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The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter…

The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter

by Peter Singer

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This is an excellent book that, were I a different person, a saint and not a sinner, might have changed my life. I think it probably will change it somewhat; I will continue with the baby steps of eating and buying food more mindfully, as I've already begun to do, but I'm not becoming vegan any time soon. [b:The Way We Eat|29377|The Way We Eat Why Our Food Choices Matter|Peter Singer|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1316130253s/29377.jpg|213660] gives the reader many points to ponder about the philosophical questions that arise about eating animals, the treatment of animals who provide food for us, the tension between eating locally and supporting farmers in developing countries, and many more.

But this is not merely a work of philosophy. The authors begin by examining the food shopping and preparation practices of three families. One family eats the typical American diet with lots of meat, convenience foods and fast food, shopping mainly at Walmart or another supermarket. The next, with a vegetarian husband and a carefully omnivorous wife and child, prefers organic and local food and shops at a variety of places including farmers' markets. The third family eats a completely vegan diet and grows much of its own food. Although it's easy to tell that Family #3 is the one the authors admire, each of the families is treated respectfully and the reasons for their choices are respected. The authors provide a lot of information about where each family's food comes from and what happens before it gets to the table. I appreciated the thoughtful and non-sensationalist way that all this information was presented. Whenever possible (since some of the farmers and businesspeople on the more "industrial" end of the spectrum refused interviews), Singer and his co-authors interviewed people on both sides of a question or at least read and quoted extensively from their work. When they disagreed with someone and dissected his arguments, they did so fairly.

The conclusion: it would be best for the welfare of the world (humans, animals, plant life, water, soil and atmosphere) if everyone began to eat a vegan diet as soon as possible. But, realizing that this is unlikely, the authors give a short list of steps that can bring all of our diets closer to sustainability and a higher morality.

I would recommend this book without reservation; I think it was the best non-fiction book I've read all year. ( )
  auntieknickers | Apr 3, 2013 |
Subtitle: Why Our Food Choices Matter
I never had carefully considered the plight of the chickens, cows or sows that go into my daily diet. This book graphically describes their short and brutish lives and deaths. It then puts forth an argument to prove that it is not ethical to eat anything but a vegan diet. If the lives of humans were not in large part as full of misery as that of animals, it might be a valid argument.
  hmskip | Mar 3, 2012 |
I liked that the authors follow three families and their eating habits and search for the source of the food that the families consume. It's interesting how people jusitfy what they eat and how other justify why they choose to raise animals the way they do. Overall, this book helped me to be more aware of where my food comes from. ( )
  bamalibrarylady | Jan 14, 2010 |
The Way We Eat is an in-depth exploration into the ethics of our food choices. To illustrate their arguments, co-authors Singer and Mason use the eating habits of three families as case studies: a typical suburban family looking for low-cost, convenient food choices at their local Wal-Mart; an upper-middle class family that chooses organic foods whenever possible and shops at places like Whole Foods; a vegan family that is very tuned into food ethics.

Singer is an ethicist, and this book includes detailed analyses of the ethics implicated by eating meat in general, eating meat and from factory farms, eating farm-raised fish, choosing organic and free-trade foods, buying local food, and other food choices. For people already sensitized to the ethics of food choices, this is a great book for diving deeper into the subject. It's well-written and well-researched. Newcomers to the issue, however, should start with something less dense like Michael Pollan's fabulous primer, The Omnivore's Dilemma.

This review also appears on my blog Literary License. ( )
1 vote gwendolyndawson | Mar 11, 2009 |
I recommend this book to anyone who questions what titles like certified organic, certified humane, all-natural, etc. mean. This book provides a great service in clarifying those deliberately-muddied waters.
  ptzop | Nov 28, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 157954889X, Hardcover)

A thought-provoking look at how what we eat profoundly affects all living things--and how we can make more ethical food choices

Five Principles for Making Conscientious Food Choices
1. Transparency: We have the right to know how our food is produced.
2. Fairness: Producing food should not impose costs on others.
3. Humanity: Inflicting unnecessary suffering on animals is wrong.
4. Social Responsibility: Workers are entitled to decent wages and working conditions.
5. Needs: Preserving life and health justifies more than other desires.

Peter Singer, the groundbreaking ethicist who "may be the most controversial philosopher alive" (The New Yorker), now sets his critical sights on the food we buy and eat: where it comes from, how it's produced, and whether it was raised humanely. Teaming up once again with attorney Jim Mason, his coauthor on the acclaimed Animal Factories, Singer 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? Recognizing that not all of us will become vegetarians, Singer and Mason offer ways to make the best food choices. As they point out: "You can be ethical without being fanatical."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:38 -0400)

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Examines the practices of the modern food industry, exposing its exploitation, waste, and inhumane treatment of animals, and provides guidelines for making informed and ethical choices in the selection of food products.

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