Unit 5: “Nature’s Spoils” Reading Response

Get the discussion on this article started by posting your reading response here. Please remember that you will need to post your response and then read other students' responses and post  a reply.

freeganThe author of this article emphasizes that perspective is important. For one person, eating rotten meat seems healthful; for another it seems wildly reckless. Making the decision to join a movement take a Herculean shift in perspective, since our social patterns are so fixed and rigid.  Can you think of other movements, trends or fads that have required this kind of shift in perspective? What do we do now (or eat or practice, etc) that would have seemed unthinkable in the past?  "Going back is what's going to help us move forward," McAfee says. Do you think he's right?

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40 thoughts on “Unit 5: “Nature’s Spoils” Reading Response

  1. Matthew Wetherington

    Oh, my. This reading is at first pretty hard to palate as I am one who is familiar with opportunivores, but never to this bizarre level, it goes well above and beyond what most consider safe and responsible. Though I think as mentioned earlier, Bilger takes us to this level, to show us a serious perspective change, how there are those who see the world, especially how we eat, completely different. This group of individuals definitely seems dedicated to their movement; other movements I can think of that required this level of dedication, would be. First, the move to gasoline powered vehicles, and secondly the movement to internet. On the outside looking back at cars we don’t often consider how crazy their inventors were in the beginning. Though we often just hop in our cars nowadays, could you have imagined trading your reliable horse drawn carriage for one of these clunky gas powered things? Many doubted the success, or effectiveness of these small machines, and more importantly the movement that was starting to back the inventors. But we can now see just what a large impact these vehicles have on our daily lives. Next is the internet, by the 1980’s few people doubted the effectiveness of having a personal computer, to help do your work, but why on earth would we want an world wide web? Throughout the progression of the Internet, there were many many doubters, people even called it just a fad, something that would last a few years and be gone. However, as the technology came out year by year, this fadish thing was becoming a serious movement for world wide power. So I think this essay illustrates, movements can seem bizarre; weird, short-lived, or just irrelevant, but certain ones can have the monumental impact on our lives, changing the way mankind interfaces with the world. So, be more curious, and thoughtful the next time you see a movement springing up.

    1. Cassandra Lane

      The internet is such a great example of a movement. I remember a time when it wasn’t the norm to have a computer or internet in your house. Another one would be with cell phones and even further, having internet on our cell phones and the ability to talk to some instantly or even to video chat with someone far away. Technology has certainly come a long way.

  2. Cassandra Lane

    I really enjoyed this article and seeing the more severe side of this movement. I agree that these days things are too sterile which can cause more illness. Antibiotics have been administered way too often for things that did not require antibiotics to begin with. Sometimes it is just to shut up an overbearing parent. This over use of antibiotics creates an immunity to the medicine that is supposed to help when things get really bad. I did not know that it takes 4 years to replace the healthy bacteria after a single round of antibiotics. There is so much known and unknown about bacteria, it is fascinating and I want to learn more about it. He shows the extreme side to show different perspectives on the issues. I will admit, the rotten meat was a little too much for me. I do not think that I could go that far, but we eat well I believe and try to stay away from processed foods and foods with tons of chemicals which is hard to find these days unless you grow it yourself.
    I’m not quite sure that this would be defined as a “movement” per say, but I have seen lately a shift in family dynamics where the husband is that stay at home parent instead of the stereotypical mother staying home. In fact, a good friend of mine here is a stay at home father. His wife is in the Navy and he stays home and cares for their 3 sons. I think that this idea takes a major shift in perspective for a lot of people. I applaud them for their choice and for him to take on that role. In the past, even 50 years or even 10 years ago, this would have been seen as a “less manly” thing for a man to do. Being a stay at home parent, man or woman, it takes more work than one might think and to me, it is nice to see the role not be as gender specific anymore. A man, the husband is still a parent to the child and has responsibilities to the child or children as well.
    I would have to agree with McAfee’s quote. We over sterilize and have many problems these days because of it. Being clean is one thing but to constantly bleach and have hospital sterile homes is not a good thing. It doesn’t introduce our children to bacteria to help their bodies build up immunities. We just say, they are all bad and we must kill all bacteria because death and illness scare us but the truth is that this over sterilization is having a negative impact.

