Monday, February 1, 2010

Influential reading.

Dan told my mom a few weeks ago: "I don't know... Cheryl read a book and now we buy BROWN eggs."
The book I read was The Omnivore's Dilemma, and it was fantastic. It looks at what we eat, where it comes from, and what it does for us (or against us). He follows three meals: one from McDonald's, one that is organic and one that he hunted and gathered himself. I found it a bit dense in parts, possibly because we were Ferberizing Michaela at the time and I was reading by flashlight while sitting in the doorway of her room, convincing her that she could, indeed, fall asleep by herself. It really makes interesting, thoughtful points about what is good food, what is junk and he puts forth the most wonderful advice for eating without being preachy: "Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much."
Ahhh. If we could all follow that advice.
The best part of it was that it helps you understand how your food is grown and processed and gets to you. What is healthy? What is sustainable? What is worth paying more for?

The points of the book dovetailed really nicely with another book I just read: No Impact Man: The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attempts to Save the Planet and the Discoveries He Makes About Himself and Our Way of Life in the Process by Colin Beavan. This guy in NYC tried to live a carbon-free life for a year- no car, no electricity, no garbage, nothing disposable, and eating only locally produced food. Yes, it's a bit schticky, and clearly is an attention getting premise. And yes, most people did ask him how he lived without toilet paper. He had some interesting ideas about living in a more sustainable way, some easy, some drastic, but my favorite parts of the book were when he peeled back the layers of his life that were cluttered by tv and eating out and working and driving and travelling and being on a never ending treadmill of life and really examined what life is about. Why do we work? Why are we so busy? What makes us truly happy? Are we really looking at how we spend our resources of time and money and energy and attention, as well as natural resources, and are we being good stewards? What makes a good life?
I'm not interested in getting into the environmental debate about global warming and all that jazz. But I see no harm in using resources wisely. If it helps the world, great. To me, it's not political, it's being grateful for the gifts God gave me. I have clean water and clean air and enough food and reliable transportation and heat and shelter. These are my blessings, and millions of people don't have them.
So check out his book. It's funny and thought provoking. And does make me recycle more.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like "heady" stuff like Wa would read! Good for you-I am sure you learned some neat stuff and your family will benefit from what you learned. I, meantime, am watching dvr'd soaps from the end of November! Love, Mommy