Skip to main content

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is


Okay, you've probably noticed by now (or at least caught wind) that the economy is pretty messed up.
Taxes are up...
Jobs are down,,,
People are disgruntled and on edge...
The temperature is climbing...
Gas prices are skyrocketing...
Smog is filling the sky...
Spouses are taking swords to their partner's loins...
(Okay, maybe this is an exception).

Is this all Armageddon? Does the end of the Mayan calendar in 12/2012 really coincide with the end of humanity, as some say?

Where to find some sense in the world? Do we look to our government or regulatory bodies? Hmmm, not so much. The USDA has unveiled its new food recommendations. We are urged to fill half the plate with fruits and vegetables.

The other half? Grains (half of which may come in the form of processed foods such as white bread and muffins) and protein (meat, eggs, fish), with additional space allotted to the almighty dairy.

Are these recs suspect? We think so. With dairy consumption strongly linked to the high prevalence of osteoporosis, cancer, kidney disease, in addition to allergies, autoimmune diseases and a host of other maladies,[3] we must ask:

Is the USDA leading us astray, and if so, why would they?


More than 60 percent of the deaths in the United States are caused by heart disease, cancer, and other diet-related diseases. Approximately 68 percent of Americans are overweight or obese. In 2008, the direct medical costs associated with obesity added up to $147 billion.

Furthermore:

Since the USDA’s first Food Pyramid was introduced nearly two decades ago, obesity and diabetes have become commonplace. About 27 percent of young adults are now too overweight to qualify for military service, and an estimated one in three children born in 2000 will develop diabetes.

This would seem to argue strongly in favor of foul play on the part of the USDA! Why and what for? Well, the USDA stands for the Department of Agriculture, after all. And in truth this regulatory body has strong ties to some of the industries whose food they urge us to consume.

Which industries? In a word: Meat, dairy and grains. Okay, that was three words. These three food groups account for over 80 percent of all federal subsidies.

How much support from our government do fruits and vegetables receive? Under 1 percent. In light of this it is understandable that at some stores a lb of cherries cost more than a lb of sirloin steak!!!


I mean, come on! Do you know what a hamburger produced by clearing forest in India would cost if the real costs were included in the price rather than subsidized? $200.00. That's right, $200.00 Once again, for emphasis: $200.00![1] Don't say you don't know where your tax dollars are going. Every lb of flesh you consume is costing the American people nearly $200 in taxes. Unless we hold ourselves accountable for our food choices, how can we complain about the government?

The environmental costs of producing animal foods for human consumption are staggering. First, water cost:


Note that it takes over 200 times more water to produce beef than it takes to grow potatoes. In fact, the amount of water that goes into a few McDonald's Quarter Pounders could supply your shower needs every day for an entire year!!! Why is this staggering effect of meat consumption on our dwindling water supply being ignored?

Next, acreage:

The amount of land devoted to pasture is nearly 3 times what is used to raise crops, and much of the cropland is devoted to growing animal feed (grain).

And what about the world's forests? Deforestation is going on rapidly. In fact, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) estimates that in Latin America some 70 percent of former forest cover has been converted for grazing.[5] Yikes!

Finally, fossil fuel consumption:

Twenty-five calories of fuel can produce nearly as many calories of vegetables such as cabbage and potatoes. Very little is wasted. By contrast, the same fuel cost produces over twenty times less animal protein (beef, eggs, milk and chicken). 

Looked at another way: A typical American car uses 3 kilograms of greenhouse-warming gas in a given day. The amount of gas to produce one hamburger? 75 kilograms.[1] Twenty-five times as much.

In other words: enjoying 1 "tasty" burger has as much of an energy consuming effect as driving a car for 1 whole month. This is irresponsible. Riding your bike to work is a good thing. As far as the environment is considered, opting for beans and greens over meat and cheese is much better!

