Book Review: The Omnivore’s Dilemma

Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, is one of my new heros, along with one of the subjects of the book, Joel Salatin, owner of Polyface Farms. One of the great blessings that has come into my life as a result of getting into triathlons in 2007 is that I did not just become someone who swims, bikes, and runs, but I became quite interested in health and nutrition. I’ve learned that while exercise is important, good, and stimulating, it is probably the lesser part of the equation leading to good health, relative to what we eat.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma is one of the more entertaining books I’ve read on health. The author explores where our food comes from (answer: corn) and how to eat better (answer: grown your own food or buy your food from people you know). His journey takes him, and us, through the vast workings of the industrial food system, teaches us the history of so-called “organic” food, and shows us why we should never eat at McDonalds ever again, although of course we will. The book is not just the musings of the author, however, it is fraught with lessons about the science and history of food and nutrition, and Pollan, being an investigative journalist, is an excellent writer and storyteller, making the journey quite interesting and fun.

It has now become one of my favorite books, and a life-changing one. My wife and I are already exploring how we can plant our own garden and start raising chickens in our backyard. We’ve started buying produce from a local farmer. In other words yes, this book may mess up your life.