American author, journalist, activist and the Lewis K. Chan Arts Lecturer and Professor of Practice of Non-Fiction at Harvard University, Michael Pollan, in his essay, Escaping the Western Diet, an excerpt from An Eater’s Manifesto published in 2008 addresses the topic of the “Western Diet” and its responsibility of western disease and argues that this diet is not “healthy” and they need to escape from it.
2. He supports this claim by mentioning the many different nutritional theories presented by scientists. All these theories seem to contraindicate each other. An example would be scientists who blame our health issues on refined carbohydrates are not the same scientists that believe a sugar soaked diet is the main cause. He then goes and suggest that scientists can argue all they want but in the long run we need to just stop eating a western diet. Then he proceeded to mention the involvement of the food industry itself and the medical community. The food industry thrives off the theories presented by the scientist by creating new product lines and always tweaking the western diet. The medical community also benefits off of these theories allowing for new drugs for western diseases and new treatments and procedures as well. Then he mentions Denis Burkitt who suggests that the only way to avoid this cycle is to “go backwards to the diet and lifestyle of our ancestors” which is taken as “eat foods that are less processed”. While this sounds easy, it is pointed out that this is not as straightforward as it sounds. Pollan’s answer to this is to simply eat smarter and suggest that we are part of the problem because we do not spend enough money or time in the preparation on food. Finally he proposes 3 rules to live by “Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” These rules if followed would lower the number of people affected by these diseases.
3. Pollan’s purpose is to open people’s eye to the effects of western dieting in order to change how much we pay more attention to our own health than what we do currently and to serve as a starting point for forming our own philosophies of eating.