Few people know that Chicken McNuggets are 56% corn. Or that cornfed cows in industrial feedlots sleep in deep piles of manure - a source of bacteria that find their way into our hamburgers. Or that beef cows are fed synthetic nitrogen, chicken litter, blood and fat products of other slaughtered cattle, along with as much corn as they can stand. Cows naturally eat grass, not corn. Corn wreaks havoc with their digestive systems, causing all kinds of disease. "A growing body of research suggests that many problems associated with eating beef are really problems with corn-fed beef ." (p.75)
Michael Pollan followed a steer throughout its short unhappy life in an industrial feedlot. He describes in riveting detail what he saw. He also shows how pesticides, genetically modified plants, chemical fertilizers, and planting practices that drain the soil of minerals, dramatically increase field yield and decrease nutrients in food. The book leaves little doubt as to the cause of the epidemic of obesity, food poisoning and degenerative disease in this country. The food industry's focus on money rather than health, on quantity rather than on the quality of our food is at base of the sickening of America .
The good news is that there are farmers like Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms (and the Amish Benedict family, and Kathryn Kelly of the Kansas City Center for Urban Agriculture, among a growing number) who grow organic vegetables, raise cows on grass rather than corn, and whose chickens lead happy lives pecking in pastures rather than cooped up in cages. These are small farmers who respect the earth's rhythms and cycles. They replenish the earth's resources as they reap harvests of health-giving plants and animals. Pollan worked side by side with Salatin and his crew and gives a delightful and candid account of his experiences.
An omnivore eats from just about anything nature has to offer - plant or animal. The omnivore's dilemma is: What shall we have for dinner? Or lunch? or breakfast? You decide! And you can pop a Green or Purple with whatever you decide to eat - to enhance it or reduce its damage.