    1. Matthew Wetherington

      Agreed, this was fascinating contrast to our overly sterile lifestyle. Though I will say that there is some righteous places, and times where having sanitation, and sterility is crucial. Things like surgery would not be very safe with out cleanliness, and if you have to deal with an ebola outbreak, its mighty helpful to have sanitation. I can’t help but think of how fast the US could be hurt if we did not have our current standards, and something like ebola hit our soil hard.

      1. Cassandra Lane

        Agreed. We could have serious issues medically if there were not current sanitation standards in place. Our country could have been hit a lot harder than it was in 2014 when Ebola hit African countries hard. That is a great example of where sanitation is necessary. Also with surgery. I wouldn’t want to be cut open with a rusty knife.

        1. Angelica Kougl

          In regards to some replies on this thread saying “sanitation” would help in a satiation such as an ebola outbreak, and that surgery requires a sterile environment: I think it is important to see where McAfee is trying to draw the line between what needs to be sterile and what situations call simply for basic hygiene practices. I think when McAfee says humans are over-sterilizing, he is meaning that we are being overly cautious. In certain situations, such as a surgical procedure, sterile environments are necessary. However, everyday practices such as preparing a meal do not require a sterile environment. A relatively clean environment, yes. But a sterile environment, no.

          1. Kristopher Dunkle

            I think you nailed it, Angelica. Much like you said, I think by over-sterilizing he means using it where it’s not necessary or worthwhile to do so. Which is bad with antibiotics because, especially when the treatment’s not thorough enough, the bacteria with antibiotic-resistant mutations are naturally selected for and flourish. It wasn’t that long ago that we had no real answer to bacterial infections, and over-sterilizing could lead to us “going back” to that.

    2. Emily Nerbonne

      Your comment about how roles of man and women are switching up and they are become more common. The man being able to stay home with the children and being the one to keep the house, while the women work, is a monumental movement in my opinion. Being able to allow the women to also provide for the family and be the ones having the career is amazing to me. Man and women both need to be able to have career. Women shouldn’t be destined to be the housewives, and men shouldn’t feel any less manly because they decide to be househusbands. I really appreciate you pointing this out. This topic is really important to me.

      1. Cassandra Lane

        I think that it is silly for anyone who chooses to stay at home with their children to be shamed for that. I applaud men that stay home for supporting theirs wives and her career. I chose to stay home until our children are all in school and I am using that time to further my education for when I return to work. I did work up until the day that I had my daughter though.

        1. Emily J. Nerbonne

          Yes!!! Women can work. I once did a paper on this subject, the relationship between husbands, wives, and their careers. Sadly, my teacher who gave me the assignment felt that it was natural for the wife to stay home and take care of the children. She felt that the man was the one who was supposed to go out and have the career. She was an older lady, so her mindset was with that, but it irked me so much that she thought that. Though, in my paper, I stated my opinion about men and women having the careers and about men and women both being able to stay home if need be. I could tell she was irritated by my paper, but I couldn’t write something I didn’t agree with in order to appease her. Its a subject I feel strongly about.

