Cooking, Health, Non-Fiction, Trescott-Mickey

#812 The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook by Mickey Trescott

The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook by Mickey TrescottThe Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook by Mickey Trescott

We all know what Paleo is, or we’ve all heard of it. It’s the diet where a person simulates the diet of a Neanderthal, basically. You don’t eat grains and you don’t eat dairy. You don’t eat a lot of stuff. A more in-depth version of Paleo is known as autoimmune Paleo, or AIP. This version of Paleo further restricts what you can and cannot have in an attempt to heal damage to your digestive system, and generally your body. As healing occurs, you can experiment with adding things back in.

This book is a cookbook, but it’s also a why behind AIP. Why would you do it? Why would you need to? What is the diet going to do? What is ok and what’s not ok? All of that is in this book. It also has some nice pictures.

It’s easy to follow, so if you’re endeavoring to go AIP, this book will start you off on the right foot. There’s a meal plan. There’s a pantry list. You can learn how to make bone broth, if you didn’t know already.

What I liked

The presentation of this book is very nice. The information is informative and the recipes aren’t bad, none of them are extremely difficult. I do like the idea of a meal plan in this book, not that I’m going to follow it, but it’s a nice touch.

Since I have to go AIP for a while, this book is a very good resource. Most people will find AIP much too restrictive and would go with regular Paleo, but if you had to go AIP, I think this book is a very good help.

What I didn’t like

I would have loved a lower carb meal plan in this book. Paleo itself is not low carb, neither is AIP, although it’s typically lower carb than your traditional American diet. If you wanted to lose weight right away while doing AIP, there is a chance it may not happen with the included meal plan. It might, but it might not. For many of us, getting healthier involves losing at least a little weight. If I’m already drastically changing my diet, I would love to see some results that I can see. Getting lower or higher whatevers on your laboratory results are wonderful, and healthy, but it’s also nice to know that your drastic changes are paying off in a visible way.

Overall

Get ready for kale.

Weigh In

Do you prefer your cook books to have pictures?

Do you think Paleo is great?

#812 The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook by Mickey Trescott was originally published on One-elevenbooks

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Cooking, Home, How To, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Plants, Woginrich-Jenna

#573 Made From Scratch by Jenna Woginrich

Made From Scratch by Jenna WoginrichMade From Scratch by Jenna Woginrich

Jenna moved from the mountains of the Appalachians to northern Idaho, where it’s incredibly cold. Jenna made a conscious decision to return to a simpler way of life. Her dogs could pull her on a sled. She bought household items from antique stores. She learned to can items, raise chickens, grow vegetables, and play the violin. Jenna is something of a woman after my own heart.

Jenna tries to homestead, a bit in Idaho. She learns the pitfalls and joys of raising chickens. They’re great for pest control, but they might wander into the neighbor’s yard or get eaten by the dogs. Jenna learns to bake bread. She extols the virtues of mountain music.

Suddenly, Jenna learns she has to move to Vermont. Jenna packs up her animals and instruments and goes. This is where Jenna’s other book, One Woman Farm comes into play.

What I liked

I admire Jenna so much. I enjoyed this book as much as I enjoyed her other book, and, yes, I know I read them out-of-order. I really like the idea of learning to do as much as possible yourself. It’s good to know how to do different things. It’s good to know how to bake bread from scratch and grow vegetables. I love that Jenna tackled all of this herself. It’s a big responsibility, but it brings joy and fulfillment to her life.

I love that Jenna learned to play the fiddle on her own. Seriously, I’m going to order a fiddle and that book Jenna recommends and learn myself. I’ve always wanted to. Jenna speaks of a music tradition that is part of my own family. I had a great-great uncle who was in the Foxfire books for fiddle-making. Some of his wood works are still around the area where he lived.

What I didn’t like

I liked Jenna’s book and there isn’t a whole lot of bad I can say about it. Go Jenna. Let’s have a visit one day.

Overall

We need more younger people like Jenna. Capisce?

Weigh In

Would you raise farm animals by yourself?

Do you think it’s a good idea to know how to do things from scratch? Why or why not?

Cooking, Home, How To, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Warren-Spring

#542 The Quarter Acre Farm by Spring Warren

The Quarter Acre Farm by Spring WarrenThe Quarter Acre Farm by Spring Warren

Spring decided that she wanted to provide most of the food she ate from her small plot of land, about a quarter of an acre. Spring did not live out in the country where she had ample room; she lived around other houses. This is the story of how she lived off of her farm for a year.

