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.

15 thoughts on “Omnivore’s Delimma

  1. Great review. Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson may be of interest to you. It’s packed with information on how to choose the healthiest varieties of veggies and fruits that are closest to their wild ancestors, and ways to prepare them to preserve the nutrients. I picked up a ton of useful tips, but it’s definitely a slow read.

  2. it’s good that it raised questions for you! that means it is a good book. i’m currently reading “Slim for Life” by jillian michaels, which includes some of the topics from your book. i’m totally enjoying it. it’s not too over my head, and she set it up so that you can choose what to incorporate over time. it’s making me rethink a lot of the things i’m currently doing.

  3. Interesting review, I knew what the book was about but I had no idea it was formatted like that. I also find the idea of seasonal food interesting and a little scary. Ideally we would eat more seasonal food to save costs in transporting food from all over but it’s hard to get used to not having such a variety of food year round.

  4. This looks like an awesome read. I love reading about food and I love learning where it comes from and how it works in your body. (PS- According to the cover of the book, you misspelled Pollan’s name in your whole review…) Anyway, I’ll have to keep this on my list of books to read. I’d be really curious about the Whole Foods part since that’s where I shop! Thanks 🙂

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