  3. Emily Nerbonne

    ‘Breidt has yet to find a single documented case of someone getting sick from contaminated sauerkraut. “It’s the safest food there is,” Katz said.’ (Pg. #26) This quote made me laugh, because sauerkraut is not my favorite food, not even close to being it. Yet, I was raised on the stuff. Then, on page 25, when the author mentioned Katz talking about how you could eat the sauerkraut after two years, if you had a root cellar, I laughed again. I laughed again because I have been in that exact situation.
    This essay to me wasn’t all that surprising to me. The introduction was a bit off to me when I started reading, but after I realized the subject of the essay, I enjoyed it quite a bit. I can say that I related to this essay a little bit. I live on a farm, so I am used to a lot of what they were talking about. We have a garden and harvest all our vegetable for the winter. We can and freeze a lot of produce. We also make our own sauerkraut from cabbage we harvest from our garden. I’m used to fermenting the cabbage to can sauerkraut for the winter. Also, when the author turned from fermentation to unpasteurized milk, I could also relate. We have a few dairy cows that we milk for ourselves. We don’t pasteurize any of the milk we drink. Along with drinking the milk, we make our own yogurt and cheese from the milk. The only thing we pasteurize is the cream from the milk, because we make our own butter. The author was showing a different side of humanity. The ones who appreciated the bacteria that help this world, and the ones who aren’t freaked out about having everything absolutely sanitized. I can relate to that side. Without the bacteria, a lot of the things that we make on our farm wouldn’t work.
    This was a very interesting read for me when I really got into it. Though, I can say that the fermented meat did make me shiver. It is curious to realize that a movement is happening where people are leaning away from the Western view of food. The chemicals, the processing, and the genetically modified food is a huge part of our agriculture now. Then, you get further into their views on medicine. I completely agree with view of this essay that antibiotics are overused. I do believe that doctors have their place, and doctors know their stuff. But, antibiotics shouldn’t be used as they are being used. Cleanliness has been moved to a whole other level in the U.S. To me, a little dirt never hurt anybody. On page 26, when Jimmy brought in a bowl of fresh picked strawberries, the author started to talk about eating produce right out of the garden, and I had to chuckle. There have been so many times in my life when I just grab things from our garden and just start munching on it. The dirt has never bothered me. The way I see it, children can benefit from playing in the dirt. They need to be exposed to experience and to become immune. They don’t need to be blocked from everything out there and become sick children.
    This movement was quite eye opening for me to read about. Another movement that I could think about was when we first flew airplanes. They were these crazy contraptions in the air that scared many people. Nowadays, we are so used to buying tickets to fly where ever we want to go in the world. We can get anywhere in just a small amount of time. Another movement I thought about was the fashion movement. Look at how we have progressed over the years. In the early 1900’s wearing pants would have been outrageous for women. Now we wear whatever our hearts desire. We can pull anything out of our closets and wear them. These movements help civilization move forward.

    1. Amanda Carr

      Emily, I agree with everything you wrote and I am envious of your life style. The food you are able to eat, sounds great, having your own cows is awesome and being able to have that unpasteurized milk is so nice. Buying organic pasteurized milk at the grocery store just doesn’t cut it, we are missing out on all of that extra nutrition.
      I also agree with letting our kids play in the dirt and get sick. The only hard part about that is every time my kids are sick (which feels like most of the time) I GET SICK. My immune system is weak, my mom probably should have let me wade in the germs a bit more.

      1. Angelina Lund

        Emily- I agree with most everything that you said. I am not a fan of sauerkraut at all and havent really been exposed to it either. Eating vegetables fresh from a garden is the best. Pulling a carrot out from the ground and eating it, the best. I also agree with the antibotics being used too much nowadays. People got to the doctor entirely too much and antiobiotics are handed out too freely in a lot of cases. Getting dirty as a kid is a part of life and I think that the kids that arent exposed to that, end up getting sicker in the end. All good points. Thank you

      2. Emily J. Nerbonne

        I have an aunt who posts really good pictures of the cheese we make here. Oh my, there are so many varieties. She is always wanting to try a new one. She is also a photographer; so, she also captures a lot of what we do here on the farm. Anyway, if you would be interested in checking out the cheese, and you have an instagram, her profile name is @milkmansfirstwife. It shows a good bit of the things we do.

    2. Jessica Mathews

      wow Emily, so cool you are able to do this and I truly enjoyed reading about your personal perspective. I for one couldn’t do it myself for starters anything I grow immediately dies! I would have to agree about the fermented meat couldn’t do that, nor could I do the milk, but I don’t do any milk typically not something I am fond of! Thanks for sharing with us your personal touch! keep up the good work! also like the two examples you provided I would not have thought of either and that is due to both of them being such a regular occurrence in day to day life for everyone.

      1. Emily J. Nerbonne

        I can’t do the milk either! My dad and many of the people who come here are able to down the milk by the gallon. I can’t even sit down and drink a few sips of it. I don’t like milk in the least, but I love the cheese that comes from it!!

