Humanity believes that people eat to live or rather live to eat. Food is, therefore, an essential factor in human life. It is the source of nutrition for all of us. Human beings acquire energy from carbohydrates, vitamins, and proteins as well as other microelements from food they eat. The vital question for us as human beings is what we eat and how we cook it to make self- sufficient meal. In most historic countries, this is an easy task as they have specified their stable food which they rely on as a source of healthy nutrition. However, country like the US is comprised of immigrants who have no stable food (Pollan 12). As a result, the Americans are faced with a great dilemma on what to ingest. Frequently, they are faced with lots of health issues due to their feeding habits. Often, they visit nutritionists who advice them not to eat certain types of food, for example, industrial food, pastry, and meat. Eating thus becomes a difficult issue, and they have no option rather than becoming omnivorous. Being omnivorous aids them to become non-selective; hence, they get a wider variety of food to make a choice. However, omnivorous human beings are faced with even greater dilemma as they have a range of many different foods to make their difficult choice.
The book ‘Omnivore’s Dilemma’ explores the complexities associated with the food we eat. It vividly portrays the problems encountered while using different food sources. The book illustrates difficulties that we go through when searching for food from original sources. It further explains the issues explored when preparing a meal. Pollan, therefore, presents his feelings and thoughts about what the Americans are struggling with and terms it as the “Omnivore’s Dilemma.” The “Omnivore’s Dilemma” is a presentation of an incredible abundance of available food that leaves us wondering what we should eat. In a country where there is no culture, taboos, and traditions, this fact complicates the situation further (Salatin 58). The book is, therefore, an important tool that helps to bring American society and the whole world in general to the reality on food predicaments. It enlightens people on how to distinguish between healthy and poisonous food. Consequently, the book gives people a clear guideline to nutrition in order to promote improved and healthy lifestyle.
The book presents three major sources of food: the hunting and gathering, agricultural food and industrial food. The human race is, therefore, a part of a food chain and, hence, has to struggle for food to survive. The human meals comprise of raw and cooked products. The cooked meal, however, has to be well prepared. Pollan helps his readers to prepare a delicious meal. This is very significant aspect in his book. The author gives the society clue on how to blend and prepare arbitrary food that helps in nourishing human body and spirit. Thus, the book helps to promote natural cuisine and food safety.
Indeed, Pollan puts great effort to discuss a food chain and explains how farming is vital. It helps put food on fire, in a plate, and finally ingested by human body. Therefore, eating is not just an act of putting food into the mouth. It is an agricultural process and economic activity. Moreover, it is important to always trace where our food came from and how it found its way to our table as this helps to enjoy eating it. The author states that “this is a book about the pleasures of eating” and insists that the pleasures are only deepened by knowing the exact source of the food we eat.
Both Pollan and Thoreau agitate people for making continuous commitment to healthy eating. They insist that it is an immense start to a healthier life. Eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and good fats ensures good health. Pollan, however, persists on the importance of food nutrition, safety, and sustainability. He says that the way the food we eat is grown or produced can impact both our health and environment. As a result, this brings up the questions of what we eat and where it originates from.
Pollan traces the origin of corn, a common food product in America. He identifies and describes how it flows through within natural food chain. He also explains how farming helps to produce agricultural products that get their ways to people’s tables. The author traces the origin of corn to South America. He states that the corn has gone through genetic revolution throughout time. Currently, there are numerous kinds of the original corn that are used for different consumption purposes (McNeil and Pollan 67).
The book explores the food chain of an industrial corn in supermarkets. Food is said to be impressive in supermarket, but it is also difficult to figure out what it is made of. The corn from supermarket is surprisingly the major source of most processed food. The salmon fishes and cows are all fed with corn. Thus, this product exists in the processed milk, yoghurt, cheese, eggs, meat, and even hamburgers we eat. Pollan advises on what the naturalists emphasize on – finding food from grocery. This is essential because, as Thoreau states, it helps eat fresh and natural foodstuff, thereby promoting our health and averting medical issues.
Personally, I normally try as much as I can to eat healthy and traditional food. I buy fresh food like vegetables from groceries. However, this is not always possible as I live near very small grocery that does not stock all the food I need for healthy living. I am forced to source other varieties of food from supermarkets. Occasionally, I love eating fast foods and snacks from there. Besides, I often buy products such as milk, meat, eggs, bread, rice, and cooking flour from a supermarket and prepare meals at home. I always endeavor to ensure that the meals I make are within balanced diet. I ensure that the meal is comprised of different portions of nutrition elements such as proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. This helps me to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I always know that the food I purchase in a supermarket is not natural and fresh. Although I would love it that way, I have no other choice as this is the only way I can access food. I could be more certain about the quality of food I eat if only I practice farming. Unfortunately, this is almost impossible at the moment; hence, I can only eat available products from groceries and supermarkets.
The cost of the natural food that I eat is relatively expensive compared to the refined food. The food is also not easily available in the local supermarket and grocery. It is also not easily accessed from local farmers. Consequently, this makes it a bit more expensive due to the cost of transport and accessibility. The farm products are also processed in local industry from which they find their way to supermarket for consumers. The processed food is often cheap and accessible in a supermarket. To me, I often find the organic food costly and sustainable compared to the industrial one. I am fully aware that the industrial food is unhealthy and causes health concerns but, unfortunately, I cannot completely avoid it as I have no other alternatives.
Personally, I find it healthy to cook my meals at home. I always have a lot of freedom and fun while preparing my meals. I enjoy cooking dinner for my best friends. I love to cook sometimes stew as this is our favorite meal. While preparing this meal, I do not usually have a lot to do. I do the cooking in a relaxed manner that gives me the time to have fun and chat with my friends. I normally fry meat and add few spices to make the soup delicious. Moreover, I ensure that the rice is clear of any foreign particles. Afterwards, I wash it, add some water, and leave it to boil at a medium temperature. When the food is ready, I dish it up to my friends with a dessert plus apples. We also drink some red wine after the meal as it helps to promote digestion. Normally, I source meat, rice, and wine from the supermarket and apples from the grocery. I believe that the meal makes up a balanced diet for my friends and me.
In my opinion, I regard eating at home as less expensive compared to eating fast food from supermarkets. Obviously, when I eat at home, I carry out my process of preparation, cooking, and serving of the food. As Thoreau puts it, this guarantees that I do not have to undergo labour expenses; therefore, I do not need to pay for the labor costs of a cook, waiter, and supermarket staff. Similarly, I have no other overheads to pay like high utility bills. Furthermore, I experience low cost since I can shop myself for the exact ingredients for my home-cooked meals and can choose the best ones in terms of price and nutrition.
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Still, I also strongly believe that eating at home is much better for my health and general wellbeing than dining at fast foods. When cooking for myself at home, I can also ensure that everything going into my meals is not bad for me. I can have control of the quantity of food nutrients and elements as well as control the amount of salt I use. I am assured that my balanced diet suits my individual requirements. Moreover, I can also cook at home just enough food to satisfy my friends and me. Cooking my meal is, therefore, a natural way of maintaining my health (Gitomer 33).
In summary, food is a vital source of nutrients needed for human body functioning. Human beings are, for this reason, what they eat as it helps in building and strengthening the body. Therefore, it is imperative that all humans trace the source and chain of the food products they eat. Being individuals, we should also decide personally what to eat and what not to eat. The price of food should also be considered before purchasing. Natural food is expensive compared to industrial food. Cheap products are worse, and, therefore, we should pay more for our health survival and future generation. Cooking, on the other hand, keeps us connected to Mother Nature. Thus, the American society should take up natural food as a preference.