In light of these statistics, is the best contribution we as citizens can make to the health of the economy and environment really taking shorter showers or paying higher taxes? Is it riding a bike instead of driving a Prius instead of driving an SUV? These are pebbles on the shore, in the grand scheme. Why not plunge the depths. Go to the root of the problem and reduce animal food consumption.
[6]

Take it one day at a time. Start Monday, then Tuesday, etc. String the meatless days together.

How much meat, eggs and dairy should be in your diet? Unlike what the USDA recommends, the right amount is ZERO

Listen to the Physicians' Committee for Responsible Medicine. Listen to your body. Listen to your innate sense of compassion for the sentient beings with whom we share this world and SAY NO TO FLESH AND FLESH BY PRODUCTS. It is worse for your health than smoking, and worse for the planet as well.

In the words of John Robbins, "It is deeply moving that the same food choices that give us the best chance to eliminate world hunger are also those that take the least toll on the environment, contribute the most to our long-term health, are the safest, and are also far and away the most compassionate toward our fellow creatures." [2]

We are on the cusp of a breakthrough in consciousness. The Paradigm is shifting away from toxic foods and the merciless methods used to produce those foods back to a simple, clean lifestyle more in accordance with our nature. Who knows, maybe the end of the Mayan calendar will bring with it the beginning of the Golden Age.


Heal the world starting with yourself, one huge delicious bite at a time.

[1]"The Price of Beef," WorldWatch, July/August 1994, p. 39.
[2] Diet for a New America; John Robbins; 2001.
[3] The China Study; T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D.; 2006.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

GRAY MATTERS

I was watching the TV show Naked and Afraid last night as I sometimes do. The show teams together two strangers, a man and a woman, who attempt to survive on their own for a period of 21 days in some remote and isolated region. Some of the locales featured include the Australian Outback, the Amazonian rainforest and the African Savanna. The man may have a military background, or be an adventurist or deep sea fisherman. Sometimes he's an ordinary dude who lives with mom. The woman is a park ranger or extreme fitness enthusiast or "just a mom" herself. Sometimes the couple quarrel, sometimes one or both "tap out" (quit) in a fit of anger or illness. It is satisfying to see them actually make it through the challenge and reach their extraction point. The victors are usually exhausted, emaciated, begrimed and bare ass naked. 

Even more satisfying, at least for me, is the occasional ass shot, snuck in at strategic intervals to boost viewership, of course. It's co…

ON MIND-STUFF

I hereby proclaim that June is meditation month. And July and August and some of September too. For me at least. During the hundred days that comprise summer, give or take, I have taken it upon myself to "assume the position" for approximately one hour each day, usually divided into two 30-minute sessions. During this time I sit in front of a candle flame, let my breathing subside, and with it my mental activity, and literally count the seconds.

The reductive tendency that is emblematic of science has penetrated schools of meditation, and there are many, each of which advertises its particular breed as, if not being the best, at least boasting novel or specific benefits not found in other forms of meditation. 

For example, there is mindfulness, which is the monitoring of thoughts. There is concentration or focus, as on an object or the breath. There is transcendental meditation, which uses the inward repetition of a phrase, or mantra, to "allow your active mind to easily …

S.O.S

To be spontaneous or systematic, that's the question. Or SOS, as the Police sing. Within me these two opposing characteristics are ever at war. I suppose we're all born more of the former. What child is not up for a trip to the candy store on a whim? But our educational system drums in the systematic approach to problem solving. You must progress from number 1 to 10 on your test. Each class is 50 minutes long. Etc. And indeed having a schedule and being methodical can lead to greater material success. If you only do what you feel like you may never study math, or organize your closet. But enslaving yourself to a ritual can suck all the fun out of life. To reconcile the two approaches we've evolved the weekend, which is basically a short vacation from the rigid workday, a time to play in an unstructured way. The athlete has his rest days, a time away from play. The family has the trip to the Bahamas. There are semester breaks in school, though having an entire summer off is…