  4. Amanda Carr

    The 1970’s to 1990’s was the Fat Free Craze, I found an article about it called Why We Got Fatter During The Fat-Free Food Boom (https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2014/03/28/295332576/why-we-got-fatter-during-the-fat-free-food-boom), which was very interesting to read about how this trend actually got started and why.
    It’s funny to me know because, I was a 100% believer in that fat was bad. I remember eating a lot of gummie bears, rice crisspies, fat free milk, bagel’s and anything else that was or said – Fat Free. I truly believed that fat would make you fat, and that things that didn’t have fat would keep you slim and trim. This trend came to an end around 2003-2004’ish, when the next big movement came along… the Atkins diet. Which was the extreme opposite of the Fat Free Craze. The Atkins diet was no carbs and no sugar. This new diet had many health problems of it’s own as well. If you only eat fat and protein… not so good for the old heart. There probably needs to be some sort of middle ground to these extremes.
    Do I agree with what Mcafee says, “Going back is what’s going to help us move forward,” yes, I do agree.
    In my mind “going back” means balance. My personal opinion is, when we started making all of the processed foods is when people started becoming obese, diabetic, etc. I don’t agree with the theory that eating spoiled food is good for you. This seems a bit dangerous to me, other then the regularly fermented foods such as pickles, sauerkraut, etc.
    The more balanced we eat the healthier everyone will be. I am saying this hoping that what I believe now will not be the “New fad” but reality.

  5. Angelina Lund

    This reading had me a little grossed out. I am going to be honest in that I feel I am naive to eating spoiled meat , fermented foods or any kind of bugs. Eating these things has never crossed my mind. I can see how some bacteria in food can be healthy but I can also see how it can make you sick. I was raised to believe that if chicken is not cooked all the way we can get Ecoli and your hands need to be clean when you cook and eating raw cookie dough can give you worms. That being said I can see myself veering away from some of those beliefs but not as extreme as in this reading. I also can understand not wanting to get antibiotics for everything or going to the doctor for every illness or symptoms. I too believe that this country is focused on treating illness with medicine way too much.
    As far as something that we do now that seemed unthinkable in the past, my grandma always brings up things that we do now that would have never been done when she was growing up. Some of the examples she gives me is wearing sweat pants in public, to the grocery store or something. My grandma will not go in a public place without wearing jeans and a nice top and having her hair done. Another thing that she is always talking about that she will never do is own a smart phone. She always talks about how much time has changed with phones. We dont even call people anymore, we text and that some people can not even have a family dinner without a member of the family being on the phone, looking through Facebook. People dont communicate anymore and kids are so hooked on their electronics that they dont go outside and play or get any exercise. She also has never ordered anything off the internet because she is scared of identity theft.

    1. Janelle Pascoe

      It is crazy how being raised with certain beliefs effect the way we judge certain eating habits and ways. I was raised similar to the way you were. Although I have veered away from the habits and eliminated processed foods/ dairy products and processed meats. I think it is interesting that now days more and more people are shying away from dairy products and processed foods. It has become kind of a “trend”. I am very curious to see how things will be 20-30 years ago and what trends that are going on now will be shamed on in the future.

  6. Janelle Pascoe

    I agree that perspective is important, people tend to focus on their own perspective and disregard others. It seems like now days people have strong opinions on bacteria, it is either bad or it is good. Some parents want to eliminate bacteria in their kids lives entirely. I personally am a fan of Kombucha and probiotics but am weary about trying Kimchi or sauerkraut. I think people need to branch out and take risks that benefit health but I would not go as far as eating raw meat I think that is too far.
    A movement or I guess trend that has recently become popular is parents boycotting vaccines. The new rumor is that vaccines are more harmful to children than beneficial. I think this is a good example of why we should take Mcafee’s quote into perspective “Going back is what’s going to help us move forward”. Vaccines have saved many lives and the lack of vaccines a very long time ago has taken many lives. I totally understand that vaccinations are a personal choice but it is the difference between life and death with certain vaccines. It would have seemed unthinkable and ridiculous to skip out on a vaccine that’s offered because of the extreme life threatening diseases out there.

  7. Angelica Kougl

    There are extremes to any movement or trend, and this article shows that this fermentation movement is no exception. On the extreme of one side of the spectrum, people are making their beer out of corn their friends chewed up and spit back out of their mouths and believe it is good for their immune system. On the other end of the spectrum, some people believe that if they eliminate absolutely all traces of bacteria it will be nearly impossible for them to get sick. Both sides seem ridiculous, and the author does a good job of elaborating on the opportunivore side to show the importance of perspective. While reading this, I could not help but to compare it in my mind to veganism versus meat-eating. Veganism has been practiced for thousands of years, but the internet and social media has made connecting with mass amounts of strangers around the world so accessible and easy that we are growing more and more aware of the movement. It has also resulted in a growth in the movement due to more people being introduced to the idea of veganism and becoming educated on the topic. This essay reminded me of “vegans versus meat-eaters” because of how differently the people on either “side” sometimes think. Meat-eaters see meat and animal products as a crucial part of their overall nutrition. Meat-eaters who are more extreme on that side of the spectrum may think vegans are idiotic for eliminating animal products since it is such a necessity in the human diet. Vegans see animal products as detrimental to their overall health and believe that they can get the same good nutrients they need in their diet from a plant source without the extra saturated fat and hormones. So from their perspective, meat-eaters may look silly consuming so much meat and animal products when vegans believe it can be detrimental to their health. Similarly, opportunivores may look at non-opportunivores and think they are doing themselves a disservice by over-sterilizing their environments. On the other hand, non-opportunivores think the opportunivores are reckless for not being so cautious about the bacteria they are exposing themselves to.

