Friday, November 27, 2009

The Way We Eat - a book review

There's just no beating around the bush with this one. The Way We Eat: Why our Food Choices Matter (2006) by Peter Singer an Jim Mason is an intensive look at the ethics of eating, something that seems almost lost in our modern Western culture, but that is gaining ground once again.

Singer and Mason explore every last nook and cranny of our food system from factory farming to the organics and local food movements, to vegetarian and vegan lifestyles, even into dumpster diving and obesity - all far deeper than even Pollan dares to tread. Because contrary to what we'd love to believe about food, it's not just about what we do to our own bodies. Our food choices affect the rest of the world around us, far beyond what we could ever imagine.

The authors have done extensive research, but the best part is that they come at each ethical question as a non-believer, asking tough questions; but more importantly, demanding that you take the information, analyze it, and decide for yourself where your ethical lines are drawn.
When we buy food we are taking part in a vast global industry. Americans spend more than a trillion dollars on food every year. That's more than double what they spend on motor vehicles, and also more than double what the government spends on defense. We are all consumers of food, and we are all affected by some degree by the pollution that the food industry produces. In addition to its impact on over six billion humans, the food industry also directly affects more than fifty billion nonhuman land animals a year. For many of them it controls almost every aspect of their lives... Through the chemicals and hormones it puts into the rivers and seas and the spread of diseases like avian influenza, agriculture indirectly affects all living creatures. All of this happens because of our choices about what we eat. We can make better choices. [emphasis mine]
Whether you're a meat eater, a devoted organic foodie, a locavore, a vegetarian/vegan, or simply a conscientious consumer, this book will challenge what you believe about food. Put plainly, this is not an easy book to read. There were times I felt sick about the treatment of animals and farm workers; there were times I felt defensive, particularly of the local food movement; and at other times, to be honest, I felt the need to reform some of my views on ethical food choices.

Again, it's not a quick and easy read, but it's a must read for anyone looking to live a more mindful life.

Rated: 5 out of 5 stars
Recommended: Do you eat? You need to read this book!

This and tons of other great eco-book reviews can be found at the Blogging Bookworm. Be a bookworm today and check it out!

4 comments:

Sara DownToEarth said...

Sounds like a must-read. I just ordered "Eating Animals" and my husband bought me a copy of "Good Calories, Bad Calories". I may have to cut back on farming to catch up on my reading!

Heather @ SGF said...

Sara - Let me know what you think of Eating Animals. I may need to put that one on my reading list.

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