Booklist: Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System

by Raj Patel

In this book, Patel looks at the food system from a global standpoint and how decisions made in corporate offices have far-reaching consequences — both intentional and unintentional. For anyone who is, or is considering becoming, a vegetarian, this book is a must-read for it’s extensive explanation of the soy industry, which is fraught with slavery and other atrocities. Patel also discusses genetically modified seeds and the Green Revolution (no, not the warm fuzzy “let’s recycle” kind of green revolution), two things that, while possibly came from good intentions have had disastrous results.

Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, says:
“For anyone attempting to make sense of the world food crisis, or understand the links between U.S. farm policy and the ability of the world’s poor to feed themselves, Stuffed and Starved is indispensable.”

Time Magazine says:
“Patel’s broad treatment helps the layman connect the dots, as well as hear the voices of those who occupy the lower rungs of the global food chain.”

Why it changed my eating habits: By giving me information about soy, genetically modified seeds, how companies like Monsanto are negatively impacting farming in all corners of the earth, this book broadened my view to the impact my food choices can have globally. It made me a more thoughtful consumer and solidified my position against genetically modified organisms (GMO). It made me more aware of the amount of soy we  inadvertently consume in processed food products and, given the conditions under which it’s often produced, gave me reason to try to avoid soy-based additives (such as lecithin and meat alternatives.)