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, we must ask:
Is the USDA leading us astray, and if so, why would they?
According to the Physicians' Committee for Responsible Medicine
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! 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?
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. 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. 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.
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." 
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.
"The Price of Beef," WorldWatch, July/August 1994, p. 39.
 Diet for a New America; John Robbins; 2001.
 The China Study; T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D.; 2006.