Chris Hicks

Eat Future no. 5 Review

What is a superfood?

“He who controls the spice controls the universe” - We used David Lynch's Dune as a starting point for a discussion about superfoods, drugs and supplements


Superhuman Diet - Anisa Xhomaqi

Dune is arguably one of the more challenging David Lynch films. With a rather convoluted plot and somewhat dated special effects, many believe the film doesn't do the original 1965 novel any justice. However, the film is dripping in rather vivid symbolism, with over the top portrayals of religion, power, and drug culture. 'Melange', or as it is most commonly referred to, 'the spice', is a drug found in limited quantities on the planet Arrakis and mined by the Fremen. Characters in Dune constantly refer to 'the spice' as a vessel that will open the doors of perception and allow them to reach the greatest heights of their power and awareness. However.. the drug is hugely addictive, and the more one takes, the less the drug works, requiring the user to take greater, more concentrated doses.

In tonight's EAT FUTURE, we used Dune as a springboard for discussion centred around superfoods, supplements and drugs. We started off by trying to determine what the difference is between drugs, medicines, superfoods and supplements. This sparked off some debate about the way we approach drug usage- whether we take them for recreational or medicinal purposes. We also discussed our moral approach to drugs, comparing how one may self medicate as a reaction to feeling poorly, and how one takes drugs to change their mental state, as a form of escapism. Drugs cater to our needs. Feeling tired? Stressed? There's a drug for that!

So with this in mind, we wondered- what is the difference between drugs and superfoods? Many people seek out food that has the highest nutritional value, that is packed with antioxidants, vitamins, anything that makes us feel fit and healthy. We are constantly being fed information by the media about the latest food trend, the new thing that will make us fitter, healthier and more beautiful.

It was also argued that sometimes we eat certain foods that make us instantly feel good, prompting our brains to release dopamine and giving us a sense of instant gratification- but these foods aren't necessarily good for us- take sugar for an example. Many western people are addicted to sugar- to an extent where suddenly abstaining from it is known to cause withdrawal symptoms, causing intense cravings, headaches and less than pleasant mood swings. We know it is bad for us, but we keep eating the stuff. Is sugar all that different from other drugs then?

The next point of discussion was the side effects of drugs. What if there were drugs that give you certain special abilities with potential side effects? It is worth keeping in mind that the original novel 'Dune' was released in 1965, when drug experimentation was just entering the consciousness of mainstream western culture. Dune portrayed the heightened state of awareness that 'the spice' gave characters, but it was intensely addictive and withdrawal was often fatal. It was argued that every time people take recreational drugs, they accept that there will be a comedown, a point where the instant 'feel good factor' wears off and only the withdrawal symptoms remain. But is it worth it? Some argue that recreational drug taking can 'expand our horizons' and unlock our creative potential. Others just want a good time, at any cost.