Spring’s children weren’t altogether enthused about her experiment, but since they already had geese, a duck, chickens, and some other plants, it wasn’t that far of a leap. At first Spring found that eating zucchini all the time wasn’t that appetizing, but then she learned the art of zucchini recipes, a few of which are in the book.

Things didn’t always go how Spring had planned. She had more of this vegetable than she ever thought was possible, this vegetable didn’t grow right, this one got too much water, the water bill was too high, a tree fell in her salad garden, and that’s just a few events.

As the year progresses, Spring gets better at dealing with setbacks. She gets better at being a gardener and her family gets better at eating lots of vegetables.

 

What I liked

I liked Spring’s adventure, even though I wonder if Spring Warren is really her name. I think it’s neat that she endeavored to grow so much of her own food. It’s a worthy task. I liked that she seemed so calm about the thing. I honestly don’t know how this woman eats so many vegetables. I mean, I like vegetables, but she ate a lot of vegetables.

What I didn’t like

The whole thing was rather enjoyable. There isn’t really anything I didn’t like.

Overall

I love hearing about people’s lives and their gardens.

Weigh In

Would you grow your own food for a year?

If you had to grow your own food for a year, would you be malnourished by the end of the year?

Cooking, Health, Non-Fiction, Reference, Self-help

#432 Fast Track Digestion IBS by Norman Robillard

Fast Track Digestion IBS by Norman RobillardFast Track Digestion IBS by Norman Robillard

Normal people would probably use their one free book from the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library to borrow something exciting. Yeah, well, apparently not me. I borrowed a book about IBS and SIBO.

I know what IBS is, but I wasn’t very familiar with SIBO and I read the term somewhere in an article recently, so I wanted to know more about it.

Norman wrote this book as an explanation and a bit of a diet program. He explains that IBS can be caused by SIBO. I know you’re wondering what SIBO is. SIBO stands for small intestine bacterial overgrowth and it’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like. You have too many bacteria in your small intestine.

IBS has become a bit of a catch-all description that the doctor tells you that you have when he/she can’t figure out exactly what upsets your stomach all the time. People get kind of irritated because they don’t know why they have this condition and they can’t really get anybody to tell them what would help the condition out.

Dr. Normal links IBS to SIBO. It’s natural to have bacteria in your intestinal tract as Dr. Norman explains, but the bacteria in your large intestine aren’t supposed to be in your small intestine. Those bacteria can get up in there and cause all kinds of discomfort. Basically, you’re looking at a situation where your ratio of good bacteria vs. bad bacteria is out of whack. The reason you have weird bacteria in your small intestine is maybe because just a little bit got in there one day, but you’re eating foods that feed these bacteria which causes some of the foods to ferment in your small intestine which causes lots of discomfort on your part. That all sounds really nasty.

Dr. Norman goes on to explain that he has determined an equation to calculate the fermentation potential of certain foods using the glycemic index of said foods. Essentially, Dr. Norman thinks you can starve your enemies out. If you’re not feeding them the food they need to live, they die, and your stomach doesn’t hurt anymore, everybody wins, except the bacteria, they lose.

Dr. Norman talks about various foods and types of foods that can ferment in your intestines and then that’s the end of the book.

There are recipes and a few charts, but that’s pretty much it.

What I liked

I liked the explanation of what SIBO is. It makes sense to me. Of course if you’ve got a bunch of stuff living in part of you where it’s not supposed to live you’re going to have bad side effects. It’s very similar to the reasoning I’ve read behind a condition called candidiasis, which is a full-body overgrowth of the yeast candida.

On a side note, I once watched a documentary where there was a scientist who studied something to do with digestion in animals I believe and her name was Candida Gut. Seriously, who did that to their child? Maybe she just picked it as a professional name because she’s so awesome. I don’t know.

I liked that Norman had this chart that listed various foods and how bad they are for you if you happen to have SIBO. I appreciate the work Dr. Norman did to develop this equation to figure out the fermentation potential of certain foods. I don’t like math and I don’t like numbers, so I could have never done what Dr. Norman was able to do with his studies. I’m also sure a lot of people have really benefited from the knowledge imparted by Dr. Norman.

