Let’s be a book club

Let’s be a book club: you, me, and the blog.  You don’t even have to read the book.  I can just post the salient points here and you can comment as you feel inspired.  Here goes:

Food Matters

Food Matters

I just started Food Matters by Mark Bittman, subtitle “A Guide to Conscious Eating.” I’m just through the introductory section and my hunch is that this is one of those books about the global situation which produces despair in the reader, as in, “The world is too far gone. We’re all going to implode and there’s no way to stop it,” at the same time the author is trying to tell you, “If we try, we can lessen or stop our chances of imploding.”

The basic overview is: Until quite recently in human history, most people barely ate enough to subsist. Now we eat far more than we need to subsist (overconsumption) and our increased needs are way overtaxing on the environment. The particular topic we will be looking at in Food Matters is the industrialized production of meat (I know, brace yourself) and how we cannot conceivably keep producing meat at the current rate without wrecking the planet. Right now, industrialized livestock operations are contributing more to climate change than human transportation, according to this guy’s stats.  So you should try to eat less meat (esp. red meat) after you drive your SUV, because that’s healther for you anyhow.

It’s odd because I think of livestock animals as just “being there” already, and then we eat some of them. But really what the research is saying is we, humans, are scrambling to make more cows to feed ourselves.

So the mantra of the book thus far is: eat less meat (not no meat, unless that’s your thing), don’t eat overprocessed junk food, and you and the environment will both be healthier. Bittman even predicts that this change will be quite pleasant for you– you’ll save money, lose weight, heal your dysfunctional relationships (well not that last one, but you half expect him to say it).

More updates to follow as I continue to read. I don’t have the book for that long because—get this—there is a 133 person wait for it at the Minuteman Libraries (I was on the wait list for at least 6 months) and so they don’t let you keep it as long as normal.  Meanwhile, eat your veggies, book groupies.


1 Comment

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One response to “Let’s be a book club

  1. Scott Blaufuss

    If you like reading this kind of book you probably would enjoy Michael Pollan’s book The Omnivore’s Dilemma. The book is not presented in such a gloom and doom manner as others nor does it preach to you. What it does is give you loads of information about where your food comes from and what goes into producing it. It delves into the sources of the ingredients of four very different meals that range from fast food to a meal created with ingredients that Mr. Pollan had hunted and gathered himself. And no, he doesn’t even hint that we all should/could be hunting and gathering.

    Some of the more interesting things I learned were:
    How ubiquitous corn and it’s byproducts are in our modern diet. How we have removed chickens and cows from the vegetable farm to the detriment of all involved.

    I’ll check out Food Matters if I can from my library.

    Also good are – Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle – One woman’s quest to feed her family with only food that is available locally and in season (or preserved old-style).

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