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Old 06-30-2007, 09:35 PM   #1
Eric Allen Kerr
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Michael Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals".

I've got the audiobook version read by Scott Brick.

He looks at how our food gets to our table through various chains.

Industrial Agriculture
Pastoral (Organic) Agriculture
Industrial Organic
And one other one (haven't made it that far).

I haven't finished yet, but thought I would mentioned it based on what I had listened to thus far.
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Old 07-01-2007, 10:08 AM   #2
Vic Blanchard
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I have been reading this book for the past couple weeks after seeing his article on the farm bill that was on this board some time ago. I have REALLY been enjoying it.

I have been vegetarian for about 7 years and vegan for almost 3. Before reading this book I had been considering buying some local grass fed beef and introducing meat into my diet. I did not expect the book to go much into a vegan/vegetarian spiel but it does near the end, much to my delight. Pollan touches on many of the dillemas I myself have been experiencing the last couple of months trying to decide wether or not to begin eating meat again.

Anyhow, the book really covers everything, and I wouldnt consider the majority of it pertaining to the question of eating meat. I would reccomend the book to any American that is interested in "our" national diet.

Has anyone read his first book? (The Botany of Desire)?
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Old 07-02-2007, 11:58 AM   #3
Jay Cohen
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Vic;
Was Veggie for over 25 years, but since avid CF/Dan John Dr. G fan, I started eating meat a few months ago. Only Grass Fed, Hormone free. Best move I ever made, besides following a pretty tight Paleo diet. Try meat for a month or so, you can also go back, but then again, why>>>
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Old 07-02-2007, 12:45 PM   #4
Sarena Kopciel
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I too was veg/vegan for a ttl of 13yrs. In Sept 2007, Keith W of CFNYC really encouraged me to start eating meat and go paleo/zone. I reluctantly listened. was pretty tight zone w paleo foods for several months. Now am really strictly paleo (less loose w zone proportions tho).

All I can say is my weight continues to drop, my stregnth and energy astounds me and just got labs back and basically my cholesterol markers r across the board great!!

I didn't read the book but am living proof that meat is key!
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Old 07-02-2007, 12:46 PM   #5
Howard Wilcox
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This looks interesting. From the reviews at amazon it appears that he thinks corn is the big evil (a little tongue-in-cheek, but overused almost everywhere). Do other grains (especially wheat) get talked about much?

howard
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Old 07-03-2007, 08:09 AM   #6
Jay Cohen
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Sarena;
Glad to hear that your "Labs" have returned. I know you must of missed them, or are you talking "Lats", which are also good, or maybe you mean the elusive "Abs" which are made in the kitchen, not the gym. Either way, looking forward to meeting you and your hard charging Big Apple Crew at the Pittsburgh Cert.
Chow On.
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Old 07-03-2007, 02:29 PM   #7
Kevin McKay
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I finally got "lights out" per Rob Wolfs recommendation man it is an amazing book!
I would recommend it as well.
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Old 07-03-2007, 08:00 PM   #8
Skylar Cook
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Jay, she means lab test results. That's where she measured her cholesterol.

I did a double take, too. You kids and your slang... wait...
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Old 12-26-2007, 05:52 PM   #9
Bin Lu
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Re: Good Read

I'm reading Omnivore's Dilemma right now, and there are a few issues that are coming up for me; I wanted to see if anyone had thought of them before or their thoughts now.

One of the larger themes that I see Pollan addressing is the fact that much of the way the business of producing food in the US is geared towards producing abundance at all times; an example that he gives is that because of the explosion of corn production along with the advent of the CAFO system, Americans are able to eat meat on a daily basis, something that was originally only for special occasions. Similar changes have occurred throughout all aspects of our diet (eating tomatoes in winter and oranges in the summer, for instance), and it is without question that this system is focused on giving quantity with little regard for quality.

