Part of the reason I chose to be a business major was because I never enjoyed my english classes. They were dull, and were not impactful to me. When I found out I would have to take two quarters of a “Critical Thinking and Writing” course at Santa Clara University, I was definitely not thrilled. I thought I had long escaped my high school days of long dreadful essays and meaningless books.
To my surprise, this course has impacted me more than any other course I have ever taken so far. When you think about food, you probably just think about eating it, right? That was me too before taking this course. Now I realize that there are many stories behind every single meal we consume. I have become more woke than ever before. I stopped eating meat, and I am currently taking small steps to become a vegetarian (I consider myself a pescetarian). I use to think that the only reason for a person to be a vegetarian or vegan was because they loved animals too much. I use to think it was sort of ridiculous because in my mind it was “the circle of life,” but now I realize how ridiculously ignorant I was. When you eat something, you have to take into consideration the environment, the people working to produce the food, and the life of the animals.
Through much research and by interviewing many people, I realized how much of a disconnect there exists amongst people and the food they consume. Even educated people such as the students at Santa Clara University are passive consumers. They believe what food labels say, and are fooled everyday about what they consume. Ideally, we should be able to trust what the labels on our food say, but unfortunately that is not the case. “Natural” does not really mean natural, “low fat” does not mean a product is any healthier than a regular product.
Something not many people do because of the disconnect that exists, is eat according to their morals. I, for example, stopped eating meat not just because of how much of a negative impact animal agriculture has on the environment, but because I think it is unfair that the resources used to feed cows and other production animals can be utilized to feed people who are starving. Why should I have the luxury to consume meat when somebody else can’t eat anything at all? As I mentioned previously, animal agriculture is the number one cause for a variety of environmental issues such as: “species extinction, water pollution, and habitat destruction” (Cowspiracy). By simply not eating the equivalent amount of beef to a burger, I am conserving about 600 gallons of water (Hallock).
Watching documentaries such as Food, Inc, also made me realize how much low income families have to struggle in order to try to eat healthy. They simply do not have the privilege to decide what they want to eat. They are forced to opt for the cheapest food which tends to be the unhealthiest foods. Low income families spend a lot of time thinking about what food they can afford while other families do not even think twice about buying what they feel like eating. It is unfair that not everybody gets the same privilege to such an essential part of living, eating.
The amount of power that big food companies have is also something that is frightening. They have managed to creep their way into everything with the help of advertising. Big companies often sponsor well known events, so we often see them in a positive light. That is exactly what companies want. They want to be a likable company so that people are
more likely to consume their unhealthy products. Companies have numerous techniques to attract consumers to their products: using well known characters/ figures to promote their food, targeting children by offering them something in exchange for buying their product (i.e a toy).
I am by no means an expert on any of these topics. However, I can truly say that the best way to make decisions that are in your best interest and in the best interest of those around you, is to educate yourself. I learned so much about something that seems to primitive (eating) by watching documentaries and reading books. Do not be afraid to make drastic changes in your life that will benefit you and those around you.
Ariely, Dan. The Honest Truth About Dishonesty. New York: HarperCollins, 2012. Print.
Food, Inc. Prod. Robert Kenner. Movie One, 2008. Netflix.
Cowspiracy. Dir. Kip Anderson and Keegan Kuhn. 2014. Web. 12 Mar. 2017.
Hallock, Betty. “To Make a Burger, First You Need 660 Gallons of Water…” Los Angeles Times. N.p., 27 Jan. 2014. Web. 24 Jan. 2017.
First picture: http://www.npr.org/news/graphics/2012/06/gr-burgers-462.gif