Two Fantastically Wonderful Books

# One: Eating Animals. By Jonathan Safran Foer.

eating animals Two Fantastically Wonderful Books

I got this book for Christmas from a good family friend. Thank you so much! It was truly the perfect present for me.

I alluded to this a few days ago: I am a vegetarian. I wish I could be a vegan but I don’t think my body would let me. I know I need (at least some) animal products in my diet, so until there is a product that can solve that dilemma I will have to eat a few eggs and a bit of cheese. And maybe yogurt. I had one for breakfast today and it was delicious. I haven’t had yogurt in ages.

I had already read/seen much of what Foer discusses in this book elsewhere (books and documentaries on animal cruelty, factory farming, sanitation, sustainability issues), but for some reason his voice really hit home for me. I know some of you will not like the fact that I am vegetarian now (again) but I cannot eat meat after reading this book. It has now been about 2 weeks since I last had meat. That includes fish, mind you – I will not be partaking in seafood cruelty and decimation either. Did you know that if we keep eating fish at our current rate there won’t *be* any fish left in a few decades? I learned that in my oceanography class (senior year elective) but I forgot until I read this book. I had forgotten a lot.

Onto my second great find.

# Two: The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less. By Barry Schwartz.

paradox of choice Two Fantastically Wonderful Books

This was a present from my sister-in-law a few months ago and I just got around to reading it now. I’m still reading it; haven’t finished yet. It is also perfect for me.

This book is about how the ever-increasing number of choices we have today (mainly in the context of choosing between things to buy) is causing us anxiety and leaving us less satisfied with our choices in the end. (There are literally thousands of choices we have to make every day. Thousands upon thousands.)

I think the book’s theme fits in nicely with my own recent passion for minimalism. I have stopped buying just about anything at all that I don’t absolutely need. I don’t “go shopping” anymore. I throw away crap that I don’t need or that I forget I have. And I am so much happier for it! A friend of mine has a motto of “only 100 things” – meaning that you should only own 100 things. I love it. I cannot wait until the day that I only have 100 things. It’s getting closer.

***

1. Do you eat animals? Why or why not?

2. Are you a minimalist? Do you like having choices? Or does decision-making stress you out?

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17 Comments on Two Fantastically Wonderful Books

  1. carin
    6 January, 2011 at 9:08 pm (3 years ago)

    i have just recently started eating meat again, but i wish i could feel good without it….i feel guilty eating animals.

  2. Jill
    6 January, 2011 at 9:27 pm (3 years ago)

    I must read that book Eating Animals. Now that I am a parent I don’t want to feed my baby meat. Then why the heck am I eating it? I have never been a vegetarian but I think this might be the year I change that. For Good. My husband is even on board. This helps.

    I loved The Paradox Of Choice. I do think I am a bit of a minimalist in some ways. I think less is more and I am always purging crap that I don’t need. I ALWAYS think twice about bringing something new into the house.

    Great post Maggie!

    • Maggie
      6 January, 2011 at 9:32 pm (3 years ago)

      @Jill: That’s why the guy wrote it! Because he was having a kid and wanted to know if he should feed it meat or not.

  3. Nicole
    7 January, 2011 at 7:13 am (3 years ago)

    i don’t know if i could call myself a vegetarian..
    i mean i haven’t eaten meat/fish for a littel over 2 years now (i think not sure about the exact date :P )

    but i do own some leather items
    (though i try not to buy any new ones.. but that can be hard especially for shoes)
    and i do sometimes have the “wrong” cheese
    (though for myself i don’t buy it, just when eating somewhere else i’m oke with it.. i guess)
    and i also sometimes have someting (mostly candy) with gelatine in it
    (though again try not to actually buy it myself..)

    so yeah not really sure..

    on the minimalism (sp?) i always buy stuff that i don’t need and then afterwards regret it. i am trying to buy less and think about it more though

    (ps. i hope you can understand what i’m saying, english isn’t my first language and while i can read if perfectly i still have some trouble with writing)

    • Maggie
      15 January, 2011 at 11:33 am (3 years ago)

      @Nicole: I do own some leather items that I bought when I was not vegetarian… I also might be willing to buy leather second hand but I can’t decide. I also eat the wrong cheese too sometimes, and the wrong eggs. But the right eggs are like $6/dozen – I buy them, but I can’t expect anyone that cooks for me to buy them (a friend, at a restaurant, etc).

