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Welcome All! I'm a dreamer, I hope you are too! A Posse ad Esse, or From possibility to reality, is a general state of mind. I hope you'll share your possibilities with me as I will with you. Namaste~

August 23, 2007

The Omnivore's Dilemma

I’ve finally finished reading Michael Pollan’s “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”; what a good book! So much of what I have always taken for granted has been challenged. I have always felt that a lot of our nations eating disorders and health problems come from a disconnect in the way that we eat. Throughout history, mankind ate specifically what was available to them. Because of the way that nature cycles, man too would have to cycle. Red meat for instance was something that was consumed primarily in the fall and winter months when the cows were their fullest and fattest and wild game was free of its many parasites and at times was one of the only protein sources available. The fatty, starchy foods like potatoes, pastas and such accompanied these as they were byproducts of the past growing seasons crops. In the summer we would have enjoyed the freshness of our gardens. Greens, peas, tomatoes and vine crops like summer squash and cucumbers would have come to us with spring chickens and fresh fish. This would break the monotony of the year and allow us to appreciate the change when it came. We didn’t have a choice then, and until recently only the very wealthy could afford to truck/fly their food in when THEY wanted it.

 

Today we have a choice, many in fact; industrial produce, organic, beyond organic, local farmers and kitchen gardens to name a few. Maybe it’s this saturation of options that is working against us. My children will take the easiest way when given a choice and will pick the tastiest things to eat first, it’s in our nature. What this book has done for me is to separate and identify what many of the choices entail, after all how can you make a choice based solely on marketing? I am not radically changing my diet, but rather have been slowly directing it over this last summer, making conscious choices based on information rather than automatic ones based on ease. It wasn’t easy to keep ourselves fed in the past, and making some of these choices makes it a little more difficult now. Rather than running to the store to follow whatever whim we have for dinner, we try to plan more and make the stops at the local farmers while they are available. We’ve also made a concerted effort to focus on what I have in my own garden; zucchini and greens for lunch, and tomatoes with basil sandwiches for snacks.

 

How has this affected me? Well, I’ve lost over 20 lbs this summer, I feel much healthier, and I’ve gotten to meet some of our local farmers and learned how much we have available locally that I was never aware of. I have to say thank you to D~ at crunchychicken.blogspot.com for suggesting the book in her book club that I began with but read far too slowly to keep up with. I also have to thank my sweet wife who always has dinner for me when I come home and who has accommodated my discoveries and changes as they’ve come about. I know I sound like I just got an Oscar, but if you don’t take a minute to thank people when it comes up then you forget too and I don’t want to do that.

 

Any one else read/reading this book?

What’s your take on it?

Have you changed your eating patterns lately, how?

 

P~

 

 

6 comments:

farm mom said...

I still haven't finished, I'm near the end, when he's hunting for the pig. But yes, it has changed me. I no longer eat CAFO meats, period. I also try to stay away from corn products in processed foods. VERY difficult, BTW. I started my eating local journey before I started reading the book, but I think it helped solidify my position. Great book.

KMH said...

It had a positive effect on our family. We stopped eating any protein source that we didn't raise, collect or butcher ourselves. I figured if we don't know how it has been raised and processed I don't want any part of it.

Kim

AnandaDevika said...

I finished this book two days ago - I only made it through the first 3 meals before it was due at the library (and in such high demand that I had to wait awhile to get it back). I highly enjoyed it, even the parts that made me uncomfortable, because it made me think...a lot! Since I read the 4th section separately and most recently, it is the part that sticks out in my mind - I've never considered all the philosophy behind the various animal rights groups before. Reading about the CAFOs made me really sad. I've greatly reduced my consumption of processed and non-local foods this summer also, before reading this books, so it wasn't so much an influence as much as a confirmation of my beliefs.

Rosa said...

My eating habits are actually worse this year than they have been in years. I really admire the people who say they made big changes towards home cooking when they have kids because I cook now less than I ever have.

That said, I really liked the book, and I totally think making small changes is the right thing to do. I have been through an number of food phases since I've been out on my own (went to Japan and liked the food. Lived with vegetarians, cooked with vegan organization. Was po' and ate from dumpsters, gardened in a variety of places, etc.) The cumulative effect is that I think our diet is perfectly normal - we even shop at the big grocery store these days! But my coworkers think I have the weirdest, healthiest diet they've ever seen.

It's not true (today's project is to see how kale & sorrel work in spinach-artichoke dip.) But we're about halfway to a good, sustainable diet, I think. Without it being any effort.

P~ said...

FM~ The last chapter was my favorite. I hunt and gather when I can, and can relate greatly to what is in that last chapter.
We actually started changing our diet before I read the book also but it definitely had a major influence on the degree that I have changed. We are't to the point yet where all protein we consume is something we produced, and probably will never be, but we are far more conscious of where it comes from for the most part.

Rosa~ Wow that's a heck of a food journey you've made. You should think of documenting your experiences somewhere or somehow. I'd be interested in reading it.
P~

Rosa said...

p~, I have a blog but it's mostly parenty navel gazing. My journey is sort of stalled right now, to jump-start my son's.