The Omnivore’s Dilemma- an American paradox

Yesterday Scott, myself and Andrew wanted to spend some time outside so we decided to hit up San Anselmo’s Art and Wine festival. We walked down the strip of locally made arts and crafts while soaking up the beautiful sun. As we were grazing the booths I noticed a little bookstore and made a pit stop. I’ve been searching for a new book to read-The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. But I wanted to purchase it used because well, I’d be saving a tree and usually the costs are cut in half! No need to purchase new when you can just reuse and recycle books. Anyway, I took a chance and asked the owner if they had the book and lo and behold, they did! They even had a used one so I quickly picked up and walked out of the bookstore extremely excited. I’ve been wanting to read this book for quite some time now but have just been waiting to find a good deal.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma, to put it in a nutshell, is about how America as a nation is suffering from a food disorder. He goes into explaining that we have this dilemma which is, “What should we eat for dinner?” But now, as industrialized food production has sky rocketed the better question we should be asking ourselves is, “What am I eating?” and “Where does it come from?” Michael Pollan talks about how corn is in virtually everything, the slaughter of animals, the difference between the “Big” organic and the local organic, and his own personal experiences as he became a hunter gatherer for a period of time. If you have not read this book, I urge you to pick it up at a local bookstore or the library!

Although I’ve only just read a few pages I’m already intrigued and can not wait to dig deep into this book. As I was reading the introduction he stated something that really made me think:

“Nor would such a culture be shocked to discover that there are other countries, such as Italy and France, that decide their dinner questions on the basis of such quaint and unscientific criteria as pleasure and tradition, eat all manner of “unhealthy” foods, and lo and behold, wind up actually healthier and happier in their eating than we are. We show our surprise at this by speaking of something called the “French paradox,” for how could a people who each such demonstrably toxic substances as foie gras and triple creme cheese actually be slimmer and healthier than we are? Yet I wonder if it doesn’t make more sense to speak in terms of an American paradox- that is, a notably unhealthy people obsessed by the idea of eating healthy.”

I put in bold the last sentence because this is what really hit me. It is so true! I mean, think about it for a second. Americans are all about trying to eat healthy and go on these crazy diets just because they have been “proven” for something or another. Nutrition seems to always be changing and every few years some new kind of “fad” comes out and everyone jumps on the band wagon. Americans automatically assume whatever new thing comes out is something that will lose their unwanted weight and make them feel better about themselves.

What happened to the thinkers in this country? This goes back to same old, old saying “Just because somebody tells you to jump off the bridge doesn’t mean you have to jump.” Come on people, since when did we allow people to dictate what is right and wrong? Especially when it comes to the food we nourish our loved ones?

I feel America became unhealthy when we started letting “politically correct” information rule our world and when we stopped thinking for ourselves. When food became more complex (like in the forms of processed foods), that’s when America began an eating disorder. Why not settle back into our roots? In a world full of complex things, why not simplify our lives and eat things that the earth intended us to eat?

These are the type questions we need to be asking ourselves! We shouldn’t need to spend our lives chasing the newest “fad” of weight loss because all we end up with is unhappiness and obesity. Open your eyes and look around you because obesity is becoming the norm. We should instead be digging deep into our roots to search for simple, healthful ways of living. There is nothing complicated about preparing a meal from a grassfed animal, and some whole, fresh vegetables accompanied with some wholesome, saturated fat. All it takes is a little time and preparation. Since when did we become so lazy?

You are what you eat. So what are you actually eating?

Until next time,
Loriel – Healthy Roots, Happy Soul

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