What I didn’t like

I didn’t know what SIBO was, but much of this information is a repeat from similar books. The idea is to kill off the things living inside of you and to do that, you surprisingly have to follow similar diets. There really isn’t a lot in this book, diet wise, that I wouldn’t have found in a book about candidiasis or other similar caliber conditions. Really, someone should just write a giant book with this same type of diet, listing exceptions depending on what disorder you’re trying to treat. Oh you have Hashimoto’s? Follow the main diet with these exceptions. Oh you have candidiasis? Follow the main diet with these exceptions. The diets and reasonings are all very similar. There is really no point in differentiating all of these different approaches when they’re essentially the exact same darn thing.

Dr. Norman lacked information. This book is an explanation, but it’s also a diet framework. It’s how to freaking get rid of your SIBO. Dr. Norman doesn’t make it very easy. Sure that chart with fermentation potential is nifty, but what about a chart that says in black and white what foods you can eat during the first week and what foods you cannot eat during the first week. What about meal plan alternatives for someone who really can’t eat wheat or dairy. Dr. Norman’s  two-week meal plan has enough wheat and dairy in it to make me sick for three months. What’s up with Dr. Norman’s casual approval of Aspartame? I’m not quite a week off of Diet Coke and I know Aspartame is bad news. I know it is, but I love Diet Coke.

The allowance of something like Aspartame seems hypocritical. Here Dr. Norman is promoting a drug-free way to get rid of your SIBO just by diet, but then here he is saying it’s ok to drink Aspartame. No mention of the upset stomachs it can cause? Seriously? Not a one?

I kind of want to tell Dr. Norman to go back and develop this book to appeal to a more natural crowd. It’s almost as if he’s got one foot in holistic healing and the other foot right in a puddle of Monsanto.

Overall

The information in this book is valuable, but I’m really glad I didn’t pay $9.95 for it.


 
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Cooking, Health, Non-Fiction, Reference, Robillard-Norman, Self-help
One-elevenbooks

Comical true life, Cooking, Health, Home, How To, inspirational, Memoir, Non-Fiction

#419 The Duggars: 20 and Counting by Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar

 The Duggars: 20 and Counting by Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar The Duggars: 20 and Counting by Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar

The Duggar family is a much praised and also debated family in the media’s eye. Some of us love them and their ideals, while some of us criticize them for having so many children. Some people claim the problem with the Duggars is that they use up federal and state resources having a family so large, but in reality, the family is very self-sufficient having no debt at all. Of course, haters are always going to hate.

This book is about how the family came into being. We meet Jim Bob. We meet Michelle. We learn how they met. We learn how they dated. We learn how they got married. They worked their butts off. They started a car lot. They had a towing business. They had a convenience store. They did it all. At one point they had five children in a 900 square foot house, which they also ran their car lot out of. Tough cookies, people, they’re tough cookies.

The interesting thing about the Duggars is not the fact that they have so many kids, it’s why. Why do they have so many kids? They Duggars have many children based upon a religious principle called “quiverful,” but that wasn’t always their motivation. At one point Michelle did take birth control pills. They started their family out normally enough, but after having their first child, Michelle had a miscarriage. This miscarriage was attributed to the fact that Michelle had conceived the child while on birth control. While this may or may not be entirely true, it led the Duggars to where they are today.

The couple goes on to have nineteen children total, although it’s not listed in this book. The book chronicles their life. Jim Bob was in government for a while. They bought a large piece of commercial property. They’ve been very blessed to be able to live their lives without debt. That huge house they have is something they built themselves. They’re not work shy at all.

After explaining how they got to where they are, the Duggars give some helpful hints. They explain their chore system, which they call “jurisdictions.” Every family member has chores to do each morning. They explain their home school system. They explain their organization system. They explain their buddy system. Yes, the Duggars have a system for everything. What makes their large family work so well is that they are very organized, if you can imagine a family so large being organized. They dot all the “i’s” and cross all the “t’s.” They don’t simply leave their good life to chance.

The family is very religious. Their home-school education is based largely on religious principles, which isn’t a bad thing, but I don’t necessarily think it’s a great thing either. They attend church in their home. They look at each opportunity they come across as an opportunity to further God’s work. For what it’s worth, they seem to be doing really well.

What I liked

I liked looking into the lives of the Duggars and learning more about them. They’re interesting people.

I do like how Michelle takes the time to lay out her organization. It goes to show people who read the book that she does this all herself and she’s not frazzled all the time. She manages it quite well.

