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Omnivore's Dilemma - Discusion: Thoughts? Opinions?

Columbus, OH(Zone 5b)

I think I first heard of the book on this list and purchased it soon after.
I read most of it on the plane traveling from Ohio to California. I highlighted, underlined entire paragraphs and made notations in the margins.

Seriously the book has changed my thinking (funny how knowledge will do that) and most importantly it changed my goals.
I can not totally convert my life and what we as a family eat in a snap of the fingers... but I can begin a slower change.

Have you read it?
Did it change you or how you eat, think of food?
Which section of the book most impressed you?

Dove

Thumbnail by dovey
Columbus, OH(Zone 5b)

oops, I meant to post a link to the introduction and first chapter of the book "THE OMNIVORES DILEMMA " by Michael Pollan
http://www.michaelpollan.com/omnivore_excerpt.pdf

Dovey:
I have read it and loved it! Michael Pollan is a very interesting guy and makes a ton of sense. I guess my favorite part was his visit to PolyFace Farms, and as a result, I am now a huge Joel Salatin fan. He has written a book called "Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal!" It, too, was informative, and his insights were humorous, yet depressing at the same time. Another book I would recommend by Pollan is "In Defense of Food," It is a much shorter read than his other books, but equally insightful.
Yes, to answer your question it did change me to a degree. I was already headed that way and looking for ways to do so, and the OD book just reinforced my commitment and provided new resources and info to further that cause.
Question......do you think anyone could eat a chicken mcnugget again after reading OD? That part about all the chemicals in that stuff............................I read that part out loud where I work! Most people's jaws dropped. Of course, most of those who I read it to still take their kids to McDonalds and feed their kids that crap. Good marketing always prevails!
JimmyD

Columbus, OH(Zone 5b)

Hi Jimmy,
I'm reading "In Defense of Food" now, just started it. (after an attempt to read The Botany of Desire, for me that one was a wash, too wordy and not all that interesting) In defense of Food looks like it's going to be good.

The Polyface Farm was my favorite part of OD too... I thought, "now that's the way to do it"
The hunter gatherer chapter was very interesting for certain, but there is less learning about the process compared to farming.

I used to splurge and purchase range free eggs, now I have a hard time doing it, it seems almost useless. Every time I see range free on the carton I snarl inside.

One things for sure, next year's garden will be bigger.

Dove

Lips that touch Chicken McNuggets shall never touch mine *L*

San Francisco Bay Ar, CA(Zone 9b)

When you finish the current book, try "The Future Will Not Be Microwaved" by Sandor Katz.

Hilarious on the "lips" comment. LOL!
Ditto on the book "The Future Will Not Be Microwaved." Great book, along with his first book "Wild Fermentation."
JimmyD

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

OD is on my "List" since we had some discussion about it on here a few months ago. I just got Wild Fermentation and The Future Will Not Be Microwaved is high on the "list" too...

Columbus, OH(Zone 5b)

Garden Mermaid,
Did you read OD? I was wondering if you found it as horribly sad and regretfully enlightening as I did?
Obviously you read "The Future Will Not Be Microwaved", how did it compare with OD, what did you think between the two of them.
I've seen it, but haven made the purchase.

Jimmy,
One of these days I'll break down and buy "Wild Fermentation", I snooped about his website and followed his recipe for Sauerkraut.

Columbus, OH(Zone 5b)

Darius,
It's really a must read, one of the most shocking things I found was the so called "Organic" industry which is noting less than our standard factory farms without chemicals, pesticides and hormones.
The treatment of animals by organic factory farms is only slightly better that standard mass produced farm products.
I felt so sad and angry over what I learned. As far as I'm concerned Whole Foods is guilty of numerous sins against the consumer who pays a butt tone extra thinking they are actually getting a free range chicken, or pastured raised beef.. Ha!

OK we get a brownie point for organic, but there is nothing healthy, or praise-worthy about the way they treat mother earth or the meats and dairy food they sell.





