The Omnivore's Dilemma (Penguin 2006) by Michael Pollan was rated as one of the top 10 books of the year by both the New York Times and the Washington Post. There is no doubt that this is quality literature, but is this a book of value (and enjoyable) for health and fitness seekers? That was my question. Who would have thought that discussion of corn, grass, hunting, or foraging for wild mushrooms could be such a page turner!
"Eating industrial meat takes on an almost heroic act of not knowing, or now, forgetting" -Michael Pollan, The Omnivore's Dilemma
Omnivore's Dilemma is must read if:
You are serious about nourishing your body.
You are concerned about the environment and want better understanding of issues and means by which you can contribute to a solution.
You are interested in learning about the role that government and policy has on bringing food to your table.
You support the humane treatment of animals, even those bred for food.
You seek further understanding about the science of energetics.
You wish to explore and enhance your own relationship to the food you consume.
I was originally inspired to read In Defense of Food, also by Pollan, after listening to a radio interview with Pollan. I bought a copy of Omnivore’s Dilemma before I had even finished reading In Defense of Food. I am always seeking healthy living resources and I surely would not have knowingly picked up a book with content heavy in agriculture, farming, hunting and government policy however with In Defense of Food I became endeared to Pollan’s writing style and trusted he could deliver a trustworthy education with depth that far surpassed the one-sided fluff that most health and fitness literature offers.
Michael Pollan is not a nutritionist or a scientist. He does not work for a pharmaceutical company or for the government. He is an 'ecological detective' who asked "what am I eating and where does it come from?". His decision to write about where our food comes from lead to a cross country journey that has surely altered what appears on thousands of dinner plates across America.
While there are no recipes, meal plans, or top 10 food lists Pollan’s exposition will change not only how you eat, but your entire relationship to food, shopping and meals.
Pollan is wordy. This is a lengthy work and I often found myself wondering if so much detail was necessary. Complete sensory descriptions of feedlots, pastoral scenes, and mountain vistas seem to drag on yet just as I felt the pangs of wanting to skim to the end of the paragraph Pollan surprisingly never failed to bring it all to a point that either left me with an Aha moment of clarity or shocked my reality with philosophical questions I have yet to answer.
Great discussions I think you will enjoy
Native wisdom about eating, is what we eat hardwired in our genes?
Lipophobia, America's fear of fat and it's national eating disorder
Are we the new corn people?
Industrial organic, is this an oxymoron?
The beauty and wonder of corn sex
Corn, cows and the Dead Zone
The industrial food chain powered by petroleum
The ingredient label, a new literary genre.
Food Inc. (the movie featuring Michael Pollan)
Eric Sanderson pictures New York -- before the City
400 years after Hudson found New York harbor, Eric Sanderson shares how he made a 3D map of Mannahatta's fascinating pre-city ecology of hills, rivers, wildlife -- accurate down to the block -- when Times Square was a wetland and you couldn't get delivery. Watch the talk on Ted.com