Being an omnivore, an animal that eats food of both plant and animal origin, is probably the cause of a lot of our problems; certainly a source of one of mine. Being able to eat pretty much anything has expanded our taste buds and driven us to exploit too much of our natural habitat. And it wasn’t enough to eat varied locally but we’ve moved things around and disturbed natural habitats to create a food system that can meet (with detrimental effects) our ever-demanding taste buds. It’s our dilemma as Michael Pollan puts it.
I read this book many years ago. It was an assigned reading in an Environmental Communication class I took one summer. In this class and following Pollan’s lead, each of us tried to follow the production chain of a particular food. I remember I did soy milk from a particular brand and since then have sworn the whole thing off. I was baffled by how difficult it was in the US to really know where our food came from and/or how it had been produced. Since then I try to have more control over my food at home but when eating out (and even sometimes at home) I tend to throw the rule book out. Bad choice.
If Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma seems too long, I recommend that you check out his Food Rules book. Very short and to the point. Here’s the main lesson you’ll find in all his books and a great piece of advice for all of us omnivores:
Now, when it comes to meat I have gone vegan and/or vegetarian a few times and when I go back to meat it is rarely red. If I eat red meat it is usually grass fed. I gave up seafood for humanitarian reasons and now it looks like fish is off the table too. You can read the article that convinced me here but I’ll summarize the top reasons: we’re overfishing and depleting our marine wildlife, fish can live for quite a while (upwards of 80 years) so we could be eating really old fish, and finally, most fish eat other fish which brings me to this highlighted point:
So… I don’t know what most people are up to but this omnivore is going to finish the chicken and fish leftovers that are in my fridge and I’m heading back to vegetarianism, well, let’s say mostly vegetarianism. Seafood is definitely off the menu but I may partake in free-range chicken and/or grass-fed red meat every now and then.
Oh, sushi… I already miss you so much.