This message was edited Dec 19, 2008 6:19 AM

Keystone Heights, FL(Zone 8b)



This message was edited Dec 27, 2008 6:05 PM

Columbus, OH(Zone 5b)

Pillita,
It's true, people don't want to know. Many times when I made the statement, "You'll never eat a chicken nugget again" the normal response is "don't tell me, because I like my chicken nuggets"

On the other hand, the book can be discouraging, a huge portion of our population doesn't have the resources to purchase real pastured beef, etc. and they don't live where it's possible to raise their own... so whadda ya do?

How does the apartment dweller deal with his food source?

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Dove, I agree about the sham of mass-produced "organic" meats and veggies. I am a STRONG advocate for raising Brix in the soil; to me it's the answer to nutrition, and I can do it myself. One thing I remember reading while researching for my Brix article was "Don't feed a cow 12Bx alfalfa and expect 20Bx milk. Julius Hensel was right, we have taken all the minerals out of the soil, and it's the minerals that give us Health.

I'm looking for a cow share... even apartment dwellers could do that. City poeple can join CSA's, or raise tomatoes and squash on their balconies. Maybe they can't do it all, or even enough, but it's a start.

Greensboro, AL

Dovey: Just checked out your link! It really is true that what we should eat follows one style or another.

I remember writing a paper in graduate school on what prehistoric populations ate.

And throughout my career in archeology it was my job to collect all of the environmental data and make suggestions about what those populations had for dinner. We had a flotation device and took samples from all excavation units. This gave us good information on the plants available and statistics on those that were the most popular. Bones of course came out with the regular screening of artifacts from the site.

Today, every archeological report would give you this information. There might be other artifacts such as monos and metates, and other tools that had been food processing equipment.

Of course what they ate was what was abundantly available in their environment.

And what we eat now is what is available in ours.

Gloria:
Excellent points about eating what is available locally. Even though we tended not to live as long back in the day, I often wonder if 1/8 of the population was diabetic, 1/3 would develop cancer, or 1/2 develop heart disease. Mankind did well under those "restrictions." Infant mortality rate was higher, so maybe the average life span was skewed by that.
As far as the access to pastured animals, foods, etc., I faced the same challenges about 4 years ago, when in Tennessee, most farmers looked at you like you were crazy to suggest that a grain based diet was bad for livestock. I ended up going to a local food co-op, got onto a weston price local newsgroup (best resource for this!) and started asking questions and ended up with more possibilities than I could've checked into. I now buy directly from farmers and sometimes have to travel 50 or 60 miles to trade. When gas was $4.50 that really hurt! In the end, when money was an issue, I looked at other things that I was paying for that I could do without. Do I really need the movie package on my cable? Did I really need a cell phone? A landline? New clothes that were on sale? It is different for everyone, but we all have things that we could give up in exchange for buying higher quality food that takes us to better health, right? Pollan talks about this in "In Defense of Food" and a little in OD. We have evolved (in our society) into believing food is only a caloric requirement and not connected to health in a real sense. So, the cheaper the better. We spend less than ever on food, yet we keep getting sicker, and spend more on healthcare as a result. It is truly a great book!
Pollita: What is the "Twinkie, Deconstructed?" I can guess, but would like your opinion.

Greensboro, AL

jimmyd: Your in depth observations are refreshing.

The archeological populations that I worked on in the Southeast had mortality mainly due to infections of various kinds. And for a certain period along the Tombigbee there was an intrusive culture and cemeteries full of individuals - women and children - riddled with projectile points and bashed with rocks. It was genocide.

But mainly people were healthy when they ate what was locally available.

I dont remember ever of seeing reports of cancer, diabetes, and I don't know if heart disease would leave an archeological trace.

There are always reasons for dying but from what Ive seen prehistoric populations were much healthier than us. And some of them did live to be quite old.

Columbus, OH(Zone 5b)

Monos and metates.... is that an ancient mortar and pestle? I had to google that one *S*

"And what we eat now is what is available in ours."
Available yes, but most people don't realize what they're eating is not what they think it is.
(I.E. there is more genetically modified corn and corn by products in a chicken nugget than there is chicken)

I think one of the ideas behind locavore or slow food movements is to eat what's available during the season it's naturally at an abundance. Which I assume is what ancient man did. In the book OD he has a chapter on the hunter/gatherer.

