Saturday, August 31, 2019

Organic food Essay

We have all heard the phrase â€Å"What you don’t know won’t hurt you† and it has undoubtedly applied to many situations in our lives that we are still unaware of. We like to toss around this phrase without worrying too much about what it implies because that is the whole point of the phrase, not to worry. When it comes to what we are putting into our bodies, though, what we do not know can indeed hurt us immensely. In the United States, we have grown accustomed to not thinking much about what we are consuming. The main factors we look for in food are taste and price. We live in a consumer society where money rules our nation, it rules our lives, and it rules us. Money has become the main focus for every decision we make, but when it comes to something as important as our health, should we look at a few other factors? With societies concerns focusing on wealth and profit, there is no surprise that the food industry finds the cheapest ways to produce the most food. Consequently, this produces many negative effects on aspects of our lives such as our health and the environment. When choosing what foods to consume, we should begin to pay more attention to factors other than the price tag. The food industry obviously plays a big role in this epidemic of processed food, but they are not the only ones to blame. Yes they are the ones taking advantage of our ignorance by mass-producing cheap food that they know we will not think twice about, but the ignorance is our fault. Author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan, describes the current foundation of the food industry, â€Å"Our food system depends on consumers’ not knowing much about it beyond the price disclosed by the checkout scanner. Cheapness and ignorance are mutually reinforcing† (Pollan 245). Pollan is correct in his assumption that most Americans do not know much about their food besides how much it cost. Most of them are not even aware that they do not know what is in their food. They subconsciously assume that chicken is chicken and cheese is cheese, but unfortunately that is hardly ever the case. Many people choose to live along these guidelines of â€Å"ignorance is bliss† by not paying attention to the horror stories of the food industry; they turn their heads from documentaries on animal treatment and plug their ears at the mention of the real ingredients of their precious snacks. As long as the food they are eating tastes good and did not cost a lot of money, they are content with not knowing how unhealthy it might be. Pollan further explains another reason people buy the cheapest available food: It makes good economic sense that people with limited money to spend on food would spend it on the cheapest calories they can find, especially when the cheapest calories—fats and sugars—are precisely the ones offering the biggest neurobiological rewards. (Pollan 108) People with lower incomes are confined to buying cheap food, typically the most processed and unhealthy food, because with their limited funds they cannot afford to care about the quality of what they are eating. They buy what is cheapest because that is all they can get. As long as they have food in their stomachs, they do not complain or worry too much about the side affects. Eating food that may not be very healthy definitely outweighs the alternative of eating nothing and starving. Americans are ignorant of the food that they purchase either because they choose not to educate themselves or because they really have no choice. Either way, they are missing out on other possibilities of obtaining food that have many advantages. Not knowing what our food is made of also prevents us from knowing what alternative food options are available to us. Because we see no problems with our current food choices, we see no reason to discover new ones. The processed food at the supermarket is all we know because it is the most convenient and affordable from of nourishment we can obtain. Pollan’s book includes the testimony of someone who buys food from a local, organic farmer, â€Å"†¦for me it’s all about the taste, which is just so different—this is a chickinier chicken. Art’s chickens just taste cleaner, like the chicken I remember when I was a kid† (Pollan 252). The food available from local farmers is not only better for our health and the environment but it also tastes better. We have grown accustomed to the artificially flavored food we buy from grocery stores and do not realize that the food we eat could taste better and more natural. The locally grown food tastes healthier and more natural because that is precisely what it is. The artificially engineered taste of chicken in a common chicken nugget is not what a chicken should taste like. Besides enhanced taste, buying from local farmers offers many other benefits as well. An organic farmer interviewed in The Omnivore’s Dilemma explains some more benefits of buying locally, With our food all of the costs are figured into the price. Society is not bearing the cost of water pollution, of antibiotic resistance, of food-borne illnesses, of crop subsidies, of subsidized oil and water—of all the hidden costs to the environment and the taxpayer that make cheap food seem cheap. (Pollan 243) One of the main reasons why people do not want to look into these alternative methods of eating is because they are more expensive. People overlook these opportunities because the organic food appears overpriced, but when you evaluate all these factors it might not be as overpriced as you might think. Yes the food is more expensive but it stands true that you get what you pay for. When paying more, you are receiving a whole lot more that benefits your health, community, and environment. The extra money that would be spent on food, you might save on your medical bills and taxes. Locally produced food is healthier for you and it carries a much less chance of containing disease and illness. Another bonus of buying from local farms: there is less pollution created than in the factories and slaughterhouses of the globalized food industry. If people became aware of alternative food options and the benefits associated with them, they would be more inclined to pay better attention to what they are buying. This would not only improve ones personal health, but also the environment. Although money remains a very important role in deciding what we purchase, it would benefit us to consider a few other aspects of the food that we buy. Paying attention to details such as what goes into the food, where it is produced, and how it is produced would lead us to make healthier decisions. More often than not, a satisfying answer to these questions will not be found in the food at our local supermarkets, but rather a local farmer. Buying from these farmers would mean supporting a healthy environment and body. Their production methods are healthier and much more environmentally friendly than any factories in a big-name food industry. While it may seem that this is a simple choice, many Americans will continue to ignore these truths. When it comes down to it, money rules everything and it will take a lot more than the promise of better health for people to overlook a price tag. They say ignorance is bliss, but when that ignorance leads to decisions that contaminate our bodies and our environment, the bliss will be short lived.

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