I have known families with similar systems in place in their homes. They don’t have anywhere near as many children as Jim Bob and Michelle, but they have their systems. They have the chore system and the organizing system that keeps all of their stuff in place. They home-school. Life isn’t always easy, but to the outside it looks like they’re full of happiness, but great suspicion is never far away. People always believe that there is some deep, dark secret lurking behind the happy family who constantly praises Jesus and doesn’t play video games.

Look, there are people who make it work. They don’t need TV. They don’t need video games. They don’t need public school. They don’t need the newest Transformers movie. They don’t need the newest fashion trends. They don’t need a ton of personal space. They make their lives work. People think they’re lacking, but they’re not. They have everything they want and need, more so, than many of us do. Could I live their lifestyle? No way. It’s not for everyone. It takes a certain type of person to make life styles like Jim Bob’s and Michelle’s work.

For the matter, I don’t think there is a deep, dark secret. I don’t think the family is secretly drinking special “kool-aid.” I don’t think there is a gambling addiction. I don’t think there is a secret illegitimate baby somewhere. This is just their life. Sure, it’s different, and, sure, they have their troubles, but their troubles pale in comparison to the type of troubles we face in our lives. They live good and they get good back. It’s pretty simple.

What I didn’t like

While I was finishing up this book, my husband was pulled over by  North Carolina state trooper for speeding. Don’t worry, he didn’t get a ticket, but I think that’s what I’m going to remember about reading this book, “Husband gets pulled over,” maybe I should write it in the book somewhere.

I have defended Jim Bob and Michelle. I think they’re pretty awesome, but the cynic in me wonders where all the dirt is. I don’t think there is dirt, but there is still this little inclination that wants me to think there is.

These kids are raised a certain way. It’s a way in which a lot of people I know would love to raise their children. These kids don’t turn out bad. The oldest boy of the Duggars already has his own business and is married with two or three kids of his own. He’s become this model citizen and child. There isn’t anything wrong with that, but it does make me a little sad. I’m kind of sad that he never really got to screw up. It’s not that I wish him to screw up, I don’t, it’s that he’d be more realistic if he did screw up. He’s too perfect. There is also a lot that can be said about the effect screwing up has on your life. Sometimes you screw up and it makes your life suck, but sometimes you screw up and it makes you this awesome person because you learned from your mistakes. I don’t know that these kids get to experience the world enough in their lifestyle. I don’t know how much they know about the world. I don’t know how naive they are. Obviously, at least the oldest one has sex figured out because he’s got a couple of kids, but how naive are the rest of them about it?

This is a minor concern though. The kids are all raised very well. They are successful and well-mannered. They can deal with some things in life that others could never deal with. They may be a little naive as to the ways of the world, but since they’re all religious that fits in perfectly with their beliefs. Jesus said to come unto him like a little child. This family is definitely child-like in their mannerisms and lack of some of the more disappointing ways to live your life.

Overall

If you’re one of those people who just love to stick your nose into other people’s lives, you’ll love this book, but sadly, much of this information is relayed via the television show, so if you’ve watched it at all, you already know all of this.



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Comical true life, Cooking, Duggar-Jim Bob, Duggar-Michelle, Health, Home, How To, inspirational, Memoir, Non-Fiction
One-elevenbooks

Cooking, Health, How To, Non-Fiction, PCOS, Self-help

#409 Permanently Beat PCOS: The Diet and Exercise Shortcuts by Caroline D. Greene

Permanently Beat PCOS: The Diet and Exercise Shortcuts by Caroline D. GreenePermanently Beat PCOS: The Diet and Exercise Shortcuts by Caroline D. Greene

Besides all of the bright pink, this book does possess some useful information. I don’t know why women who write about female related illnesses and conditions always have to use pink on their books. Teal would actually be the appropriate color considering teal is the awareness color of PCOS, but I didn’t design this book cover, so I guess it wasn’t my call.

Ok, this book is short, but it has some useful information. It’s kind of like a quick start guide. It’s a “for dummies” version of a “for dummies” version. There isn’t a whole lot of explanation as to what PCOS actually is, which saves a lot of space. This book is primarily concerned with being healthy while possessing the condition.

This book covers diet and some exercise. One of the things the book goes into briefly is the glycemic index. I have heard of the glycemic index, but I have never actually put it into practice. Considering as I’m insulin resistant, maybe it would be a good idea for me to think about the glycemic index, if not actually use it. The way Caroline explains it, it makes a lot of sense.

