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In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan

Omnivore's Dilemna was good. I heard this isn't as good, but still a decent read. I'll probably read it before the summer.
That anyone has to write a book called "In Defense Of Food" is a stunning and gloomy indictment of our times.
Pollan sums it up nicely with haiku-like brevity: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."
I replied to that article:
Good article TC.

As a farmboy I feel I should pitch in a bit.

There are really three ways to raise livestock:
Pastured: Animals on open grass fields. Some additional grain and hay may be supplied
Dry lot: Animals raised in bare dirt pens. All grain and hay are supplied.
Confinements: industrialized. Automated feeding and very close quarters generally with no possibility of getting outside.

Roughage are the leafy greens of an animal's diet. Corn plants and alfalfa are the two leaders. Clover and oats also have a role as well.

Pork and chicken are so industrialized it is ridiculous. The industrialization doesn't lead to a much better product, but brings it about in a more efficient way. The tight quarters are ridiculous and make constant antibiotics necessary.

Beef isn't as bad, and with the collapse of beef prices in the 80s farmers generally quit trying to raise beef in as confined quarters as possible. Beef requires a lot of roughage. Even the roughage is often treated with antibiotics and simple preservatives. Their diet can be almost entirely roughage to about a 50/50 split by calories of grains and roughage.

Lamb is largely pastured. Their wool makes it very difficult to confine them. The largest dry lot lamb operation I know of is only 700 animals (a drop in the bucket). The price is prohibitive though.

The farm subsides need major re-working. The incentives to sell grain to ethanol producers have gone up and so now the price of most every livestock is going up. Farmers are turning back to alfalfa and other leafy crops to satisfy their livestock's needs for calories. Generally it takes 2 years for things to come around. The first year is to figure out what is wrong and fix it, second year the problem is actually fixed. The ethanol incentives might help the American food market take a step in the right direction.

One of the more popular antibiotics to feed livestock is aureomycin. Ever seen a semi full of pallets of 40 lb bags of antibiotics?

If you really want to see some of the supplements that go into livestock feed you might read through some of the literature here:
http://www.kentfeeds.com/...t-Selector.aspx I would discuss their products in greater detail but I cannot seem to load the details, think there is something wrong with this computer. That is the website of a medium sized manufacturer of livestock feeds.

I think I am going to start eating more fish.
and here's a post I made in S&P:
He pays for school by working for a large hog confinement operation. Their herd currently has a coughing problem so they upped the antibiotics to the max legal limit in their next feed order. (Aureomycin is the antibiotic if you really care)

Didn't help.

They ordered an entire semi full of antibiotics (~12 tons) and are mixing it in themselves to the already maxed out feed.

Stuff like this happens across all types of livestock, but pork and chicken... woo...

He could report it, but the punishment would cost less than the semi full of antibiotics did.

Who recommended buying the additional antibiotics and mixing it in themselves? Who sold them the additional antibiotics? The same feed dealer that gets a commission for all this.
but.... with all the preaching about how livestock are full of antibiotics I wonder just how much stays in the meat that we actually eat.

edit: sweet, I killed the thread.
I replied to that article:and here's a post I made in S&P:but.... with all the preaching about how livestock are full of antibiotics I wonder just how much stays in the meat that we actually eat.

edit: sweet, I killed the thread.

Good posting. Thats really scary to read about.
Already read it. Worth the read. Interesting writing on the paradox of America's obsession with healthy eating and America's obesity problem.
Im curious to see what other people think about his philosophy. He seems to contradict people like John Berardi. Pollan claims that omega 3s and varios other things are overrated. Is eating not that much food and mostly plants actually healthier Berardis reccomendations?
wanted to bump this thread as I am halfway done the book, and just wanted to here other peoples thoughts on the book.
it's an interesting view on diet, of course, and it clearly makes sense to me.

i feel as though it doesn't target body-builders and people trying to build mass as much as it does the average, somewhat out-of-shape American who reads about diet everywhere he/she can, but doesn't really change their habits. Or maybe try to and fail because they're all fads.

he brings up a lot of good points, but it's just impossible for many people to abide by them; they're simply too expensive.

interesting tidbit is that he lives across the street from my girlfriend.
The Botany of Desire should be the first one you read. It establishes a base for Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food.
Omnivores Dilemma is the hardest hitting I think. The whole corn thing was difficult to wrap my mind around.
he brings up a lot of good points, but it's just impossible for many people to abide by them; they're simply too expensive.

Seriously, the prices for grass fed beef, a lot of seafood, etc is just killer right now.
He cites the "civilized" Aborigines who developed diabetes and went back to the bush so they could eat more naturally and in doing so, heal themselves. Likewise, Americans need to escape the worst elements of the Western diet
I just finished The Omnivore's Dilemma and thought it was very interesting, if a little slow at times. I'm going to read this book next, and I enjoyed that TC article about it. What is the Botany of Desire about? Thank you.