However, one of the reasons that this system has come about is that there are simply a lot of mouths to feed; Pollan himself mentions that an estimated 40% of the population of the world today would not be alive without the advent of chemical fertilizers. I wonder if our diet today, as seemingly skewed as it is, is a result of our own adaptations to the resources we possess. In terms of trophic levels, for instance, we as consumers can access much more energy through an acre of plants rather than through the amount of animal protein that could be produced through that acre. This would also in turn mean that in order to feed a certain amount of people, it is much more economical to use agricultural products rather than meat products. Does this mean that for that for an overpopulated world today, reliance on agricultural products as primary nutrition is simply our only way to sufficiently feed ourselves?

I realize that I'm simplifying the issue greatly, but I'm trying to carry the gist of it to reach another problem: our diets on the CF boards. I myself do the deed as well, Zone, Paleo, and IF, and by and large the biggest difference here is in starches to meats. Compared to just about anyone, anywhere else in the world, we're consuming vast quantities of ecologically expensive meat and tiny quantities of the relatively cheap starches. Yet at the same time, we're all of the mindset that our general version of the human diet is the ideal one. Granted, this is justifiably demonstrated through improved performance, a plethora of various medical studies, but what about in the bigger picture?

We consider this diet the perfect one for us, but how far are we willing to take it? One of the best arguments against widespread organic farming is that it could never feed the world; if all the existing farmland today were converted to organic farms, masses of people would starve. Would we advocate the ideal diet for everyone, at the significant loss of numbers due to a simple lack of calories, or should only certain people have access to truly nutritious food? If organic food (fruits, vegetables, and meat alike) were the only kind available, it would be hard to argue that everyone would still be able to eat sufficiently, much less at levels as prescribed by the Zone.

I suppose the final question then, would be the one of responsibility. If we're making such enlightened choices as to what we eat and how we eat it, are we obligated to consider the role of food in the larger ecological system? And if we are willing to acknowledge that responsibility, what do our conclusions, about which foods are healthier, which production methods are more nutritious, lead us to say about the way the world should also be eating and growing food?

Kudos to anyone who reads through all of this, and kudos to anyone who makes an observation other than that I could probably be spending my time elsewhere...
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Old 12-26-2007, 06:17 PM   #10
Darrell E. White
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Re: Good Read

Eric:

My mother-in-law is reading the book now and is very much enjoying it. A companion, or pre-quel if you will, might be the "Diet for a Small Planet" which arguably did more for the vegetarian movement in the 70's than any other single source.

Which brings up your very thoughtful post, Bin. You've brought up an essential and unsolvable conflict. Do you eat to survive, live to eat, or eat for fuel? Most of the world simply eats to live, to survive. Which one of the sub-Saharan nations just thumbed their nose at the IMF and started using subsidies for fertilizer and seed rather than food end-products? In 2 short years they have gone from a nation just barely able to feed its citizens to a net food exporter.

While I am sympathetic to those who would espouse a philosophy that every human must sacrifice in order that the least fortunate might have a counter-balancing rise in some quality of diet, I personally find this to be the nutrition equivalent of Marxism and I want no part. Food quality and quantity, for better (no starvation) or worse (obese citizens) is an end-product of economic success. More specifically, the ability of a given country's citizens to CHOOSE a particular diet is a downstream effect of economic success. In my mind the luxury of choosing to use food as fuel for the effort of pushing the limits of my physical self is no different from the luxury of having free time available to write or paint; there's not much art coming out of Sudan at the moment, but plenty of well-fed artists in residence on the Rive Gauche. By the same token those citizens have the luxury of choosing to eat a plentiful diet of "upstream" foods like lentils, soy beans, and brown rice.

To repeat in order to make sure that I got my view across, I have no quarrel with those who would choose a "diet for a small planet", just as I have no quarrel with those who eat raw, hormone free, grass fed, Bach serenaded, fully actualized lamb. It's all about choice, and the fortunate ability to be able to choose, choose freely for whatever reason, because we live in one of the countries that has successfully climbed the economic ladder.
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