Caroline also details what types of foods are appropriate for a woman with PCOS. Lots of carbohydrates and sugars are off of the list. She also admonishes low-fat dairy options or no dairy at all because of all the hormone content in dairy. While this is good advice if you don’t know anything about added hormones in dairy, it’s bad advice if you know a little something about added dairy hormones and how that whole low-fat thing works.

She goes on to explain certain exercises you can do at home and also states cardio amounts and heart rate percentages. I’ve heard the heart rate percentage thing before, but, again, I’ve never really paid a lot of attention to my heart rate while working out. Maybe I should.

What I liked

I like that this is short. It’s kind of like a slap to the face. “Here’s your information! TAKE IT!,” and that’s it. It doesn’t have a lot of frills. It’s really nice for a person who just wants to jump in.

I know a lot of women with PCOS. It seems they really don’t know where to start. They just get blind-sided by a doctor who says, “Oh, you’ve got PCOS,” and the doctor never really explains anything. Maybe this poor women gets prescribed some nasty Metformin and some nasty BCPs, and that is it. She’s kicked out of the doctor’s office all on her own. This book is a good place to start for a woman in that situation. It’s not as detailed as it needs to be. It’s doesn’t include as much information as it needs to, but for a woman who literally doesn’t know what to do and where to do, this is a great place.

What I didn’t like

It’s too darn short. I get that this is a “jump-start” guide, but come on.

First of all, it’s obvious that Caroline doesn’t go the natural route and she doesn’t even suggest it. Her mention of low-fat dairy products is a big clue. Fat does retain chemicals, hormones, and other not good for you things so it totally makes sense that Caroline would say that eating dairy with low-fat is going to help you cut down on those added hormones. What Caroline fails to mention is that those hormones are in fact added to your dairy. You can buy hormone free versions of milk, butter, cheese, yogurt, and so forth. You don’t need to worry about getting the low-fat version.

Caroline doesn’t really mention vitamins at all. Look, if this book is all about how you should eat and exercise when you have PCOS, where is the information on vitamins? A multi isn’t going to cut it. It might help, but as of now, there really isn’t a multi created for women with PCOS. Women with PCOS need to know that their bodies inherently don’t produce as much vitamin D as other women and that they should be taking more vitamin D, for example. Caroline doesn’t mention anything like this.

Caroline is still promoting wheat in her recipes. Look, I get that not everybody has problems eating wheat. That’s fine, but seeing as women with PCOS are often diagnosed with hyperinsulinemia, it’s not a good idea to consume very much wheat or other carbohydrate laden grains. I get that Caroline probably has her own philosophy, but I don’t think it’s good practice to say, “Hey it’s ok to eat some wheat, even though it’s going to drive your insulin levels up and frustrate your efforts at becoming healthy.”

As far as the exercise section, this book is better than most, but I would appreciate it more if Caroline had actually laid forth an exercise program in this book. Seriously, why doesn’t somebody do that for women with PCOS? On Monday do A, B, and C. On Tuesday, do B, E, and F. On Wednesday,  do A, C, and D. After a week of doing this, increase it by 2. How hard is it to set an actual plan down on paper? I know these doctors, trainers, and Carolines have good intentions when they suggest exercises. Oh, you can do this. You can do that. You can run on the treadmill. Bladdy-bladdy-blah. Write something real down. Sometimes, people need an example. Write a plan down, then offer suggestions upon the plan. Let people choose if they want to follow that plan or alter the plan, but set forth a plan, that way people actually know the general structure of what it should look like. Don’t just list a bunch of exercises in a book.

Overall

Short and to the point, but lacking in some important areas and mostly the same as many other PCOS books.



 
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Cooking, Greene-Caroline D., Health, How To, Non-Fiction, PCOS, Self-help
One-elevenbooks

Cooking, Health, History, Non-Fiction, ponder provoking, Social Commentary

#379 The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan

The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael PollanThe Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan

This isn’t the first book of Michael’s I have read, but it is the first I have read since doing my yearly challenge. Michael puts a lot of effort into his book and brings things to light about your food, that you probably wouldn’t want to know otherwise.

This book is rather lengthy. It’s also my non-fiction book for the month of January. I took it little bits at a time, mostly, but finished up the bulk of it earlier. This book is about Michael’s exploration into food of all types and how we get that food.

