The Omnivore’s Dilemma

I’ve recently decided that I also would like to add some blog posts in regards to some great books that I’ve read (ok, listened to, since I use Audible on my travels) that are applicable to homesteading or sustainability.

I thought it fitting that my first post regarding applicable literature be about “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” which was one of the first books that I had read when I was starting out with my idea of sustainability.

Michael Pollan offers a great, creative insight into how one of the biggest questions that humans, as omnivores, raise each day – “what am I going to eat?” He then experiments with four different meals, each based off of one of the “food chains” that are most commonly feeding us each day: industrial agriculture (aka supermarket food), organic food (both industrial organic & pasture grown organic), and hunter-gatherer.

Overall, I found this book to be very enlightening and informative. It starts off as a slower read, however picks up when he begins outlining each meal and attempting to follow his meals from start to finish. His delve into vegetarianism and his vegetarian meal was most interesting to me, inspiring me to take my own trip down the vegetarian road (experimentally, and temporarily). I decided that you can’t knock it until you try it, and while I did feel great physically and mentally, the diet itself was difficult to stick to and I absolutely missed meat. My conclusion was that there has to be balance between meats and non-meats in one’s diet.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is curious about “ideal food production” in today’s society, and what is best. Ultimately, the industrial AND hunter-gatherer lifestyles aren’t practical, and the industrial systems of both organic and inorganic ag are not sustainable. If we want to better our environment and ourselves as omnivores, we need to establish and sustain a more natural, pasture-raised, low-maintenance system of agriculture. These systems can provide high yield while reducing environmental impacts (including fossil fuel usage). Read the book yourself, and make your own determination!

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