The Omnivore’s Dilemma

This section will be where I post Discussion Questions and important vocabulary words from our Unit 2 book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: The Secrets Behind What You Eat, Young Readers Edition.

Some of you may ask, Do I need to write the answers down somewhere? Well, that depends. Can you answer these questions off the top of your head without having to look back at your notes? (Then NO.) Do you find that you would forget what you read and wouldn’t be able to answer the questions in the event of a *random pop quiz*?  (Then YES.)

IF you do record the answers somewhere, post it on your blog! ONE: create a new PAGE. TWO: Call it The Omnivore’s Dilemma (or TOD for short). THREE: Copy my questions and paste it on your own Page, then answer the questions. FOUR: Publish! 

Any questions? Ask 3 before me!

Discussion Questions (The Big Ideas)

(Most recent chapter listed first.)

Ch. 22

Ch. 19

Ch. 18

Day 10– Eat Meat Responsibly (chapter from The Food Babe Way: 21 Days of Good Food and Good Habits)

Ch. 15

  1. Why is it important for Joel Salatin to process his chickens on his farm?
  2. Describe the Polyface Farm processing shed.
  3. What are some of the flaws of the USDA rules about processing meat?
  4. Joel Salatin had an independent (unbiased) lab test his chickens. What was the result?
  5. Why did the author participate in killing the chickens?
  6. Why is Joel Salatin against having walls for his slaughterhouse?
  7. List ways Polyface Farms practices sustainability.

Ch. 14

  1. Describe the chicken pens and how they move around the pasture.
  2. What’s the Eggmobile? What’s the reasoning behind them?
  3.  “It’s all connected,” Joel Salatin says about his farm. What does he mean?
  4. Compare and contrast Polyface Farms from a Factory Farm.

Ch. 12

  1. What is the point of the author working at Polyface Farm for the week?
  2. Describe Polyface Farm. How is it different from other ‘farms’ you read about so far?
  3. Why does Joel Salatin call himself a “grass farmer”? (pg. 168-169)
  4. What is so interesting about the graphic, “A Year of Grazing on a Typical Pasture at Polyface Farm”? (pg. 169)
  5. Compare and contrast the graphic on the Naylor Farm versus Polyface Farm (pg. 173).

Ch. 11

  1. Describe a typical factory farm for poultry (chicken).
  2. Describe a typical processing plant.
  3. Looking at the pros and cons of importing food from other countries (pgs. 152-153), what is your opinion?
  4. Is organic food better for you? (What do studies show? pgs. 154-157)
  5. Most (about 80%) of the fuel burned by the food industry is used for what?
  6. Why wouldn’t Joel Salatin at Polyface Farms ship his food to the author?

Ch. 10 

  1. What time period led to the birth of the organic food movement?
  2. What book inspired the environmental movement at about the same time?
  3. How can something be organic and have HFCS?
  4. Page 136 shows the large corporations that own organic companies. With which are you familiar?

Ch. 9

  1. Why does Michael Pollan try McDonald’s in this chapter if he’s so against unhealthy food?
  2. What are the positives and negatives of having a corn-heavy diet?
  3. How does obesity relate to HFCS? Where else have you heard this message?
  4. Watch this video from McDonald’s on how their Chicken McNuggets are made. What questions or comments do you have about the video?

Ch. 8 (Can be found here.)

  1. Give examples of some dilemmas omnivores face.
  2. Why are there so many omnivores all over the world versus herbivores like koalas? (What does what you eat have to do with geography?)
  3. Name the four different tastes which are detected on the tongue. (Not including ‘umami’.)
  4. For what purpose do humans feel disgust? (Humans have evolved to feel disgust for a reason.)
  5. This chapter talks about culture of food. Think about YOUR culture of food– your family’s, your community’s, your society’s. What does it look like?
  6. What is important to understand about Food Fads? Why?

Ch. 7 (Can be found here.)

  1. Name some REASONS the rate of childhood obesity is increasing.
  2. Explain the success of ‘supersizing’. Why would a consumer supersize but not buy TWO of the same item?
  3. Humans have built-in instincts to eat sugar and fat. WHY is this beneficial for the fast food industry?

Ch. 6

  1. Name foods you eat that you didn’t know had corn in it.
  2. On page 88, the book talks about “adding value” to processed food. What does this mean? Give an example.
  3. Can “adding value” to food be a good idea? Why or why not?

Ch. 5

  1. What is most responsible for Americans eating more meat today than ever before in history?
  2. Compare and contrast a CAFO to an old-fashioned farm.
  3. Who is Steer 534? Why did Michael Pollan ‘buy’ him?
  4. Why are cattle and other animals being given antibiotics?
  5. What is the consequence of giving animals we eat antibiotics?
  6. Cows are natural foragers (grass eaters). What is the problem with feeding it corn instead?
  7. What is ‘mad cow’ disease? How did it start?
  8. What are some typical ingredients– besides corn– in cattle feed?

Ch. 3

  1. WHY did the U.S. government get involved in agribusiness?
  2. After WWII, the U.S. government had a surplus (tons of leftovers) of ammonium nitrate. What did they do with it? WHY did they use it for that?
  3. WHAT POWERS the industrial farm? Why is this important?
  4. WHAT’S WRONG with the current system of food production?

Ch. 2

  1. WHO is George Naylor? WHY is he featured in Chapter 2? (Why is he important?)
  2. What’s ‘hybrid corn’? What nickname does Michael Pollan give them?
  3. For WHAT REASON did GMO seeds start?
  4. How has the increase in corn production changed the American farm?

Ch. 1

  1. HOW is it possible for corn to be in almost everything we eat? Give EXAMPLES of where corn is found.
  2. If you were to look at the ingredients on a food label, would corn be LABELED as “corn”? Why? Why not?
  3. WHY is corn used in almost everything we eat? (Why do food companies use it so much?)