Omnivore’s Delimma

So my first honeymoon review isn’t exactly honeymoon themed… but that doesn’t mean it isn’t exciting.  It’s about the first of 3 books I finished on the trip!

Christmas seems like it was ages ago at this point (almost March.  Are you KIDDING ME?), but I guess a honeymoon and holiday’s will do that to you.   Moving on. . . one of my favorite gifts that my dear husband got me this year was something possibly a little unexpected.

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yes — the young reader’s edition. Don’t hate — I don’t like text. This was NOT elementary, still a very good read mind you 😉

Zach knows me very well and fully appreciates and relates to my passion for understanding where my food comes from.  I had heard of the Omnivore’s Delimma, but obviously never gotten my hands on it.   I was really excited to jump right into this read and did so before our trip even started (we had lots of travels in early 2014, ha).   While I feel pretty knowledgeable about food, agriculture and our resources, I still found myself surprised by a lot of what I read.   I highly recommend this read to anyone interested in the topic or someone who is looking for a little more information about just where their food is coming from.

Summary 

Omnivore’s Delimma is Pollan’s experience with today’s food industry.  The book, and story, itself is told through  four different “dinners”: an  industrial (fast food)  meal, an industrial organic meal (Whole Foods) , an organic pasture-grown meal, and finally a meal solely foraged by Pollan himself.

The first dinner, the Industrial meal, was an all american burger from a fast food joint in any-town USA.   Focusing specifically on agriculture and corn, this chapter engages the reader automatically with shocking stats like “There are some 45,000 items in the average American supermarket, and more than a quarter of them contain corn.”    Pollan does a spectacular job of bringing the reader through America’s agriculture history with this prolific crop: from the sweet corn on the cob we enjoy each summer to the crap we would never eat that is processed into animal food or, God forbid, High Fructose Corn Syrup.   A quarter of the items in our supermarket, INCLUDING THE CLEANING ITEMS AND WEIRD ODDS AND ENDS? Scary.

The second dinner, the industrial organic meal, was a meal straight from one of my favorite spots, Whole Foods.   Here Pollan dissects the different food labels we have all grown so accustomed to, like organic, free range, and grass fed.   Pollan himself actually followed a steer from youth to slaughter, in an attempt for him to better understand where his food is coming from, providing a very different definition of the term “free range.”   He also follows major “organic” companies that many of us are likely familiar with, like Cascadian Farms, back to their roots and shows us just how truly “organic” these large companies are.

The third dinner, the organic pasture-grown meal, is one provided completely by a proud local “grass” farmer, Mr. Joel Salatin.   The VAST differences between Pollan’s experiences on Salatin’s farm and those he visited during his industrial organic meal are drastic.  The chickens in the CAFO’s (concentrated animal feeding operations) of the previous chapter wouldn’t know what to do with this farm experience.  Pollan works a week on Salatin’s farm, attempting to get experience in every aspect he can including the slaugthering of his chickens.  This is backbreaking work for both the author and the farmers, but the love and care that is taken shows in the quality of the return.

The final meal, one foraged by Pollan himself, follows the author as he reaches out to experts and literally hunts and gathers an entire feast.  The amount of work that is put into this meal is shocking, but the chapter itself is a powerful experience of hunting both meat, produce (mushrooms), herbs and even yeast!

Review

To say I enjoyed Omnivore’s Delimma would be inaccurate.  I soaked up every little bit of information he put out there, albeit sometimes hesitantly.   This is a read that I am PASSIONATE about sharing with you all, and hope many of you decide to pick up yourselves.

Maybe it’s because I had the Young Reader’s version (again, don’t judge), but I found Pollan’s writing style covering a difficult topic very enjoyable.   He tackles some serious subject matter in a way that not only captivates you, but inspires you to want to make changes for yourself.   Our food and where it comes from is SUCH an important subject, and something that so many people are grossly misinformed about so I am THANKFUL that Pollen wrote about this subject the way he did.

I found the chapter of Organic Pasture grown foods the most engrossing.  It made me want to provide more of my OWN produce and groceries.  Where Zach and I live in the high planes may not have the greatest growing season, but I am confident that we can all take more ownership and control of what we eat and how we get it.  Surely this may mean more work and a little more money, but it’s my body’s fuel! It’s worth it, right?

Final Thoughts

One thing this book really brought up for me is the idea of seasonal foods (basically every food we all enjoy).  Unless you live on the equator, most of us are familiar with the idea of seasonal foods, like fruits and veggies.  Sure, in today’s world we can have anything we want at any point in the year. . . but where is that food coming from?  Even CHICKEN is seasonal, did you know that?  This raised a lot of questions for me.  Personally, I am picky about my foods.  I love salads and fresh produce.  I love white meat and fish.  Are these things that I would be willing to give up at certain points in the year to eat more locally? 

I highly recommend this book to ANYONE who is here and enjoys Chocolate Medals :).  Please pick it up for yourself, you won’t regret it!

Question of the Afternoon: What’s the last book that moved you?

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Grammarly and their Bloggership program but all thoughts and opinions are completely my own.

Wait It’s Thursday? And A Sunny Walk

I’m going to be frank with you all.  It’s an odd feeling going back to your everyday reality after almost three weeks.   Not that I’m complaining — I’m HAPPY to be feeling better and able to tackle the real world again.  Just odd. 2 day work week anyone?

For example:  I haven’t driven in 3 weeks.  Should be a run drive to work with the little bit of snow we have on the ground :).

Thank You

I want to thank you all for your sweet words on yesterday’s post.  I feel like I have been sick WAY more than average this year — which is kind of a bummer.  This last one has definitely caused me to reevaluate a few things and really sparked a desire to start being a little more intuitive with my body.

Last Night

Last night was my first real meal in about 56 hours.

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Chicken noodle soup and a piece of garlic toast.  I had been living off tortillas and peanut butter with crackers (although I did branch out to egg whites yesterday as well), so this food tasted DELICIOUS.  I may have tackled a little more than my body was ready for, because I think our neighbors could hear my stomach rumbling after. Woof!  Oh well, at least it all stayed down and didn’t have me in pain :).  Win win!

I also enjoyed some mint chocolate chip ice cream with chocolate sauce as dessert last night.  Zach said that’s how he knew I was really feeling better.  (AKA, I’ve been in tough shape because I haven’t even thought about sweets here lately…) LORD was that ice cream amazing.  I may have gone back for a second small cup. Yum.

Workout of the Morning

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Yes — in my current state I am considering a hilly walk with my dog a work out.  Gus and I were able to get out this morning and enjoy the (very cold) sunshine for a little over 40 minutes.  It was good for me to get some fresh air and walk around, while still taking it slow and easy.

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I am planning on squeezing in another walk at lunch today at work if possible — but we’ll just have to see how the day goes.

At this point — I am honestly just so thankful for my health and to be feeling somewhat normal — words can’t even express.  I am SO thankful to have been able to walk this morning, and to have kept down food yesterday.  I will work to never take that for granted again!

I’ll be back later today with a planned review of the first book I finished over our honeymoon:  Omnivore’s Delimma. 

Questions of the Morning:

  1. Anyone else feel that they gotten sick more than normal this year?
  2. Anyone else been taking advantage of good walks lately?