Thursday, January 03, 2008

Eating ourselves to death...

A book out this New Year for our health conscious nation seems to be just what the doctor ordered. I remember the horrified look on a lot of faces when we decided to watch the movie ‘Supersize Me’. After seeing the movie, I remember being assiduous in avoiding the omnipresent fast food joints.

The author of an ‘Omnivore's Dilemma’, Michael Pollan, has come out with a seemingly more practical book titled ‘In Defense of Food’. This book seems to dish practical/healthy advice in bite sized servings. An added bonus: this comes with a manifesto… Given that manifestos are considered amateur in the art world, the list gleaned from this book seems worth taking a look. The pithyness includes:

- Pay more, eat less
- Eat a wide diversity of species
- Eat food from animals that eat grass
- Don't eat anything that won't eventually rot
- Avoid food products that carry healthy claims
- Eat meals and if you can, eat them only at tables
- Cook and, if you can, grow some of your own food
- Avoid foods containing ingredients you can't pronounce
- Shop the peripheries of the supermarket, stay out of the middle
- Better yet, buy food somewhere else: the farmer's market or CSA
- Eat deliberately, with others whenever possible, and with pleasure
- Do not eat anything your grandmother would not recognize as food

Essentially, he is exhorting us to give up the current nature of food consumption that revolves around the industrial-agricultural-economic complex and starting to eat more local and natural foods. While such a book could not come a moment too soon, the basic nature of food and the effect of processed chemicals tends to be addictive from a neurological standpoint (an example is the tracing of cravings that results from exposure to monosodium glutamate due to the permanent re-wiring of our brain neurons). In effect, it is going to take more than a book to actually change habits and tendencies that are hard wired into our subconscious. Of course, such a movement can take root if the industrial-agricultural wagon is unhitched from government subsidies and related legislation. That is a pipe dream as far as we have seen thus far…

Some of the provocative advice in this book borders on radical and extreme measures that may not be practical for most city dwellers. The cynic in me envisions the facts mentioned in the book only bolstering water cooler conversations. I also see avid readers finishing the 200 odd pages and then washing down that protein crusted peanut laced energy bar with a high octane drink.

Still, I must say that the manifesto reads well.

Hendrik Barend Koekkoek (Dutch, 1849 - 1909),'Peasants Preparing a Meal Near a Wooded Path', Oil on Canvas, 44" X 56"

1 comment:

JafaBrit's Art said...

My grandmother always said "moderation" and "balance" is the key.