Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Omnivore's Dilemma

Sybil Vane at Bitch, Ph.D. reviews Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma:

...But I am persuaded of several things by this book. "Organic" means very little anymore. Organic via Whole Foods and the like certainly means nothing in terms of sustainability or treatment of creatures. Federal agriculture policy isn't helping anything; rather it provides subsidies that encourage farmers to produce more of over-produced crops (e.g. corn), thus dropping the price more and more. Meat should be eaten infrequently. One really must get past the notion that she can eat whatever food she wants whatever time of year. Food choices are undeniably political *if* one has the fortune to be aware of those politics.

(Read the rest here.)

This has been sort of a big subject for me recently. With a great majority of my friends being vegetarian (and eating mostly vegetarian myself since Kyle does most of the cooking), I've had many a discussion about the social implications of being ABLE to be a vegetarian, or of being able to be that choosy about one's diet in general. The fact that government subsidies for meat production are vastly higher than those for most vegetable production (sweet corn obviously notwithstanding) alone means that what is more readily affordable in terms of foods for people with lower income is very different from what is readily affordable to those with higher incomes. This ties in with the supposed "obesity epidemic" and the not-new correlation between poverty and obesity [PDF].

From UNDP.org:
Current research on obesity now seems to focus on socioeconomic factors as a primary cause of this dangerous disease and empirical evidence suggests that poor people are the highest risk of becoming obese. This is largely because those living below or close to the poverty line usually have poor standards of living. Arguably their state of poverty deprives them from having a stable diet. The growing numbers of working mothers find it increasingly difficult to allocate time for preparing family meals, leading to increasing dependence on fattening fast foods.

I think I might pick up this book sometime. Kyle recently read The Ethics of What We Eat by Peter Singer and Jim Mason, but I guess I didn't want to read it because he gave it to Tiffany. Oh well.

And because I can't remain serious for more than, like, ten minutes, here is a hilarious video of dogs and lasers that Tim sent me:

No, really. Watch it!

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