Americans are typically curious and nosey people. We are curious as to what celebrity has recently been put in rehab, if any of our favorite football players will be picked first on the NFL draft, or why is President Obama taking selfies at funerals? But something we don’t seem to be curious enough about is where our food came from and how was it produced.
In the book The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan, Pollan discusses how it’s not necessarily the type of animal we eat that determines if it’s healthy for us or not, but more of what the diet of that animal was. An animal who has been fed like an animal should, with a diet of grass and foods that can be found in their natural habitat, is said to be healthier for you than an animal who has been forced to just eat grain. Pollan helps us better understand this concept by using an example with salmon and beef. Naturally, if you were to ask someone which is the healthier choice of the two, they would say salmon. Pollan argues that if the salmon had been fed grain while the beef had been fed grass, then in reality the beef would be the healthier choice.
Salatin asks Pollan the question “Don’t you find it odd that people will put more work into choosing their mechanic or house contractors than they will into choosing the person who grows their food?” And my answer to that question would be yes, it is odd…but not surprising. Most Americans eat what they want to eat even if they DO know it is bad for them. This brings us back to the issue of obesity in America. Our country is one of the most obese countries in the nation because we don’t care enough about what is in our food. Of course we need to worry about the quality of our houses and cars, as well. But I feel like our physical health is a little more important than that and the economy needs to focus more on where our food is coming from and how it’s made so we can improve the health of the American citizens.
Pollan, Michael. (2006). The Omnivore’s Dilemma.