Alright, am no Elizabeth Gilbert and I am not traveling to three different countries or even three different states to write a book(or a blog) about the 3 stuff I’ve mentioned on the title.
But I will write about those three things which are important for me as a human being and as an evolving animal.
Gilbert in search for food, god and love went to three different countries starting with “I”. Is that a coincidence? A strange thing is that everyone in this world is so possessed and obsessed about themselves; “I”. (An avid reader of philosophy may want to read this blog) She could have done the search for food, god and love in the U.S itself. Even traveling to Indiana, Illinois and Iowa, if she is that obsessed with the letter ‘I’. Well publishers might have wanted some cheesy story with some masala thrown in. Alright, so you gotta go to Italy(for cheese) and India(for masala) for that. Since 3 is a good number, lets put in Indonesia too. The Indonesian mainland has nothing to do with the island of Bali at least culturally these days. But I for Indonesia, and Bali for a tropical paradise. Double Whammy. But all said, its an OK read. Recommended for all self-obsessed people out there. And by the way I heard the movie is crap.
Alright, back to my own rambling. I am against fast food chains, Whenever I go to a small town, I would like to go to some local eatery than the McD or subway. The food is anyways healthier, tastier, also ambient and value for money. Those were the only reasons I used to hate big corporations of chains. In August, I was in L.A for a short visit. One late morning, the breakfast boy I am, I was hungry and irritated, Me and my comrade had some trouble with the car, and we were on our way to Universal studios (Woo hoo!). Time was running out and my stomach was screaming. We finally found a temporary solution for the car, and I headed to the nearest McD and got my breakfast dose. Peace. Me, my stomach and my mind. That definitely was a food for thought, my perception was beginning to change. I wondered, McD (I mean all the chains, btw) may not be that bad, it serves millions of hungry stomachs every day. America would starve and panic without them providing the cheap calories for hungry Americans. I even thought about a similar corporate model for hungry Indians back home.
Anyways, I was on vacation, so I didn’t pay much thought apart from my meandering thoughts on it. During the same vacation, I had completed another book and I wanted to read some book during my flights and transits. I picked the “The omnivore’s dilemma”(after much debate inside my head) by Michael Pollan. That book changed the perception of the food I ate, the food I am eating, and food I will eat. I strongly recommend the first two sections of the book to all the people who care about the food they eat.
I advocate the importance of breakfast to many people (much in vain), but he is not interested in the importance of meals, or the nutritional content of each food. He traces the food chains existing in the present American society. The big flaws, the corporate disasters the world is getting enveloped in. He doesn’t advocate veganism, vegetarianism or anything of that sort. He just presents stuff in a critical account of a normal human being who cares and worries about what he eats.
We stroll around our supermarket assuming that the stuff is not harmful and good for us. We check the sodium content every now and then, and comfort ourselves that we are food-conscious. When we see “0g trans fat” or . No “MSG”, we think, ‘Cool! This product is good for me.’. There is more to the pop we drink and fries we eat than just water and potato. I have not read any diet books before or even the international best seller “Fast food nation”. I had an arrogance of my own that “I know what I eat!”, Few of my own friends have different arrogances which even might sound blasphemous to the sacred human body. “I hit the gym, so I am fine”, “As long as my BMI(body mass index) is normal, I am fine”, “I take multi-vitamin tablets, so I am fine”, “We are going to die anytime, so why bother”. There are much more things to ponder than just that.
Being vegetarian or even turning organic does not guarantee you and the planet a healthy lifestyle. And of course you have to worry about, fiber, all the numerous vitamins, proteins, omega-3, amount of fat and carb intake, the fruits, vegetables, the variety, red meat? lactose? eggs? juice? pop? Oil?. the list, the confusions, the questions are almost endless. The casual human being don’t have the “time” to bother about it. Why bother, eat three times and just live?
May be I should stop rambling too! He points out many important things to ponder, few of the striking ones are as follows,
What you eat doesn’t matter, what you eat eats is what matters.
The psychological implications in the lack of sustainability of the food we eat
The moral implications of eating animals.
The dependence of petrochemicals in what we eat.
It is an interesting book if you are against corporations, if you are interested in evolution, if you are interested in economics, if you are interested in PETA, if you are interested in sustainability, if you are interested in nature. And finally if you care about what you eat!
Next time, when you wander in the aisles of Walmart, just try to trace the source(not just where it was processed/packed) of your food.
-Santhosh K Ramachandran