“What is Food?” This is the first question I asked a freshman class of 100 at the University of Minnesota last Wednesday. I was speaking to Professor Michael Stebelton’s class, Multidisciplinary Perspectives to Critical Thinking: Food for Thought…and Action, about raw food.
I was greeted with blank stares. Granted, it was morning, most of these kids brains probably were not engaged yet. But it was a simple question. Finally, a young woman raised her hand. “It is something that sustains us”, she quietly said. It was a great answer. Websters defines food as: any nutritious substance that people or animals eat or drink, or that plants absorb, in order to maintain life and growth. The young woman who answered was one of the three people who had actually heard of the raw food diet.
For the next hour, we talked about Michael Pollan, the nutritial value of food, biochemical individuality, nutrigenomics and the wonders of raw food. We talked about grocery stores and how 90% of the of the food in the store, I wouldn’t even consider “real” food. It is over processed, over packaged, and over marketed. It offers little in nutritional benefits and a lot in empty calories. We talked about the environment, and how eating raw food is green. We talked about how, with a raw food diet, you can achieve optimal health from fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds.
By the end of the class, they were engaged. The questions were flying and I was thrilled. A small group even gathered to ask more questions after I was done speaking. I walked across the campus of my alma mater, on a glorious fall day, happy and excited because for an hour, I got a class of young adults to think a little differently about the food they eat.