The omnivore’s dilemma

I’m still reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan and finding it fascinating, thought-provoking, and very well-written.

Also disturbing:  After reading Part I, it hit me that I couldn’t eat beef again. Ever!

Actually, this was just my personal tipping point. These were other factors.

Books I’d read over the years

The first was Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappe´, which was published in 1971.

It advocated eating combinations of plants (grains, rice, and beans) rather than animals to get the “essential amino acids”—the ones that humans need but can’t synthesize in their bodies. A more recent book was Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser.

How raising cattle has changed over the years

The Omnivore’s Dilemma describes the extreme measures taken to force cattle to eat corn. Cattle are grass-eaters, and—like other grass-eaters—they are ruminants. They have a four-chambered rumen which digests grass. When cattle are fed corn, it takes a team of veterinarians and liberal use of antibiotics to keep their digestive systems working.

How my diet has changed over the years

I’ve always eaten a reasonably healthful diet—and the older I get –the healthier my diet gets. Over the years, I’ve cut way down on fatty foods:  no more French fries, regular ice cream, doughnuts, spareribs, or pepperoni pizza for me.

I have type 2 diabetes now, and one of the main ways I manage it is by diet. That means eating lots of grains, rice, beans, vegetables, fruit, poultry, and fish, along with a little meat. Very little.

How my cooking has changed over the years

When I first started cooking decades ago, I used to follow recipes religiously. If I didn’t have a certain ingredient, I wouldn’t prepare that dish. Now I regard most recipes as suggestions.

If one calls for celery and I don’t have any, I’ll use some other crunchy vegetable. I’m also much more adventurous about using new foods, like jicama, fava beans, and bok choy.

So I’m cooking healthy and eating healthy. It seems wrong to me to eat cows raised  in feedlots eating food they can’t digest well.

photo by m0ietcesttout

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