Food, Why Must You Be So Frustrating?
Ok. I’m frustrated.
With what you ask? Three things: the girl behind me in the theater, my breakfast, and Taco Bell. They may not seem to have anything in common, but they do. Let me explain…
For those of you who haven’t heard of Food Inc. yet, the film is about our nation’s food industry and how it contributes to the many health, environment, and social issues we currently face.
Here’s the trailer:
The event drew a wide variety of people–some who were genuinely interested in learning more about our food system, some who came to accompany a friend, and some who came for the free popcorn. It was exciting seeing so many people there, whatever their reason for coming.
So it is at this time I would like to take a moment, before expressing my frustrations, to thank all those who went to see Food Inc. and brought a friend. In bringing someone who might not have gone on their own, you are opening their mind to new thoughts and new ideas. It is through these simple human interactions that ideas are shared, actions are enacted, and changes are made. So thank you, girl with roommate or guy with friend. You have made a difference today.
And on to my frustrations:
1. Girl who sat behind me in the theater during Food Inc.
We’re in the middle of the movie, Michael Pollan is explaining the proliferation of corn in our food system, and I’m debating whether I have a bigger crush on Michael Pollan or Gerald Butler…when I look behind me. This girl has cracked open a diet coke and was drinking it with a great amount of pleasure. Really? The film has just explained how soda is essentially liquid corn, a product of government subsidies, and a contributor to obesity…and you’re gulping the stuff down without a second thought.
How does that happen? How do you not connect what the film is saying with what you are doing? Psychologists refer to this type of disconnect as cognitive dissonance theory. The theory goes that when a person is experiencing two contradictory ideas or actions, they will try to reduce the conflict by changing their attitude, belief, or behavior.
Therefore, when the girl opened her diet coke, she may have changed her attitudes in a variety of ways in order to justify her actions. She may have told herself that her one diet coke wouldn’t make a difference, or that she had no other options to quench her thirst. Which brings me to my second frustration…
2. My breakfast
First off, I’d like to say that I love breakfast. It is quite possibly my favorite meal of the day, which is wonderful because it is also the most important meal of the day.
The morning after I attended the Food Inc. showing was like every other morning: I woke up day dreaming about what to eat for breakfast. As I looked through my pantry however, rather than seeing bread, cereal, and soy milk, all I could see was HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP. PROCESSED FOODS. GENETICALLY MODIFIED SOYBEANS. And here’s where I find myself in the same shoes as the girl who sat behind me: don’t eat breakfast and go to school hungry (or) eat breakfast and ignore the contents.
I ate breakfast. With still quite a bit of internal conflict mind you.
3. Taco Bell
Taco Bell is good for one thing only: 3 am post-partying munchies. However, Austin’s craving for cheap Ameri-Mexican food took us through the Taco Bell drive-thru after school.
My mind screamed, “No! Remember what you saw in Food Inc.” My stomach simply saw the Cheesy Gordita Crunch and growled…
You would think that after watching a documentary like Food Inc. I would be quick in changing my ways. After all, the movie’s message made sense to me and I felt encouraged in eating more sustainably. Why then, despite my attitude toward food, was my behavior reluctant to follow suit? It seems that while beliefs and mindsets are easy to change, actions are must more difficult to alter.
How then, do we inspire both change in mind and action?
When have you felt conflicted between one action and its more environmentally friendly counterpart? What did you do in that situation?