteria Pollution Lack of nutrition Connections HFCS, processed foods, super-sizing Pesticides, antibiotics in the feedlot Fertilizer run-off, petroleum consumption, depleted soil, polluted water, endangered species, toxic wastes Processed foods "energy dense" and less filling, more fattening Industrial Food: Any food whose provenance is so complex or obscure that it requires expert help to ascertain. The Common Link: America subsidizes HFCS, but not broccoli, carrots, or even grass for that matter. The surgeon general continues to warn America of the obesity epidemic, while the President signs Farm Bills to stick with cheap corn, "guaranteeing that the cheapest calories in the market will continue to be the unhealthiest." The farm bill sets the rules for the American food system. Corn is in nearly everything we eat! Do you think the government should continue to subsidize the growth of corn? Yes
Some argue that industrial food production centered on corn, actually protects from: Food poisoning Cancer Birth Defects Caused by natural contaminants such as mold, bacteria, and viruses. No
Government fails to take into account: Cost of public health Cost to taxpayer of farm subsidies Environmental costs incurred from cheap corn Life of an American farmer Between 1989 and 1999, consumption of HFCS raised 13.1 lbs/person/year from 47.2 to 60.3! If the 16 million acres currently used to grow corn for cows in the U.S. became wellmanaged pasture, then that would remove 14 billion pounds of carbon from the atmosphere each year; the equivalent of taking 4 million cars of the road. "Organic" is a very loose term in the food industry. "Big" (industrial) organic is very different from "small" (real) organic.
CAFO's with small free range areas Still receive government subsidies from taxpayers: notably subsidized H2O electricity in California. Processing plants use a lot of energy Tremendous amounts of fossil fuels used just to transport organic foods. Federal organic rules allow synthetic additives-things you never heard of before Marketing is deceiving Small Organic
Symbiosis of plants and animals Very little fossil fuel and energy used More sustainable More efficient Calories used to make the food equals calories you get from the food Should the U.S. department of agriculture tighten the definition of organic? What effects would it have on the organic movement? Foraging can be an ethically-challenging, anxiety-provoking experience. Think about a hunter gatherer experience you have had. What challenges did you face? Pollan's Main Challenge to Create the Perfect Meal Are the mushrooms I gathered safe to eat? Stigma of wild mushrooms in America An omnivore will trust a past-taster Is eating meat ethical? Hunting? Peter Singer argues that "everyone's interests ought to receive equal consideration, regardless of what they are like or what abilities they have." Interest in avoiding pain It took Pollan a long time to hunt, gather, and prepare a single meal. Finally, after reading Pollan, what would be your "Perfect Meal?" Where would it come from? What foods? ...
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This note was uploaded on 04/06/2008 for the course HPS 205 taught by Professor Auyash during the Spring '08 term at Ithaca College.
- Spring '08