Books: Food and Values
Eating Animals, by Jonathan Safran Foer
Faced with the prospect of being unable to explain why we eat some animals and not others, Foer set out to explore the origins of many eating traditions and the fictions involved with creating them. Traveling to the darkest corners of our dining habits, Foer raises the unspoken question behind every fish we eat, every chicken we fry, and every burger we grill. Part memoir and part investigative report, Eating Animals is a book that, in the words of the Los Angeles Times, places Jonathan Safran Foer “at the table with our greatest philosophers.”
In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan
Eminent food journalist Michael Pollan traces the links between the Western industrial diet, the “nutrition-industrial complex,” and the decline of our health. In an eye-opening account, Pollan reveals flaws in the science and the dead end we’re led into by seductively cheap monoculture. He concludes with his brilliant 7-word “eater’s manifesto”: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
An eye-opening inquiry into why many of us consider it normal to befriend some animals while exploiting (even devouring) others. A step-by-step analysis of a cultural blind spot, this book is a powerful blend of reason, compassion, and psychological insight. Melanie Joy assembles questions, evidence, and logic to bring us face to face with our moral conflicts – and our moral numbing. Most impressive is the author’s capacity to empathize with readers who have never thought about these things, and to pique not guilt, but curiosity.
The World Peace Diet: Eating for Spiritual Health and Social Harmony, by Will Tuttle, Ph.D.
Incorporating systems theory, teachings from mythology and religions, and the human sciences, The World Peace Diet presents an empowering understanding of our world, based on the far-reaching implications of our food choices and the worldview those choices reflect. The author offers a set of universal principles for all people of conscience, from any religious tradition, that they can follow to reconnect with what we are eating, what was required to get it on our plate, and what happens after it leaves our plates.
The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter, by Peter Singer and Jim Mason
This book explores the impact our food choices have on humans, animals, and the environment. In The Way We Eat, Singer and Mason examine the eating habits of three American families with very different diets. They track down the sources of each family’s food to probe the ethical issues involved in its production and marketing. What kinds of meat are most humane to eat? Is “organic” always better? Wild fish or farmed? Singer and Mason offer ways to make the best food choices, pointing out that: “You can be ethical without being fanatical.”
The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, by Michael Pollan
This highly readable account has opened the eyes of millions of people and is an excellent introduction to the powers and practices of industrial agribusiness. Pollan visited the producers, asked probing questions, and even bought his own calf to be raised and slaughtered so he could learn how it was done. The cornucopia of the modern American supermarket and fast-food outlet has brought us into a bewildering landscape in which we are surrounded with tasty-looking morsels– some of which might kill us. At the same time we’re realizing that our food choices also have profound implications for the health of our environment. The Omnivore’s Dilemma is bestselling author Michael Pollan’s brilliant and eye-opening exploration of these little-known but vitally important dimensions of eating in America.