    1. Hunter Young

      I totally agree with the completely extreme nature of any movement. I didn’t hear about the beer chewing thing until last year in another class where someone gave a presentation on the many ways of making beer. For example, another example of some crazy method that is used to make beer is that men with scratch their beards over the batch of beard. I’m not really sure what this did, but it was popular. There is something very habitual that everyone has to the food they eat, and ANYTHING that could change that idea freaks people out. In terms of veganism, I know many people who are vegan that literally go about life and don’t bother meat-eaters. But meat-eaters go crazy on hating vegans at times (of course there are crazy vegans, too). It’s just weird that removing meat from the idea of a diet freaks people out, but there are many MANY people who will not touch vegetables and that’s viewed as almost normal.

  8. Jessica Mathews

    This was a hard read for me, I had a very hard time keeping focus. I found most of it wildly reckless as I am not one to veer far from normal stuff, which eating old food, dumpster diving and unpasteurized milk for me is all far from normal. I understand people do live like this, probably more than you realize, just not a life for me. One major thing that comes to mind for me is Cellphones working at AT&T I see the craze over them, going in public you see the craze, everyone is always glued to them. it is so bad there is commercials constantly about not texting and driving it is sad it has gotten to that point but its definitely something that has become a large fad and one that was thought about in the past but not how they are today. Another movement in which society has morphed greatly would be the Fast food trend that is out of control, there is not a fast food restaurant you go to that isn’t ever empty, fast food is a quick growing chain in which is making America obese and causing other issues down the line. in the older days fast food was foreign and when it was first introduced it was treat. “Going back is what is going to help us move forward” the quote by McAfee, there is some things that you can go back to the past to learn from but not all things will necessarily help us move forward.

    1. Tarean Allen

      I love both of your points. The cellphone craze is real and it is having a major impact on social engament in society. Internet bullys and lack of tactfulness are becoming common problems. Also the need to urge to have fast food is increasing. I remember growing up and going to McDonald’s was a treat not an everyday deal. I feel bad because they charge so much for “healthier” options than they do fo rthe processed stuff. Its really effecting American’s waist and pockets.

    2. Brooke Mattice

      This was a hard read for me to get through as well. I agree that not all things from the past will help us move forward, Somethings are just not useful knowledge in my opinion.

  9. Kristopher Dunkle

    While I was reading this, I couldn’t help but feel like both extremes were just cherry-picking from the body of mixed opinions and scientific evidence to try to justify their moral preconceptions. It seems kind of obvious that, at the least, there’s more at play than purely rational interest in health benefits.

    It reminded me of a TED talk I watched by Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist, about the psychological roots of morality, and how five “foundational” moral values that have been identified across the world and across cultures can predict many “puzzling” human behaviors, like someone’s political leanings–or what they’re willing to eat (Haidt 1:00). He explains how research has shown that people are not born with a “blank slate”, psychologically, but rather a “first draft” that’s revised with experience (4:30). Further, he says that most everyone’s first draft places high value/aptitude on the first two foundations (harm/care and fairness/reciprocity), and varying value/aptitude on the other three (8:30). He shows several examples where these variations correlate strikingly with political ideology and with other morally-charged questions.

    What our reading reminded me of, specifically, was his description of the fifth foundation:
    “The fifth foundation is purity/sanctity. … It’s about any kind of ideology, any kind of idea that tells you that you can attain virtue by controlling what you do with your body, by controlling what you put into your body. And while the political right may moralize sex much more, the political left is really doing a lot of it with food. Food is becoming extremely moralized nowadays, and a lot of it is ideas about purity, about what you’re willing to touch, or put into your body.”

