Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Review



I found this weirdly titled book-on-CD stashed in a compartment in one of the trucks at work. Because I have become an avid driver, I stole the set of CDs (okay, maybe borrowed is a better word) and let this book become my driving companion on long solo trips.

I have already been mostly committed to being vegetarian (and I say mostly because I have eaten meat on occasion over the past few years), and I've always told myself that "one day" I will be vegan.

When I was in college I ate like a vegetarian most of the time simply because I did not like to buy meat or to cook it. I also hardly ever felt a craving or desire for meat (unless it involved a bottle of barbecue sauce). Because I didn't eat a lot of meat (meaning, I guess that I didn't have it at every one of my meals) I had a few people who asked me if I was vegetarian. I thought this was a really weird question--why would I ever be vegetarian. I, like most people I know, seemed to have a negative idea of vegetarianism. Vegetarians were portrayed as crazy, extreme, animal rights activists. I was not one of those. However, despite not being "one of those" I still had little desire to eat meat. It just wasn't what my body wanted.

Without really thinking about it, I stopped drinking milk and eating eggs. Maybe I just hated buying them and there was never enough room for things like that in a fridge shared by six girls, but it's something that I just slowly stopped doing and never gave any real thought to.

When I met Jo, I began to learn all kinds of things about food and about listening to my body. She has taught me to slow down (though I still am not good at this) when I eat and take the time to enjoy my food. At first it seemed weird to me because I think I grew up eating quickly for a couple reasons. One is that any good food was gone very quickly if my brothers were around. Another is that nobody in my house was a very good cook, so eating quickly was helpful if you didn't want to taste what you were eating. I've since come to learn (thanks to Jo) that food can be amazing. And it really is worth it to slow down, because it really is possible to enjoy food.

After reading (listening to) the Omnivore's Dilemma, I've discovered new ways of looking at food. I am  still not exactly the crazy, extreme, animal rights activist, though I'm a little ashamed that I'm not. I am not only committed to never eating meat again, but I have very strong convictions now about any "foods" that have been heavily (or even lightly) processed.

As for the book itself, I think it was good overall. The stories were good and personal,  and the information was well researched. I did get lost a few times trying to listen to the words and words of facts, but I feel like they were facts that I needed to hear nonetheless. The ending was disappointing and abrupt, which seemed to steal something away from me, though I'm not quite sure what. The book was informational and eye-opening. I would recommend it to anyone and everyone because I think it's important for people to know what exactly they are eating.

Have you read this book or one like it? What do you think about food?

Write on!

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