Okay, so I just finished Diet for a New America yesterday, fell into a complete depression – and in some sort of sick rationalization process convinced myself to eat a plateful of buffalo wings to drown my guilt.
The book is good and very informative if not a little outdated. And what’s to be expected anyway? It was written 20 years ago and some things have changed since then; some for the worse and some for the better.
The main things are still the same, though, and I do look at the grocer’s aisle with a cautious eye. I’m not going to badger you, my fair reader, with this information; you know it already and I don’t need to hit you over the head with my colloquial “meat stick.”
Even after reading this, though, I am not necessarily inclined to become a vegetarian, however I am absolutely inclined to not provide my (almost worthless) US dollar to meat farming and agribusiness as much as possible, except in the case to – on occasion – support my local tavern with chicken wings (for which for some reason I cannot muster the energy to simply say “no.” I will try every time, though).
But what information is even more frightening is the Michael Pollen book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, which I’m about 1/4 into already and have accrued at least one total breakdown over my table choices. The worst part?
It’s corn. Corn is the real problem. And it’s in EVERYthing.
In Dilemma, Pollan talks about how we “are what we eat” in more ways than one: Corn is the greediest of all plants and it’s no surprise that we find greed and glutton in every aspect of our social landscape. But it’s not the beautiful corn you find at produce markets and even (God forbid) grocery stores that’s the real problem, it’s Industrial Corn. It’s a whole different freaking thing!
There’s a passage in the book about the Native Americans’ philosophy of taking on the characteristics of the food we eat – for instance Native Americans feel (or felt – I’m not sure of the current state of affairs) that if an animal is suffering or treated cruelly at slaughter, they would accept and distribute those ill feelings through their bodies to the rest of the world. If that’s the truth – which it might very well be – that could explain the greedy, overfed, fast-track malnutritioned, hormone-infested “wild”life we call Americanism.
Pollan’s book is a more fun read and a little less browbeating than Robbins’ manifesto, however Robbins’ is researched scholastically and Pollan’s (so far) is a conversational documentation of his personal experience of tracking his food through three kinds of food chains to his table. Both very interesting and easy reads… a must-read for anyone interested in disease prevention and overall health, health-fads and ways to love your food, sincerely and mindfully.
I’m excited to finish Dilemma and move on to the more recent Pollan lecture, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto(and this just in: The Eater’s Dilemma) and also to see the new documentary, King Corn, which visually describes the same process Pollan explores in Dilemma.