Heading into my Michael Pollan food experiment, I expected only to encounter minor difficulties with extra grocery costs, but basically maintain my normal diet. I felt my pre-existing obsession with fruits and vegetables prepared me well for two weeks of eating an all-natural, all-organic, whole foods diet. Little did I know, Pollan’s prescribed plan would take over my schedule, buying patterns and attitude towards eating. On one hand it was incredibly unrealistic, forcing me to decline food at a dinner party or sacrifice work-time to make and eat food (among other ridiculous things), but on the other hand, I’d never felt healthier.
It’s unbelievable how the foods we assume to be natural actually contain strange synthetic ingredients; even bread, orange juice and salsa include acids and chemicals. (Do some label reading and see what you discover!) Therefore, to ensure that I met Pollan’s requirements, I had to make everything at home. Bread was especially tricky – a late-night endeavor that took 6 hours and resulted in a very brick-like version of store-bought bread. Awake until 2 a.m., I was nonetheless rewarded by wholesome homemade bread for the next 1.5 weeks; a surprisingly cost-efficient trade-off. I rested assured that though sleep-deprived, my body was completely additive-free.
After a few days, I couldn’t believe it had taken so long for me to make changes in my diet. How could I possibly justify consuming chemicals or additives in food, if I refused to absorb them via birth control? I became horrified at how fully our food industry is dominated by manufacturing companies and technocratic systems. We constantly guzzle processed, unnatural ingredients unknowingly, often in an attempt to be healthier. For example, typical low-calorie food like Yoplait’s non-fat yogurt (flavored to resemble desserts like Key Lime Pie), contains ridiculous levels of artificial sugar. Special K Cereal, marketed as a healthy weight-reducing product, is composed of things like high-fructose corn syrup and pyridoxine hydrochloride. Not ingredients my great-grandmother would recognize and not good for my body.