Plate Politics

Eating and politics should not mix.

With the election tomorrow, I don’t want to think about politics.  Eating, on the other hand, is something I could (and basically do) think about all day.  Thus the thought of my plate as a political statement is unappetizing.  

Ever since I discovered the clean eating movement a few years ago, I have noticed how we (sadly) have politicized eating.  As discussed in Stephanie Houston Grey’s “A Growing Appetite: The Emerging Critical Rhetoric of Food Politics,” we associate eating habits with morality.  Through misleading marketing, the food industry has become a major power and political force in shaping eating habits (Grey 311).  Consequently, many have come to view the food industry and the unhealthy diet it encourages as an ethical issue that must be opposed.  

Resistance to the food industry is manifested in an attempt to create an alternative food culture.  Anne Portman explores the terminology used in the healthy eating movement in “Mother Nature Has It Right.”  The words “natural” and“local” are commonly used in relation to clean eating as “qualities that somehow constitute the good” (Portman 2).  This places a moral and political weight on our eating choices and habits.


Proponents of healthy eating have recognized a moral responsibility to push healthy eating habits.  A response to the food industry’s promotion of processed food, the clean eating movement expresses an opposing political voice.  The internet has become flooded with bloggers and youtubers who advocate clean eating, as well as loyal followers who have also recognized a responsibility to spread this doctrine.

I personally am a big fan of healthy eating, but take issue with the politics of eating.  For me, eating is about living a healthy life, not being a good, ethical person.  I don’t avoid or eat certain foods to fight back against the so-called villainous food industry.  I eat for myself and my own well-being.  

Frankly, I don’t even know how a diet became a measure of defining a person’s morality.  It seems to me that the propaganda used by the clean eating movement is just as “bad” as that used by the food industry, and thus the movement has become counterproductive.  


Works Cited

Grey, Stephanie H. “A Growing Appetite: The Emerging Critical Rhetoric of Food Politics.” Rhetoric & Public Affairs, vol. 19, no. 2, 2016, pp. 307-320. MLA International Bibliography,

Portman, Anne. “Mother Nature Has It Right: Local Food Advocacy and the Appeal to the ‘Natural’.” Ethics and the Environment, vol. 19, no. 1, 2014, pp. 1-30. Expanded Academic ASAP,



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