Dove

Columbus, OH(Zone 5b)

Darius,
I'm not familiar with Brix?

Columbus, OH(Zone 5b)

Quoting:
when in Tennessee, most farmers looked at you like you were crazy to suggest that a grain based diet was bad for livestock.


Amazing how The Department of Agriculture has "educated" (translate; brainwashed) our farmers. I never knew that corn was not part of a cow's natural diet... or that eating corn will actually make a cow sick. Yet, you hear corn-fed all the time as if it's a wonderful thing.

While visiting family in Michigan, I found the general consensus was genetically engineered seed was the greatest thing since sliced bread... they gave no thought to the long term effects. These are good people, but as farmers their education has been skewered by propaganda put out by Monsanto.

Greensboro, AL

Yes mono/metate mortar/pestle. when you find them you know those people have been grinding seed.

It really is strange that the prehistoric populations had the "Elders" to learn from.

We have the Federal Department of Agriculture.

Alexandria, IN(Zone 6a)

Here are a couple of interesting reads along the lines mentioned here.



http://journeytoforever.org/farm_library/price/pricetoc.html



http://crossroads.ws/brixbook/BBook.htm

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Dove, try this for information on Brix.
http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/1670/

Keystone Heights, FL(Zone 8b)



This message was edited Dec 27, 2008 6:06 PM

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

While I don't remember the tale of the Twinkie and the blackboard storage, I DO remember Adele Davis saying that so many packaged foods (not canned or bottled) can be put on the shelf for a very long time and even the bacteria won't eat them... and that was in the 1960's! Just think what she'd say now...

Greensboro, AL

Yes. She said white bread could be left out on the desert and would still be fluffy.

And there was 'Grow Grow Grow with Langendorf Bread' which had 11 added ingredients - after the 30 something ingredients they took out of the flour to make the bread.

I was just reading a web discussion on What causes cancer?

One of the items was talc. Baby powder.

Of course they say there is only a little of this cancer causing fiber. A little here. A little there. A little everywhere.

San Francisco Bay Ar, CA(Zone 9b)

If you watched the extras on the SuperSize Me DVD, they did a study of McD's burgers and fries compared to a local real burger in terms of how long it takes them to decay.
The McD's will last a loooong time. Even the slime moulds didn't like the fries.

Alexandria, IN(Zone 6a)

gm,

Salt is a preservative...maybe they are salt heavy? LOL

San Francisco Bay Ar, CA(Zone 9b)

Nice try. LOL! I think it was a bit more than the salt. The home fries that came with the local burger were salted and they had a repectable mould after a few days.

Greensboro, AL

I wonder how long it takes to digest compared to the local product.

Keystone Heights, FL(Zone 8b)



This message was edited Dec 27, 2008 6:06 PM

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

I can no longer handle a lot of foods either... ice cream is among them. Of course, I haven't made homemade ice cream in years, don't know how that would set..

Keystone Heights, FL(Zone 8b)



This message was edited Dec 27, 2008 6:07 PM

San Francisco Bay Ar, CA(Zone 9b)

Our immune systems know when something is not good for us and it gets pickier as we get older since most of us don't learn how to take care of our digestion until after we have problems. There are two brands of organic ice cream that I can eat in this area, all the others make me feel poorly afterwards. Even ethnic brands (saffron & cardomom, rose or pistachio ice creams) that used to be more like homemade are now filled with artificial colourings and other odd ingredients. PIllita, did you use conventional cream/milk when you made your ice cream? I'm wondering if your DH would react the same way if you were able to make the ice cream with pastured dairy. The way the food is produced and prepared today makes much of it toxic rather than nutritious.

Clarkson, KY

I stayed away from all those evil things ( about 98%) for 4 years. Then slowly reintroduced a tiny bit so now I can handle some. Like ice cream once in a blue moon. Commercial bread if it's served. All those dang nitrates and pyrophosphates... Can't have it too frequently though. More just enough to survive in the general vicinity of mainstream America.


Adding....made with real milk and real cream... or real corn and real flour, none of these things bother myself or my Mom whose system is waay more finicky...

