Michael Pollan’s book, “Omnivore’s dilemma” is eye-opening. He began his from the industrial farms of Iowa and feedlots in Kansas to organic farms and slaughter houses in Virginia to finally, the supermarkets in which we all partake. He traced the path of food from cultivation to consumption but also the evolutionary path of our diet over the years. Pollan points out that the omnivore’s dilemma is how we as humans have so many dietary options but so little information about what we should eat and where our food comes from.
Pollan talks about health problems posed by man’s desire for economic efficiency in food production. First, the widely eaten corn-fed meat is unhealthy. It contains more saturated fat and less omega-3 fatty acids. Too high a ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 can result in heart disease. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in modern diet has increased from 1 to 1 to an alarming 10 to 1. Secondly, Pollan explains the process by which resistant strains of bacteria develop as a result of feeding cow with corn. The use of antibiotics to prevent bloat, a disorder which results from feeding cattle with corn, leads to the development of these strains of bacteria. Of concern is the fact that these resistant strains are easily transferred to human and such implications are even more worrisome given the very few new antibiotics currently being developed.
The author also discussed the negative effect of the industrialization of agriculture: the use of nitrogen based chemical fertilizers in place of livestock manure and crop rotation and the shift from reliance on solar energy to fossil fuel. Though this may make food production economically cheap, it is devastative effect of pollution. Furthermore, there are the dangers posed by runoffs of pesticides and fertilizers into bodies of water that serve people and other living organisms.
The author Pollan blamed the rising prevalence of obesity in the United States on the overconsumption of unhealthy food as a result of it being cheap and readily available. He stresses how food companies are devising strategies to make consumers pay more for the same quantity of food or to eat more in order for them to make profits.
Our society has been so monopolized the big food corporations in America, and they are taking over other countries. This book is eye opening and shows how important it is to get out of the standard american diet, to not buy that packages of food, and to get back into harvesting our own food and looking the soil that we are using. At some point we have to get away from the chemical fertilizers and get back to the original practices of gardening, farming, and ranching. It is vital to the future of our society.