Sample Anthropology Essays on Food Consumption

Part 1: Favorite Foods

My favorite food is Maryland chicken. Although I am aware that fried food is characterized by high cholesterol and makes me vulnerable to obesity, I have made no efforts to change my eating habits. My favorite food therefore portrays me as a careless eater. I consume food without any forethought about the environmental impacts of my eating habits or even the health impacts of the same. My favorite meal reflects what is referred to as disengagement with the origin of food hence lack of concern for the entire food chain (Pollan 6).

Part 2: The Origin of the Meal

Chicken constitutes part of the animal kingdom hence describing its origin should be founded on the practices pertaining to hunting and gathering as described by Pollan (391). While chicken may not be a perfect meal since it constitutes only one part of the conventional perfect meal, it is a representative of the cycle of natural food chains. Pollan (123- 125) explains the argument that all flesh is grass. I can adapt from this to say that the chicken, which is my favorite meal is all grass. Fried chicken comes directly from chicken and undergoes an industrial process to make it consumable. This however cannot be claimed to be the origin of chicken. In Pollan’s description, animals including chickens survive from feeding on grasses and other organisms found within the grasses such as earthworms. By feeding well, they create the masses that contribute to their growth and continued productivity. Healthy chickens lay eggs which may be hatched into other chickens. They may also be converted into meals such as fried chicken, which I happily partake of. The fried chicken dish reflects the identity of the omnivore rather than the vegetarian.

Part 3: Food and the Environment

In most cases, the environmental impacts of food processing or packaging are rarely considered when purchasing or consuming food. This is because most people focus on the utilitarian value of the foods they consume rather than on third part happenstances in regards to the food. For instance, one of the food substances that are currently in my refrigerator is carnation condensed milk. The milk packet label indicates that it was processed and packaged by Nestle U.S.A. The company is located in Virginia and processes a variety of dairy products. Milk is originally an animal product and is obtained from domesticated dairy cattle. While the dairy are part of the natural population, their domestication reflects the kind of farming described by Pollan (6), as monoculture, where a specific kind of animal or plant is kept in a single place on its own without ecological balance. In farms maintained such as that described by Pollan (123- 125), such a balance can be maintained and hence prevent negative environmental impacts.

Part 4: The Paleo Diet

The paleo diet is founded on scientific assertions of the health impacts of natural foods. Vandyken (par. 1) provides a list of foods to eat and what not to eat under the paleo diet. The objective of such food plans is to encourage people to consume natural food products as what was originally consumed by the cavemen due to their potential impacts on weight loss and maintenance of a healthy body. In line with the TED talk and other studies on the subject, the claims made by proponents of paleo diet on its benefits are more or less accurate. For instance, it has been established that foods rich in fats, which are common in modern day environment, are likely to cause diseases such as obesity and cardiovascular issues. The cave men diet on the other hand promotes health and well-being. In a context where obesity is considered a major social problem, a diet that promises to foster weight loss would automatically sound appealing. This can be confirmed through the fast growth rate of proponents of the paleo diet in recent years.

Part 5: Fast Food fads

The spread of fast food brands is part the universal shift in consumerism that has been experienced in the industrial food processes. From the U.S to the global context, social behaviors have been changing due to cultural changes in the society (Bipasha and Goon 62). One of the major features of this cultural change is the change in food consumption. More people are shifting from the natural foods to processed foods sold as fast foods. The growth of the middle class, economic pressures which result in busy schedule and changing preferences for certain kinds of food all contribute to increasing spread of fast foods across the world (El-Saad 279). The trend is expected to continue growing in the coming years. However, this trend can be considered a threat to traditional cultures as more people find ways to get food without having to cook. In effect, they are more likely to pursue already cooked foods (fast foods) and use the extra time gained in other potentially productive activities. The overall impact will be a significant reduction in the number people who emphasize health and culture in their choice of edible food materials.



Works Cited

Bipasha, Munmun Shabnam and Goon, Shatabdi. Fast food preferences and food habits among students of private universities in Bangladesh. South East Asia Journal of Public Health, vol. 3, no. 1, (2013), pp. 61- 64. Retrieved from

El-Saad, Eman. Causes and effects of fast food. International Journal of Scientific and Technology Research, vol. 5, no. 4, (2016), pp. 279- 280. Retrieved from

Pollan, Michael. The omnivore’s dilemma: A natural history of four meals. The Penguin Press, 2006.

Vandyken, Paul. The paleo diet. The Paleo Diet Website, 2018. Retrieved from

Wahl, Terry. Defeat disease through paleo principles and functional medicine. YouTube Video, 2014 February, 17. Retrieved from