Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Omnivore's Dilemma

I finally finished the book The Omnivore's Dilemma (young readers edition). It was really thought provoking. I earmarked a few pages and these were the things that I wanted to think more about:
  • p35 - Regarding corn and how the price of corn (paid to farmers) is kept low by government policies and how in turn, in order to stay in business, most farmers receive subsidies from the government. The price paid for corn is below what it costs to grow it and yet it is the most in demand. Cyclical event that doesn't make sense.

  • p56 - possible ingredients in cattle feed - yuck!!! and how cows are not designed to eat corn and yet are forced to. Hmmm.

  • p83 - cheap fat - it is cheaper for the average person to purchase foods with empty calories rather then foods with nutritious calories ie potatoe chips and cookies versus carrots and other whole vegetables. Again the US government helps pay farmers to grow corn and soybeans but not the other fruits and vegetables we need. It discusses how one part of the government promotes the food pyramid and then another part makes it impossible for some to follow it. Hmmm.

  • p105 - shows the marked increase in childhood obesity and the increase in the average number of calories consumed of HFCS daily

  • p128 - how a chicken lives it's life before it gets to our table

  • Polyface farms - I'd love to check it out some day! (egg yolks should be bright orange in colour if they have been given a grass diet)

Some resources to check out:

Videos: Nourish; Fresh by Ana Jones; Food Inc.; What's on Your Plate; King Corn

What do I want to take from this book? (Btw I read the young readers version because the other one wasn't available from the library and I had started to read this one before I realized there was another version)

It is definitly thought provoking and good for conversation. I have been wanted to try to eat more locally and certainly more grass fed meat for a number of reasons. I need to research these ideas more (they are also part of my 101 things to do in 1001 days (LOL! - maybe I will get some of it accomplished!) and actually figure out how to do it.

A number of years ago Drew and I did purchase wholesome organic meats from a company. We haven't really been able to afford it again. Or rather, we haven't really chosen to afford it again since then. Nor has our freezer been ready for it. We did get very good meat. Drew has mixed feeling on it - i think we had a lot of good friends over and shared it and it may not have lasted as long as we had planned. I know there are some local farms that sell meat that I would like to check out.

I would also like to check out a few of the fresh produce/CSA farms. Or maybe even the Good Food Box system again. I have been buying more locally grown foods through our supermarket but I need to get to the farmer's market too. I haven't really needed to buy anything there lately but I would like to be choosing their produce over the supermarket.

That being said, I know that I will still want to buy bananas, pineapple, and navel oranges to name a few fruits that will never grow around here.

Above all, no, this does not mean that I am going to become a vegetarian. Or a no-junk food person. I do not have that kind of will power. But I have been thinking of the need to make better choices regarding our food and this book only confirms what I have known in my heart; the industrial food chain is not a great one. There is something to be said about eating and buying local and I hope to do more.

BTW there are some interesting reviews here on the full version.

1 comment:

  1. Good for you Alison. I've been going to our local farmers market every Saturday and other than apples for John and an avacodo every now and then, I've managed to avoid purchasing produce from the grocery store all summer. The only thing I occasionally miss is lettuce (way out of season now). The market in SC seems to be cheaper than the market in OR too, so I don't think I'm spending that much more than I would at the grocery store.