In Mark Bittman’s speech, “What’s Wrong With What We Eat” he is explaining that how, not just America, but the world as a whole, has failed to see the negative effects on eating too much of the meat that we demand. Bittman how important and useful livestock can be to our environment and atmosphere. One piece of information he mentions is how cows specifically are very beneficial to the atmospheric gasses. The less red meat we consume, the less pollution we would cause.

Another piece of information he talks about are the negative affects our high caloric diet has, not only on our bodies, but also on the environment. Bittman mentions the fact that we, as humans, were not born craving meat whether it would be chicken or beef. Why do we find it so important to include meat in our everyday diet?

This is a question that Bittman wants us to keep in mind when we eat. The last thing he mentions is how eating a more organic diet can be a solution to getting rid of pollution.

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Listening to Bittman’s speech I have come to agree that he was successful in his use of kiaros, logos, and ethos, but was not very persuasive when it came to pathos. Bittman’s use of kiaros in his speech was to address not only his audience that day, but to humanity as a whole.

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Kiaros is addressing a current topic that has a general effect on humanity as a whole. For example, the topic of technology and whether or not it is addictive has become a growing concern among humanity. “Because only once before has the fate of individual people and the fate of all humanity been so intertwined,” (1).

Bittman makes this statement to inform his audience that we are slowy killing our planet from the outside in. he wants us to make a difference in the choices we make. Bittman says that the environmental damage we have done is “a holocaust of a different kind,” (1). So throughout his speech he explains in detail how people today can change the way we treat our planet. Bittman fills his speech with a sufficient amount of facts, this is why his use of logos was successful. When Bittman talks about how cows help tremendously with the atmosphere. For example, Bittman states that “after energy production, livestock is the second-highest contributor to atmosphere-altering gases. Nearly one-fifth of all greenhouse gasses are generated by livestock production- – more than transportation,” (1).

Here he uses stats to show and teach his audience that livestock actually is harmful to our planet. In addition to the over consumption of livestock, we as people also consume a lot of junk food, also what is known as the western diet. Bittman says, “the world consumes one billion cans or bottles a day,” (1). What Bittman is saying here is that junk food has almost becomes a world wide pandemic, people love junk food and sugary carbonated drink. He continues by explaining that these types of food causes different illnesses and does not prevent them. He claims the reason that we eat like this is due to the fact that we have been told that the more dairy and poultry we eat, we would be considered healthy. Then he goes on to say, “But back to animals and junk food. What do they have in common? One: we don’t need either of them for health,” (2). In other words eating chicken or other lean meats or junk foods are things we can live without.

Another great use of logos that Bittman included in his speech was when he said, “So, when the USDA finally acknowledged that it was plants, rather than animals, that made people healthy, they encouraged us, via their overly simplistic food pyramid, to eat five servings of fruit and vegetables a day, along with more carbs. What they didn’t tell us is that some carbs are better than others, and that plants and whole grains should be supplementing eating junk food. But food lobbyist would never let that happen,” (2). In other words, Bittman is saying that the USDA was mistaken when they thought, and publisized, that it was the animal products that makes us healthy and that it was the vegetables then we should replace all the junk food that we consume with five servings of those veggies and fruits. But since the companies and those fast food restaurant chains are making it easy enough so that we give them all our money; it is hard and very affordable for most Americans to be able to afford and live on a healthy, well balanced diet. Bittman further explains that he is also not opposed to the idea of eating a western diet in moderation.

Bittman utilizes ethos which means that he used a sufficient amount of credible sources. Going back to the beginning of his speech, where he talks about how important livestock is to our atmosphere, he uses statistics- for example, he said “one-five green house gas is generated by livestock production. Another statistic he mentions in this part is that “livestock is the second highest contributor to atmosphere-altering gases.” When he uses stats like this, in a way where it does sound credible, then you know Bittman has logic and can get his point cross. Another trustworthy evidence that he mentions in his speech was about how California was producing way to much food to be able to ship all the food out fresh. This is what led to the “proto-feminist housewives” as he refers to them as- which are the ones that basically just stay home and take care of the house and their families. This is a credible source because I feel that one would be able to easily research that either through the internet, or anywhere else. Although he had plenty of convincing reasons why it’s important to change the way we eat, his way of changing our pathos was not all there. Pathos is our morals, values, and beliefs.

“Let’s pretend that our government supported an oil-based economy while discouraging more sustainable forms of energy, knowing all the while that the result would be pollution, war and rising cost,” (2). What he is saying here is that if our government were to support an oil-base economy, we would be in a lot of debt . Not only would we be in a lot of debt, we would also have to get that oil from other countries which could result in war, soley because there would most likely not be an easy way to export all that oil from overseas, especially since oil is pretty valuable. In conclusion Bittman’s speech overall was a complete success when it came to using rhetoric. All his supporting details to back up his main point, which was about the things that are wrong with what we eat, contained a good sufficient amount of kairos, logos, ethos, and pathos. This has taught me how to use rhetoric in an efficient manner, and it also informed me about what rhetoric is in deeper meaning.

Cite this page

We Are What We Eat. (2021, Dec 18). Retrieved from

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