We should eat traditional cuisine
While some food writers like Michael Pollan, Dr. Daphne Miller, and Sally Fallon Morell advocate eating some versions of traditional di-ets, most mainstream nutritionists are leery of traditional diets, which tend to be moderate in fat, cholesterol, and/or salt. I advocate tradi-tional diets for three reasons:
1) In studies, traditional diets typically do at least as well as nutritionist-approved low-fat, low-salt diets in maintaining health. In part, this is because the functions of dietary fat, cholesterol, and salt throughout the body are numerous, while nu-tritionists have necessarily devoted their limited time and resources to narrow views on the harmful effects of these substances.
2) Tradi-tional eaten didn't bother with scientific studies; they cooked and combined food in ways that maximized their health. The older the cuisine, the better: Five-hundred-year-old-cuisines are a good starting point, because at that point industrially processed foods had not yet made significant inroads into people's diets.
3) Traditional cuisines were moderate in fat, cholesterol, and/or salt and therefore tasted good; thus getting ourselves to stick with these diets is not difficult. The Mediterranean diet (olive oil, bread, nuts, goat cheese, fish, red wine, pasta, vegetables) is perhaps the most widely known and touted traditional cuisine these days, but many other traditional diets, from American southern and Mexican to Japanese, Okinawan (sweet po-tatoes, fish, vegetables, soybean), and Australian Aboriginal (kanga-roo, crocodile, wild plants and fruits, tubers, honey), have been found to be superior to modern diets in mitigating chronic diseases like can-cers and type 2 diabetes.
When I design online ads for American Apparel, I almost always look for an angle that will provoke. Outrage, self-righteousness, and titillation all work equally well. Naturally, the sexy ones are probably those you remember most, but the formula worked for all types of images. Photos of kids dressed up like adults, dogs wearing clothes, ad copy that didn’t make any sense—all high-valence, viral images. If I could generate a reaction, I could propel the ad from being something I had to pay for people to see (by buying ad inventory) to something people would gladly post on the front page of their highly trafficked websites.
But entertainment has the merit not only of being better suited to helping sell goods; it is an effective vehicle for hidden ideological messages. Furthermore, in a system of high and growing inequality, entertainment is the contemporary equivalent of the Roman “games of the circus” that diverts the public from politics and generates a political apathy that is helpful to preservation of the status quo.