This message was edited Dec 20, 2008 8:35 PM

Keystone Heights, FL(Zone 8b)



This message was edited Dec 27, 2008 6:07 PM

Pillita:
Great points.
I have noticed the same thing since preparing preservative free food (i.e., real food). Not that I plan on leaving it out, but when it happens, no biggie. I must admit, when I take my lunch to work at the hospital, I often forget to transfer my food to the fridge and have yet to get a GI bug as a result. The other thing, is that, as you mentioned, the lacto bacteria issue. Many foods, including raw milk, have a natural preservative built in system that produces or increases these wonderful microbes. They not only preserve food, they replenish the good bacteria in your gut. Recently, I found a forgotten quart jar of raw goat milk in the fridge, which, to the best of my memory, had to have been in there for at least two months. It had curdled. I poured it out, expecting the horrific odors of "regular" milk and to my surprise, it just had a sour odor. I wouldn't have drank it, but certainly not the off odors associated with rotten processed food (that is supposed to be safe for us!).
Have you guys considered consuming raw dairy (goat or sheep is best, I think) and the wonderful cultures associated with raw dairy? Kefir, Viili, Fils Mjolk, REAL yogurt, etc? I would be willing to bet that your hubby would not only "tolerate" this but his abdominal issues may disappear. Pasteurized and homogenized (organic or not) dairy is one of the biggest reasons we have health problems in our society, IMO. There is an enzyme, xanthine oxidase, which is produced in homogenization (some say pasteurization) and is believed to cause scarring of the vascular system. (Can you say "high cholesterol?" There were studies conducted back in the fifties that involved autopsies on soldiers from the Korean War (19 and 20 year olds) that showed this extensive scarring. All of the soldiers he studied had pasteurized and homogenized milk as a major part of their diets. And lets not forget the famous "Pottenger's Cats." studies done done about 60 or so years ago. Kittens fed their mother's milk after it was processed, and not their mother's milk in raw form, suffered extreme consequences, many even died, rather quickly, if memory serves me.
One of the things we use are dairy ferments for is to innoculate our grains for the purpose of making wonderful, dense breads, similar to how our ancestors did. I am not a big proponent of consuming alot of grains in one's diet, but prepared in this way makes it much more tolerable for me, at least. We also use a tablespoon or so of kefir whey (diluted in water) to soak our grains so as to remove the phytic acid from the coatings of the grains (phytic acid removes vital nutrients from the body-magnesium, copper, zinc, etc). Cooking will not accomplish this. So, when the USDA food pyramid tells us to consume all the grains, they forget to tell us that and many are actually pulling much needed nutrients OUT of their bodies when they follow instructions of improper preparations of food in this microwaved society.
In order to stay connected in some way with the subject line here, I must mention that I would hope that Pollan would appreciate the posts gone wild about good bacteria. It kinda goes along with his theme, I would think! Good microbes rule!

Clarkson, KY

Awww, now a good topic is one that grows up and goes off on it's own...

Might add on the bacteria thing -we cover everything that is not intended to be yeasted by the air (kim chee), and store our cups upside-down. If you make a practice of living with real (honest) bacteria every day, surely you will be better off and have a healthier immune system...

And am I the only one who has wondered how large numbers of people across the country can get simultaneously sick with the same bugs if not through the foods we eat? (seditionist?! sorry...)

Greensboro, AL

Recently I was instructed to take two different biotics for two distinct infections.

YAAAAAGH. I was getting sick every week with another something or other.

Finally it occurred to me: Probiotics! I tried yogurt, it didn't do much good. So I found pro-biotic supplements. They really do work.

Now to find a way to keep those bacteria healthy!

grownut. do you make your kim chee? Sauerkraut? what else will make a contribution?

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

The Hundredth Monkey?

Greensboro, AL

http://www.phytochemicals.info/research/phytic-acid.php

Here is a study of the role of phytic acid in diets. It binds up minerals only at very high levels, and can play a role in regulating fatty acids. Also it acts as an antioxidant and is important in regulating free radicals - i.e. aging and cancer.

I think most nutritionists would recommend that whole grains be included in a healthy diet.

This message was edited Dec 21, 2008 2:09 PM

Keystone Heights, FL(Zone 8b)



This message was edited Dec 27, 2008 6:07 PM

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