The first part of this book deals mainly with our industrialized food and why it came to be that way. Some of us know, but not all of us know, that a large percentage of our diet is corn. That’s right corn, corn, and more corn. Corn is highly subsidized by the United States government. It is grown mainly in the mid-west. Farmers are up to their eyeballs in debt to pay for their machinery. Corn is planted thousands of acres at a time. It is tended very little during the season. The strains of corn being grown have been genetically modified to resist pests or weeds. Some corn is genetically modified to be immune to large doses of Roundup. This corn is covered with chemically created nitrogen fertilizer.

This corn is harvested then goes pretty much everywhere. Some of it gets turned into food. Some is grown for its corn value. Some is grown to be turned into corn flakes, but large percentages of corn get turned into other items. Corn is dissected in factories that are part laboratory. There the corn gets turned into Guar Gum and High fructose Corn Syrup. The corn also goes to factories that will turn the corn into fuel for some cars. The corn might also be turned into alcohol. This may all happen, but a large percentage of this corn gets turned into animal feed.

Cows, chickens, pigs, and many more animals that are farmed receive a steady diet of corn. The corn may not look like regular old corn because it’s been flaked or mixed with other ingredients, but it’s still corn. Here’s the thing, none of the animals that are currently fed on corn are designed to eat corn. Corn makes them sick. The cows that are raised in cattle feedlots, were not made to eat corn. If they were not slaughtered so quickly, they would probably die from illnesses related to their consumption of corn. One of the truly gross things is that their feed corn is actually mixed with a fat, many times that fat is actually beef tallow. That’s right, cows eating pieces of other cows. The practice of feeding cows parts of other ground up cows used to be common place until mad cow scares, now they just feed other cows beef tallow. Awesome right?

Michael actually purchased a cow in order to watch it go through the American meat system. He followed it from the ranch where it was born and ultimately to the slaughterhouse where it was killed.

Michael goes on to explore other types of getting food. Michael visits with Joel Salatin on his farm, Polyface. If you have never had the chance to hear Joel talk about his farming mentalities, you’re missing out. Joel runs a very clean farm. Nothing goes to waste, ever. He takes careful consideration into the grass and if it’s being overgrazed or not. Michael spends several days on the farm observing the way Joel creates food. On one day Michael actually helps with killing the chickens. The chickens on Joel’s farm are slaughtered outside, that’s right in the open air. He’s sent samples from his slaughtering operation to various labs and his slaughter operation is cleaner than any industrial slaughterhouse operation. His animals are not fed corn. They graze on grass. They eat what nature intended. Joel’s food costs a little more than the stuff you find in the grocery store, but it’s much better for you than industrially prepared food.

Michael also mentions that between animals raised on corn and animals raised in grass, the animals raised on grass are much better for you. So when someone says, “Oh, there’s no difference,” they’re big fat liars. Animals raised on grass have a much higher concentration of “good for you” omega fatty acids, while animals raised on corn have a much higher concentration of “bad for you” omega fatty acids.

Michael goes on to explore industrialized organic. This looks much the same as regularly sourced food, but the animals do not receive antibiotics and they’re not fed chemically created crap. No chemical fertilizer or pesticide is placed on organic produce, even though all of it is treated in much the same manner. You may be purchasing organic chicken that was “grass-fed” or “pasture raised” but these terms loosely mean that they gave the chickens some grass in their chicken house and there was a door that went outside to a grassy area outside of the chicken house, but the chickens didn’t really use it at all. So the only way you’re getting a truly “grass-fed” animal is if you’re buying it directly from the farmer and you see where it’s been raised.

After all of this Michael is a vegetarian for about a month. He doesn’t really like it. I didn’t either. He speaks of how much more difficult it is to prepare a vegetarian meal than it is to prepare a meal with meat.

Michael goes hunting. He’s never really been hunting. He goes with a friend to an area of California, determined to shoot a wild hog. The first trip brings up nothing, but on the second trip Michael gets his hog. It weighs about 190 pounds. He and a friend make all kinds of delicious things out of this hog. At first, Michael has regrets upon killing this wild animal, but soon learns what purpose this can serve to the world.

Michael goes hunting for mushrooms. Yes, you can actually go out into the wild and hunt mushrooms, you just have to know what you’re looking for. I’ve never been too into it myself, but maybe I’ll take up the hobby someday. Michael hunts for morels and chanterelles. I have never had a chanterelle so I don’t know what they taste like.

