blackgirlgenius (olamina) wrote,

just the haps ma'am

I got a frantic email from nuggetology worried because I hadn't blogged in three days. OK here's the bloggery.

Chomp Change

uberdionysus has been posting about Michael Pollan's book, The Omnivore's Dilemma. Upon reading the blog post, I went and read Pollan's NY Times magazine article on food. Really interesting stuff on the connections between public policy, farming, industry, ecology, the grocery store, and what goes in our mouths. He raises so many personal, political, ethical, and moral questions about something which we ALL do: EAT.

The article blew my mind. Here are some of my favorite quotes from the piece:

Of course it’s also a lot easier to slap a health claim on a box of sugary cereal than on a potato or carrot, with the perverse result that the most healthful foods in the supermarket sit there quietly in the produce section, silent as stroke victims...

“The problem with nutrient-by-nutrient nutrition science,” points out Marion Nestle, the New York University nutritionist, “is that it takes the nutrient out of the context of food, the food out of the context of diet and the diet out of the context of lifestyle.”
There is nothing very machinelike about the human eater, and so to think of food as simply fuel is wrong.
What would happen, for example, if we were to start thinking about food as less of a thing and more of a relationship?
Health depends on knowing how to read these biological signals: this smells spoiled; this looks ripe; that’s one good-looking cow. This is easier to do when a creature has long experience of a food, and much harder when a food has been designed expressly to deceive its senses — with artificial flavors, say, or synthetic sweeteners.
our bodies have a longstanding and sustainable relationship to corn that we do not have to high-fructose corn syrup...In much the same way, human bodies that can cope with chewing coca leaves — a longstanding relationship between native people and the coca plant in South America — cannot cope with cocaine or crack, even though the same “active ingredients” are present in all three.
Processing foods depletes them of many nutrients, a few of which are then added back in through “fortification”: folic acid in refined flour, vitamins and minerals in breakfast cereal.
Today, a mere four crops account for two-thirds of the calories humans eat.
You would not have read this far into this article if your food culture were intact and healthy; you would simply eat the way your parents and grandparents and great-grandparents taught you to eat. The question is, Are we better off with these new authorities than we were with the traditional authorities they supplanted? The answer by now should be clear.
But for natural selection to help populations adapt to the Western diet, we’d have to be prepared to let those whom it sickens die.....Medicine is learning how to keep alive the people whom the Western diet is making sick.
To medicalize the diet problem is of course perfectly consistent with nutritionism. So what might a more ecological or cultural approach to the problem recommend? How might we plot our escape from nutritionism and, in turn, from the deleterious effects of the modern diet?

"Don’t eat anything your great-great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food."

Lots to chew on (pun intended), and Pollan gives great suggestions at the beginning and end of the article about ways that we can be better eaters. Though Pollan is a professor at my alma-mater (AKA the unrealistic idealistic center of the world), I still think (hope!) I can find a way to follow his advice while maintaining my fervently anti-hippy stance.

I'm now listening to the NPR interview he did last year.

In other news, my two cultural events last week were:

1) a few minutes at Sherry Weaver storytelling (I left because Mike Daisey cancelled and because it was the coldest day I'd ever experienced and I wanted to get back to Brooklyn despite the fact that Demetri Martin happened to be upstairs at that venue cutely dining alone). However I did stay around long enough to hear Sherry tell The Best Story Ever. I'll tell it you if we ever meet.

2) Matthew Rodriguez opening at Riviera Gallery (on yet another cold night). Alas, his stuff turned out to be very unsatisfying.

It was a subpar week for cultural events, I'll admit but I will blame a bit of that on the cold. This week is already shaping up better. I got a text last night from the fabulousverbavolant to come join her at The Pipettes show at Luna Lounge. I changed out of my gym clothes, showered and raced over there on my bike. Pictures coming soon!
Tags: cultural event, demetri martin, eating, food, nyc, omnivore, pollan

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