      Minimalism – Yes, i used to buy a lot of stuff and then regret it. I started a thing where I’ll try to wait a day to buy something – if I still want it after a day I can go back and get it. It’s surprising how much stuff I don’t want anymore after 24 hours.

      Your English is great! Keep writing :) Practice makes perfect. Though the English language is such a mutt that there probably is no such thing as perfect English ;)

  4. melissa @ the delicate place
    7 January, 2011 at 12:54 pm (3 years ago)

    i love JSF fiction work! never read this. i do eat animals. i think i eat fish the most followed by chicken, pork, beef, venison, bison. i never eat sausage i hate it. i am a minimalist in all things. i hate having clutter around and i only buy enough food for 1 week so i don’t waste stuff. i buy things in bulk bins too unless it’s cheaper to buy things in a larger container like gluten free oats. the gluten allergy really has made me a better cook and eat whole foods for life!

  5. Kara
    8 January, 2011 at 11:20 am (3 years ago)

    1. Yes, I eat meat, mostly because it’s delicious. I was vegetarian for years and now I eat everything. My favorite is buffalo. I don’t eat meat as often as I’d like because the good stuff is expensive. I have a 7 month old baby and I plan on feeding her meat as a protein when she gets older.

    2. I love choices. I can’t imagine raising a baby without the endless wealth of choices our society allows us.

  6. caronae
    8 January, 2011 at 1:15 pm (3 years ago)

    I do eat meat and most likely always will. I am not a subscriber to the belied that animal products, in moderation, are causing our nation’s health crisis. I do, however quite agree with you that animal cruelty abounds and we all have a responsibility to do something about it. I try to get as much of my meat, especially red meat, from the farmer’s market. This means that it’s local and typically natural. The farmer’s often even have pictures of their cows or chickens roaming around. I think that smaller family farms are an infinitely more ethical choice. I do get certain things from the grocery store, although I often feel bad about it. Hands down, it is going to be organic/free-range/natural, but I know that sometimes there is still cruelty (or at least mistreatment), even with those labels. I do the best I can do, and overall I think I do really well.

    At this point in my life, I know that my body really needs meat, fish, dairy, and eggs. I have a boatload of insulin and metabolic issues, and I have found that these foods are essential to keeping them in check. I do, however enjoy plenty of vegetarian and vegan proteins and I make an effort to rotate them into my meals! I eat meat maybe 3 times a week?

    Anyhow, great post Maggie!

    • Maggie
      15 January, 2011 at 11:38 am (3 years ago)

      @Caronae: What was very surprising for me was that out of all the factory-farmed animals, cows are treated the best and are probably the best option if you’re not going to go organic. (According to JSF.)

      I also could never give up dairy and eggs. I recently discovered the deliciousness of goat’s milk yogurt!

  7. Gaby
    9 January, 2011 at 1:14 am (3 years ago)

    Eating Animals is one of my favorite books ever. I think it needs to be required reading for anyone in a developed country. I really did want to go purely vegan after reading it and still think about it, but I do stick with vegan for the most part, and then just buy organic yogurt and eggs from a local farmer. I’ve also started getting goat’s milk yogurt from a local farmer too which tastes amazing plus I don’t have to worry about the tummy ache because goat’s milk doesn’t have lactose. I could never go without my yogurt and granola! I have a hard time believing any body actually needs meat, you just have to be very very educated about nutrition to do a good job on a vegan diet. It’s a matter of getting used to it and learning a lot, and yes, that does take some effort!
    I’ll need to read The Paradox of Choice. I’ve been flying through books lately and I love it, there’s always so much more to read! I was totally overwhelmed by Abby’s list. I feel like I need to start keeping a binder full of book recommendations to make my way through slowly for my whole lifetime. I’ve gotten back on Good reads in the last week too after neglecting it for a long time. This is a good thing but can be very distracting lol.
    Also, I want to start doing yoga every day again. I plan to start tomorrow and my training program wants us to keep detailed journals of it as well as a meditation practice we’re also supposed to start! We’re doing so many cool things in this section of training, you’d love it! I will have to share it with you next time we can catch up!

