How Cooking Can Change Your Life


  Alas, you will never eat French fries at MacDonald's again, after watching the first 5 minutes of the above video on the recent lecture in the UK by an award-winning non-fiction author, Michael Pollan. As many of you probably know, Pollan is an American and several best-seller books on food, health, environment, anthropology, etc. and writes articles for major magazines, including The New Yorker. According to this video and his book Omnivore's Dilemma, MacDonald's has been forcing potato farmers in Idaho to use an extremely toxic chemical (in addition to the pesticide). Their purpose is to grow a particular kind of potatoes that is the main ingredient (shockingly unhealthy products provided by the food industry and consumed by millions of people every day.

The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
Penguin Books

  This book has been translated into Japanese (two volumes):

雑食動物のジレンマ 上──ある4つの食事の自然史
雑食動物のジレンマ 下──ある4つの食事の自然史


  I highly recommend you should watch the above video. The following is my two-line summary of this lecture:

At 5 min 30 sec, Pollan says,

"Even poor women who cook have healthier diets than wealthier women who don't."

and at 15 min 25 sec, Pollan says,

"Eat anything you want -- just cook it yourself."

  I am glad that people in the US have finally started to stay away from MacDonald's, Starbucks, etc. in search of healthier foods. But the majority of Japanese people are  not aware of these recent health issues. I see many Japanese enjoying Starbuck's brownies and cookies, which use a large amount of trans fats such as margarine and shortening. These trans fats are also commonly utilized in the products (including plain bread, pastries, and sandwiches) at convenience stores as well as supermarkets for a longer-preservation purpose. Unfortunately, many Japanese, including college students, think they are too busy to cook, and end up with buying a cooked meal and snacks (processed foods) at convenience stores on a daily basis. If only they knew how harmful trans fat is. Long before it starts to affect your cardiovascular or endocrine systems, it has more immediate effect on stress and mental health such as mood swings, irritations/angers and depressions. I will write more articles on these issues over the next few weeks.