Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Do you really want to eat that?

While we were on our long road trip to Wyoming and beyond, I was able to read this book, The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan.  Have you read it? If you are at all interested in where your food comes from or what is in it, you should. I picked it up after watching Food, Inc. last month (and I would also like to read a couple more of Pollan's books, including Food Rules and In Defense of Food.) I really liked how he presented the information, although at times it got a little too dry/scientific for me to completely understand. For the most part, it was understandable. Although I already knew a bit about the sources/state of our food before reading this book, I feel like I can see the bigger picture as a result of reading it. Now I know why our cows are being fed all that corn (its a surplus of corn) and why the farmers keep producing more and more corn even though the demand isn't increasing. I am also so inspired by the story of a sustainable farmer back East that part of me wants to have our own small "farm" and raise our own chickens, maybe a pig or two and some goats.

One thought I kept having as I read this book, was wistful, "if only we could go back to how food was raised a hundred years ago, before all the processing and junk".  I know that isn't possible, but I think we can each do it in part. Since I'm pretty much 100% responsible for the cooking & grocery shopping at my house, I'm making a huge effort to stop buying food that has been super-processed and get back to more whole foods. I'm working on finding a local farmer from whom we can buy 1/2 a cow (grass-fed, of course) and maybe even 1/2 a pig. I'm starting to buy more organic foods and educating myself as to what foods are in season. I'd love to have a small garden, but its a bit late to start one now so I'm thinking ahead to that for next year and helping my mother-in-law with hers when we're up there--she loves to share some of the bounty with us too! :-) I think that education is a huge part of it, and although I'm discouraged a little by everything I'm learning, I'm trying to just take that discouragement and turn it into action.

Like for example, in the book he talks a little about the favorite eating place of all children (you know what place I'm talking about) and the ingredients in some of their food products. I read that part out loud to Erik as we drove along, and his comment was, "Hm. Well maybe we don't need to be eating there anymore." My thoughts exactly. So, when we stopped an hour or so later for food, we actually made an educated guess about the more healthy of spots to eat. It's a bummer that my kids won't get to eat there anymore, but we explained to them why and they are totally on board. It's amazing what a little education will do! I'm hopeful that by instilling this knowledge and change in our way of eating now, that it will help my girls in the long run and they won't have to make such large changes (as I am doing) when they get older. Not that I ate totally horribly before, but I just didn't know what was in the food I was choosing, well now I do!

How about you? Have you read anything lately that has caused you to change how you do things?


  1. Hi Kendra! I wonder if this is the same guy that was on Oprah. If it is, yeah, it's scary to think of how different food is today than years ago. I haven't read the book, I think I'm too scared to actually know about what is really in food. Have you seen that documentary on food? I heard it was a good one to watch.

  2. Libby--I'm not sure if he was on Oprah, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was him. ANd if its Food, Inc that you're talking about, yes I did see it and think its a great one to watch, much easier to "get" than the book!

  3. Huh. I might just have to pick that one up. Sounds interesting.


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