    Putting aside the political angle, which was the primary topic of his talk, I’d bet this semi-innate valuing of purity explains a lot about the movement discussed in the article. It’s not so much about the material costs or benefits, but how it makes you feel.

  10. Tarean Allen

    I think the juicing fad had a big impact of people’s perspectives on health. The movie Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead help push this movement. I recall my sister-in-law tried the juicing cleanse and it was not for her. It’s hard to change from eating mainly solid food to an all liquid diet. The need to chew is strong and the dietary effects are interesting. Some people have benefited to this juice detox and it has helped their health. I feel that this much of a change to diet is extreme and requires strict discipline. I would like to think that I could go through with this fad, but honestly, I love to chew my food. Plus, the cost of fresh organic fruits and vegetables in Alaska is too much for me. The torture of having to cook for my family while I only drink a juice is too much for me to bare. I have heard the argument before about going back to the way we used to eat. I think that it’s a step backward. We have advanced to a state that it would be more harmful than helpful to eat food in its “raw” state. Until we invent a time machine and it would be necessary to build our immune systems to that tolerance then I am not concerned.

    Watson, Julia. “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.” Library Journal, vol. 139, no. 14, 9/1/2014, p. 40. EBSCOhost, login.proxy.library.uaf.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=97587900&site=eds-live.

    1. Michael Williams

      The only time I would ever disagree with you on the subject of not needing a better immune system to deal with poorly cooked meat, would have to be for outdoors people. I have found myself in so many situations where I have to eat a camp fire roasted fish or squirrel and wished so badly that I had a caveman immune system. While so far I have been fortunate enough to avoid any too horrible side effects, it certainly would be convenient if I could just start eating whatever animal I caught raw. Though perhaps rather disgusting….

  11. Michael Williams

    Society has been moving at an incredible pace the last few decades, as far normalizing activities that would have seemed atrocious even just a few years earlier. Many of these come in the form of health or diet fad’s that inevitably prove to be marginally effective at best, but a few have stuck around for quite a while. One such fad from the Middle Ages was the crazy concept of daily bathing. In the High Middle Ages it was considered very risky to take a bath as it was thought the bathing was more likely to get you sick than anything. They weren’t entirely wrong as being wet in the cold European winter was often a death sentence, but they also realized the need for basic cleanliness. This lead to very infrequent bathing, generally only done out of necessity to get rid of a truly awful smell. Imagine trying to tell the nobles of such a day and age that they were in fact disgusting for not bathing? They would I’m sure be utterly perplexed about this strange, OCD, modern world idea of daily bathing! I for one though am pretty glad to be a part of this crazy bathing society we live in.

    1. Roger Vang

      I cannot even imagine only bathing a few times a year. I have to bath every day. Today, it is offensive if you stink in public. And it’s not appropriate to dose ourselves with cologne or perfume every morning, layering over yesterdays good smells. I am sure nobles of the High Middle Ages would think we, today, are a walking disease. Thankfully, our strive for cleanliness has not caused us to become sicker.

    2. Thomas Vorderbruggen

      This was actually the first idea that popped into my head, it’s a good example! A few studies have hypothesized that the entire black death could have been avoided via semi-regular bathing, and that seems like a pretty win-win situation to me!

  12. Roger Vang

    In the past, vaccines were unthinkable. As medical science improved, the use of dead viruses for vaccinations weeded out diseases such as measles, mumps, and rubella from the world. Any person who could get vaccinated did get vaccinated. That all changed in 1998 when Andrew Wakefield, a former British gastroenterologist and medical researcher, produced a fraudulent research paper stating that vaccinations were a cause of autism (Burgess et al.). People who believed this study began the fight against vaccines. They saw them as unnecessary and possibly harmful to the human race. Regrettably similar to Frank Cook, in “Nature’s Spoils,” their strict perspective on western medicine was harmful (35- 36). In recent news, due to many unvaccinated children, a new strain of the measles virus developed in Europe and the United States. This new outbreak caused many daycares and schools now require children to be vaccinated. This outbreak is a prime example of McAfee’s statement, “Going back is what’s going to help us move forward” (30). The world never thought measles would rise again, but because of one false study medical science moved backward, we all better understand that significance of getting vaccinated.