  8. Kath (Eating for Living)
    12 January, 2011 at 8:53 pm (3 years ago)

    I think if you feel well with ghee, butter, or yoghurt, there’s no problem with eating them. You shouldn’t turn down foods that make you feel well just to earn a label. The least people fit categories perfectly.

    I eat meat and fish / seafood, although, by ethical ideals, I’d rather not. I do because especially lean white meat and fish seems to be the kind of protein my body can process the best. I also eat some red meat occasionally, but I avoid all the fatty stuff because it makes me feel sick. The rest I can’t eat so well at all: I don’t tolerate any dairy due to lactose and casein except pure dairy fat, soy gives me depression, and legumes cause gut pains. Every now and then, I eat an egg, but I have to be careful with them because they easily give me nausea. Grrrrrrrrrrr! :(

    So, you see, it would be very hard for me to be a vegetarian, and this is why I’m not. Meat and fish just seem to be good for me somehow – at least I can eat them without problems, and the other stuff I can’t.

    On a sidenote (funny!) I’ve started to dig into macrobiotics recently, and I’m trying that out (to the degree that works for me – basically brown rice etc pressure-cooked, miso soups, and so on), so let’s see what comes out of it! I find your blog very inspiring in that regard! :D

    I’m definitely a minimalist. I like to have some choices (not too many), but mostly I won’t use them. It’s good to know I have them, though. Usually, I’m content with quite a few things.

    • Maggie
      15 January, 2011 at 11:40 am (3 years ago)

      @Kath: It’s definitely important to give your body what it wants! I don’t really know much about the meat industry in Europe/Germany and I’d be interested in researching it a bit, because it’s probably quite different than here (though I’m sure not that much better). When I was in Italy I ate horse and it was one of the most delicious things I ever had. But you can’t get horse meat in America!

      Yay for minimalism :)

  9. Kath (Eating for Living)
    12 January, 2011 at 9:03 pm (3 years ago)

    However, I often feel bad eating meat and fish because I know about the food industry and don’t want to support animal mass farming and overfishing of the seas. Somewhat, it’s a choice between health (living, rather) and being sick. I haven’t founds a way to eat healthily without meat and fish, and I’ve tried a lot (raw dairy, lactose-free dairy, soy products) during the last year, and nothing worked for me. I hope I’ll earn enough money one day to afford organic and properly reared meat and fish only. So I’m perfectly on your side with what you think about eating animals, and it’s great that you feel good being a vegetarian again, but I’m also afraid to be judged. :( I’d do better if I could.

    • Maggie
      15 January, 2011 at 11:41 am (3 years ago)

      @Kath: I don’t believe in judging people for their dietary choices. It’s a very personal thing, and everyone has different needs/reasons for eating the way they do. :)

  10. Lindsay
    15 January, 2011 at 9:39 pm (3 years ago)

    1. During my struggle with an Eating Disorder I was pretty strictly a vegetarian, but as a result my physical health was affected and my blood platelets and iron was so low that I needed to add meat back into my diet. I now enjoy turkey, chicken, and the occasional peice of beef, but other than that I eat just the white meat and I eats tons of dairy and cheese.
    2. I am not a minimalist. I like to have tons of options. I go into the store and I have to have my choice of items! :)

  11. becca
    12 September, 2011 at 11:29 am (3 years ago)

    what weird names but they look like some really good books

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