In Defense of Food / Vegetarian / Vegan discussion

Omnivore's Dilemma Overall

Comments Showing 1-7 of 7 (7 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Doug (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:12PM) (new)

Doug | 17 comments Mod

I have established this section to discuss our impressions, feelings, etc. about "Omnivore's Dilemma" in its entirety.


message 2: by Lisa (not getting friends updates) (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:15PM) (new)

Lisa  (not getting friends updates) Vegan (lisavegan) Thanks Doug,

Well, I've finished the book and rated/reviewed it, should you care to check out my initial thoughts. But I am curious to see how this discussion will develop. (But I'm also glad I'm free to go on and read other books!)

I am eager to hear what others thought of this book.

Ginny, I did enjoy your review a lot.

message 3: by Doug (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:15PM) (new)

Doug | 17 comments Mod

I enjoyed your review. I wonder if it would be possible to copy and paste it to this group. What do you think about doing that? I can do it, though it would appear under my name, which may be confusing even if I try to make it clear that it is your Wonderful review. :)Doug

message 4: by Lisa (not getting friends updates) (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:16PM) (new)

Lisa  (not getting friends updates) Vegan (lisavegan) Hi Doug and All,

Sure. Here's the review and the recommended for:

recommended for: omnivores & anyone interested in the state of agriculture in the U.S.

I was resistant to reading this book because I’m not an omnivore, and also I thought that Pollan’s book The Botany of Desire was brilliant and I suspected I would not feel as fond of this one, which is certainly true. He does write well, but I didn’t find that this book had the eloquence or elegance of the other.

The sub-title of this book could read: It’s Really Ok To Eat Dead Animals, Really It Is. Which I realize for most people it is. But eating flesh foods and other foods made from animals such as dairy and eggs is simply what the vast majority of this book’s readers and the population as a whole do; it’s not an unique argument.

But, I loved the fungi chapter and the corn section. The chapter on mushrooms I’m sure I enjoyed so much because a close friend of mine has told stories of her rural Indiana upbringing and of the very small morel patch they have on their property. So it was really fun for me to read about the foraging/hunting of the mushrooms, including local morels. (The author lives about 30 minutes drive from me and I recognized many of the locations in the book.) The corn section (about the deliberate infusion of corn products into just about every processed food) made me determined to cut way down on the processed foods that I often eat: the one real way this book changed me, not an insignificant one.

A good part of this (apparently beloved) book seemed to me to be the author’s belabored argument that it’s perfectly fine to eat animals. His treatise looked like his attempt to avoid cognitive dissonance (his term although I was already thinking of it like that) so that he could continue to eat in peace as an omnivore, along with about 97% of the U.S. population; being omnivorous is the dominant paradigm. Anyway, his waxing poetic over the glories of killing and eating animals did not sway me. It’s interesting that Pollan continually rebuts his own arguments, but I wasn’t convinced his questioning was as honest as he wanted it to appear, as it seemed to me he already knew the answers he wanted to arrive at about being omnivorous. And I wouldn’t be surprised if he would agree with me about that.

Some of his facts and figures were off. When he talks about tens of millions of animals killed for food in the U.S. for instance; actually, the latest figures I’ve read are 11 billion every year, not including fish. Even the call to eat locally, which I usually subscribe to, is not to be so simplified. One contradictory example I can think of (this issue is not addressed in the book) is the consuming of products (chocolate, coffee, dried fruit, nuts) from the distant rainforest, which, in my opinion, is much preferable to continuing to cut down rainforest trees, and which the natives will allow if they can’t make their living from the rainforest in other ways.

I know my philosophy is shared by a relative few, but the fast food meals, the description which was intended to highlight the large amounts of corn products in all the foods, while I found that surprising and unfortunate, it was the cow and chicken parts of the meal that disturbed me the most. And, as far as the “idyllic” Polyface Farm, I truly wonder what they could do 100% plant products grown.

message 5: by Doug (new)

Doug | 17 comments Mod

Thank you for posting your Wonderful review! :)doug

message 6: by Doug (new)

Doug | 17 comments Mod

Michael Pollan is an excellent writer. I especially enjoyed his "Botany of Desire".

This book has three sections: "Corn" - which had some surprising information in it. The key being that so much of our food is made up of Corn (Big Mac is 52% corn, Soda 90% plus, etc.).

The second section: "Grass" - which counters Corn somewhat suggests we should attempt to eat Local. I certainly agree with that. But, he then suggests that meat grown using grass is actually better for us than eating vegetables and grains from sources further from us. So, I agree with the local, and for those who feel they need meat local and grass based is certainly better than our current corn/factory produced meat, but i will stick with being Vegetarian.

The third section: "The Forest" has a great section on finding mushrooms which I enjoyed. However, I could have done without the butchering of the pig. In the latter two sections he spends an inordinate amount of time justifying his being an Omnivore rather than a Vegetarian or Vegan. To my mind this just wastes too much space and the book overall would have been better written and tighter without the self-justification. Doug

Lisa  (not getting friends updates) Vegan (lisavegan) Doug and Everybody,

I so agree about the wasted space. He's such a good writer and he does give some information in this book, and the book would have been so much better without him putting so much of himself (the self justification) into it. This is something I don't often say and I usually like personal divulging by non-fiction authors.

- Lisa

back to top