I don’t usually write about books I’ve read – though I read quite a lot – but I recently finished Eric Schlosser’s book Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal and found it a remarkably informative, compelling, and at-times harrowing exposé on food processing, additives, and perhaps most compellingly, how slaughterhouses are run and why there are sporadic outbreaks of E. coli o157:H7 tainted meats. (don’t believe me? Look how often E.coli is mentioned in news services tracked by Google News)
Fast Food Nation is quite a read, up there with Tom Robbin’s ground-breaking Diet for a New America: How Your Food Choices Affect Your Health, Happiness and the Future of Life on Earth (and I’m about to delve into his latest book, The Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and Our World too).
And in parallel, I’m also reading another fascinating book with the catchy title of Trust Us, We’re Experts: How Industry Manipulates Science and Gambles with Your Future, discussing how public relations companies and corporations manage and manipulate public perception of products and services through, among other things, creating and promoting “experts” to tell us how good products really are. A major topic of this book is also how so-called independent research labs are so often actually funded by the companies for whom the research proves the efficacy or viability of their products. Imagine that.
So how has Fast Food Nation changed my eating habits given that I already avoid red meat and fried foods? Well, it’s really clarified why it’s important — from a health perspective — to know where your food comes from and how it got to your store shelves. In the case of beef, I will never again eat any red meat at a restaurant, and after you read this book, I bet you won’t either. Grass-fed organic beef from a place like “Whole Foods”? Maybe it’s not quite as bad. But just in general, these books reinforce something I’ve been saying for years: ignorance may be bliss, but health comes from thinking about what you’re feeding your body and trying to eat the highest quality foods possible.
And if you’re not sure what I mean, please, do your body — and your family — a favor and go read one or more of these books.