In the end of the book, Michael prepares a meal for his friends that is supposed to come completely from things he has sourced. His meat is the hog he shot. The dessert is made from cherries he picked out of his sister’s yard. He caught the wild yeast himself to make the sour dough bread. He grew the fava beans in his own yard. The meal is a pretty bit hit and Michael takes pride in the fact that he has learned somewhat how to live off the land and farm.

What I liked

Michael is always very informative. He does so much research when he writes a book. He goes places. He observes things. He tries his own hand at many tasks. Michael is really hands-on. When he says he has done something, he really did it.

I love that Michael finds all these great people to help him out with his book. The corn farmer he finds doesn’t farm GMO corn. Joel Salatin is just awesome and I might actually be getting a chance to hear him in person this year, we’ll see. I’ve seen Joel on so many documentaries and read so much that he has done. Joel is one smart cookie when it comes to farming and keeping things balanced out. He’s definitely someone to imitate. Temple Grandin is always interesting. Then all the other people Michael finds are amazing. He finds a guy who hunts his own wild boar and then makes his own pate. How much more hands-on can you get? Not much.

Michael’s books always serve to open your eyes. These are things you didn’t know about before. You didn’t know that steak you’re eating would be composed of a large percentage of corn proteins and that it was probably fed beef tallow. Nice huh? Corn can actually be traced. So if you eat corn and your meat eats corn, that corn can be traced all the way. If you ate a chicken that lived on corn, they could tell that you ate corn, not because you actually ate corn, but because your food at corn.

What I didn’t like

Some of these processes are absolutely disgusting and, no, I’m not talking about when Michael and his friend gut a wild pig out in the open. That’s pretty normal in my opinion. I grew up in the south. What I am talking about is how these animals are raised. That steak you’re eating stood ankle-deep in manure on the feedlots. It ate corn, which made it sick, but that corn was mixed with beef tallow. That’s like eating fat from another person that has been liposuctioned out of them. That doesn’t sound very appealing does it?

Laying hens have their beaks cut off so they can’t peck each other. They get depressed when they’re put into tiny cages and their only purpose is to produce eggs.

It’s all so nasty. I’m not a PETA advocate in any manner, but seriously people, you have got to treat these food animals just a little better. The way in which these animals are raised is the reason we have to have ultra-pasteurized milk. The way these animals are raised is the reason there are drug-resistant strains of various bacterias. The way the plants are raised is the reason we have pesticide resistant super weeds. The meat you eat is not healthy.

Think about it, if you want to be healthy, wouldn’t you want to eat healthy animals? Instead you’re getting sick cows. They’re sick all the time, they’re fed a constant stream of antibiotics, and they stand in their own waste twenty-four hours a day, until they’re slaughtered, in a dirty slaughterhouse, which has no federal regulations as to how many pathogens can be found there at any given time. That’s because most slaughterhouses would fail any acceptable limits. The chicken you’re getting is no better. The eggs you’re getting are no better.

Michael’s books go a long way to increase awareness of these issues. You may think those eggs on the shelf are so much cheaper than the eggs you would buy from a local farmer, but they’re not as good for you. They’ve been subsidized by the government. You pay taxes right? Think about it, you get charged roughly sixteen percent in income taxes. You pay taxes on gas. You pay taxes on your car. You pay taxes on your house. You pay sales tax. There are lots of taxes and those taxes add up to a large portion of your income. You see eggs for a dollar a dozen, or whatever, and you think, “That’s cheap,” but you’ve already paid for it, because the government uses many of your tax dollars to subsidize corn and soybeans and other farming endeavors. In reality, you’re paying a lot more for those eggs than you think you are. On top of it all, you’re getting crap. That’s just like the government.

So, with a book like this we can see a little into the world of alternative farming. We can see that we can buy local. We can buy organic. We can buy from small places. This will in turn support out local economy and eventually, if everyone caught on, we’d be healthier because our food would be healthier, but that’s a dream. We can try though.

Overall

If you’re at all interested in where your food comes from, read this book. It will be an enlightenment and it will keep your more mindful of the food you put on your plate.



books about food, books about where food comes from, CAFOs, corn, corn subsidies, factory farms, factory organic, hunting wild boar, joel salatin, michael pollan, organic food, slaughterhouses, temple grandin, the omnivore’s dilemma, The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
Cooking, Health, History, Non-Fiction, Pollan-Michael, ponder provoking, social commentary
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