    Extra Source:
    Burgess, David C., Margaret A. Burgess, and Julie Leask. “The MMR vaccination and autism controversy in United Kingdom 1998—2005: Inevitable community outrage or a failure of risk communication?.” Vaccine 24.18 (2006): 3921-3928.

    1. Erin Dodds

      i agree that there should be recognizable limits to how far people take some of these health crazes. like you said, their perspective and reticence to Western medicine caused more harm than good. It definitely made me appreciate Katz more and made me more likely to agree with him about the benefits of fermentation.
      Pretty much anything that people say is a “cure all” never really is. Some parts of modern medicine is good, a few traditional things thrown in there won’t hurt, but I don’t think anyone should go all in on any one thing. Vaccinations was the first thing I thought of when I read the prompt. I do agree with McAfee, for if not for all of our mistakes, guessing, and hypothesis we wouldn’t have the amazing scientific discoveries that we have now. If we forget the past, we put our futures in danger. I remember reading about how the British continued to forget that limes were the cure for scurvy, and even though it had been proven in an experiment, the cure was unknown at certain times or just plain forgotten somehow. It’s little things like that that show us how beneficial the past is to us modern humans.

  13. Thomas Vorderbruggen

    If we’re talking about things we do normally now yet unthinkable in the past, learning multiple languages comes to mind. 200 years ago people lived where they were born and died in that same place. Your options were limited by your immediate surroundings, and your future was already determined by a family trade. You knew what you needed to know to prosper and nothing else.

    But with the modern age exploding and the globe more interconnected than ever before, it has become more and more prevalent to expand one’s horizons and pick up another language. Doing so allows one to not only communicate with other people, but it opens up another potential wealth of knowledge with all the free information public to the world.

    In this sense I disagree with McAfee’s “going backwards is what will help us move forward.” Standards of living are better now than they ever have been, and the statement itself sounds like someone was trying too hard to be deep and whimsical.

  14. Sara Church

    Reading this article was little bit hard. I have read before on eating spoiled food and people being fine with it and all that jazz. I can understand that people get inoculated through eating the spoiled food but we also need to take into account all the diseases that have been close to eradication from eating better cared for food. People used to die all the time from eating something that was just a little to far gone. Yes there are people that can handle this lifestyle but there are many people with bad immune systems that cannot handle this kind of life style. One thing I do agree with this article though is that we throw away so much edible food. In work in a meat department at a grocery store. There is a lot of food thrown away everyday. Though in the meat department we are trying to donate as much food as we can to the food bank. So if an item still looks edible than we throw in the freezer for the food bank.
    One thing that used to be considered unthinkable in the past would be the fact that women wear pants. Not to long ago Women who wore pants were looked down upon or thought to be unsavory people. At the Vatican women can not go anywhere without a skirt or dress to a certain length. I feel just knowing about our past and learning from our mistakes will help us move forward, but going back to ways in the past is not the way to go.

  15. Brooke Mattice

    This read kind of grossed me out. I cannot fathom the thought of going into a dumpster and pulling the meat out of it to cook and eat it. I can understand getting produce out of dumpsters. That does not freak me out at all. The perishable foods are crossing a line

    It was mentioned that these people get diarrhea and have gotten food poisoning. That is a serious issue. That needs to be weighed in more when people are making a decision to eat perishable foods out of the dumpster to save a dime. I do think that more people should take advantage of produce that is thrown away because it has a bruise or a is misshapen and still in edible condition. As a society, we waste far too many things that could be used in a different way or eaten by someone.

    Cellphones are something that was unusual that became a “norm”. I could not function daily if I didn’t have my phone. I have to make work calls and email on it regularly, so it would honestly be hard to function in today’s world without it.

  16. Hunter Young

    This was super interesting to me. For many reasons. I have (like many others) thought about eating fermented food. While watching Food Network, I have heard the word used in some ingredients on Chopped, and I assumed that must make it some kind of delicacy.
    Fermenting to me just sounds like rotting. But after reading this I’ve discovered that the two are different. Bilger says, “It can be sealed in a barrel, stuffed in a casing, soaked in brine, or submerged in its own juices–anything, as long as oxygen doesn’t touch it.” And when oxygen touches it, that is when it starts to rot. Except it was funny when it was described as a “benign form of rot.” I think many, like myself, are grossed out by the idea of fermenting because the word “bacteria” is attached to it, and people usually have a negative connotation with that word. But of course, like when we learn about bacteria in elementary school, this is good bacteria (because there is good bacteria). There are so many things that have bacteria that people enjoy, but don’t think about, which is interesting. As Bilger says, “Beer, wine, cheese, bread, cured meats, coffee, chocolate,” are composed of bacteria. Maybe the word fermented deters people from eating certain foods.
    The article started to take some strange twists and turns though. It mentioned diving into Dumpsters for food. I have always viewed this as something extreme. There was a show (I think on TLC) called Extreme Cheapskates. It was supposed to be a serious show (I think) but it was edited to be super cheesy and comical almost. So that was interesting to see a “scientific” side to that.
    However, the turn it took about everything being too sterile causing more illnesses really intrigued me. We live in a world where everything is so clean and so protected that there’s no exposure for the build up of tolerance. Many of the really harsh quotes that mentioned antibacterial materials as suicide were really attention grabbing and shockingly true. I think the cleaner we make everything, the higher the chance of something “foreign” attacking our immune systems.
    All in all, this was super interesting. I might try more fermented things (I hate pickles so I might have to find something else) but it’s super interesting to get the background of food sciences. It has always been something I am super interested in.

  17. Erin Dodds

    The first section of the story that caught my eye was when Bilger noted “fermentation, like cooking with fire, was one of the initial conditions of civilization”. I was taught growing up that several factors contributed to humans living in permanent places, rather than having nomadic behaviors. These were things like the invention of fire and animal husbandry. Not fermentation.
    Now I have read and studied different bacteria we live with and our symbiotic relationships, so the beginning of the story really didn’t catch my interest, although I do find bacteria very interesting. No, considering the importance of fermentation and the applications was more intriguing. When Bilger describes the health benefits and the nutrient composition of some fermented foods, I was a little shocked. I had assumed most things that I think of as “pickled” (that’s how I would describe preserved things, despite there being no pickling seasoning) are not healthy to eat because they are not fresh. We are taught that the fresher the better, and the more cooked a vegetable or fruit is, the less nutritional value is present. Well, I didn’t realize “pickling”, although not actually cooking the food, left vitamins and minerals intact and created some as well. WOW that was an amazing revelation!
    High meat is one of the first things I thought of when beginning this reading. I watched an episode of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmerman where he goes to Iceland and tries some fermented reindeer head and it was one of the only foods he didn’t enjoy eating. He ate it, but he said it was pretty awful. Blech!
    So Katz having suffered from an HIV infection and Bilger moving us through his discovery of fermentation and so on led me to be quite skeptical of whatever he might be pushing for us to buy from him, because I saw it as Katz making up a dramatic lie so he could get some people to go along with his ploy. Then Katz comes out and explains that we can’t end pasteurization, even though he is for it he realizes it is not feasible. That part made him seem more credible in my eyes. And even more so when he “succumbed to Western medicine”. Sometimes I feel like people buy too much into one way of thinking or one viewpoint or practice, and that’s what we see with his followers or people like them berating him for taking pills for his HIV. I just think it makes him more credible and more amazing and now I really want to read “The Revolution Will Not be Microwaved”.

  18. Rebekah Melchior-Waldron

    There are a lot of lifestyle trends and fads that exist especially concerning diet. I think some trends appeal to certain personalities better than others and maybe that has some influence on a “Herculean shift in perspective”. I can think of many trends that people are very passionate about like Gluten-Free and Paleo, and non-dairy, and those movements seem to speak to some people and not others. However not as many things are a universal trend or movement. One thing that comes to mind that people do now would have seemed unthinkable in the past is alternative medicine which is sort of talked about in the article because diet was being used as medicine in that instance. A movement that I have noticed is an increasing distrust of western medicine. I have heard of family and friends bypassing the doctor and going to a “naturalist” for their ailments. A universal theme in the U.S seems to be going more natural. I see all natural centered products more commonly than before. Another thing is the anti-vaccine movement which would have seemed ludicrous in the past but however became a trend. However it seems to have died down significantly since the founder was discredited.
    I agree with Mcafee in a way because looking back we can apply what we have learned and the trends that have become mainstays over the years shows they are long lasting and can be used to learn from. However I also think sometimes people take it a tad too far with these throw-back trends and they like to romanticize the past which likely has an influence on these movements.

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