Skip to main content


Food chemists are hard at work concocting plant-protein-based foods with more protein than beef, more omegas than salmon, calcium, antioxidants and B-vitamins, which also deliver juicy flavor and the texture of the real thing. Exciting news.

Of course faux flesh is a highly processed food derived from pea and other proteins and refined in extruders to the point of unrecognizability. But it contains no saturated fat and cholesterol and its carbon footprint is practically nonexistent compared with the energy costs associated with the production of animal foods. And what are these energy costs?

Only three percent of the plant matter that goes into cow feed winds up as muscle (meat). The rest, as author Rowan Jacobsen writing for Outside magazine tells us, gets "burned for energy, ejected as methane, blown off as excess heat, shot out the back of the beast, or repurposed into non-meat-like things such as blood, bone and brains." The process "buries river systems in manure and requires an absurd amount of land. Roughly three-fifths of all farmland is used to produce cattle, although beef accounts for just 5 percent of our protein."

Despite the environmental costs, global protein consumption is expected to double by 2050.

The world's 22 billion livestock animals - cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, camels, horses, pigs and poultry - account for over half (51 percent) of the world's greenhouse-gas emissions (GHGs), according to a report published by the Worldwatch Institute and entitled "Livestock and Climate Change."

And these animals, which function as living plant-protein processors by converting the energy in grass and grain to muscle for meat, are very inefficient at what they do. They are much better at producing methane, a potent greenhouse gas which they belch into the air at the rate of 103 million tons per year. One molecule of methane traps 25 times as much heat as a molecule of CO2.

It takes 9,000 calories of edible feed to produce 1,000 calories of edible chicken. Cows are far more inefficient at making muscle. 36,000 calories goes in a steer's system to produce 1,000 calories of edible meat. And while doing so, each cow produces the annual GHGs of a car driven about 9,000 miles. And grass-fed beef, the rage in many communities, is actually worse on the environment, generating more methane than grain-fed cows and having nearly twice the carbon footprint.

The conclusion is simple. To save the environment, we must eat less meat.

But substituting the burger for the processed-plant variety, while a step in the right direction, is not in the best service of your health. Fake meat is after all highly processed. The best you can do, both for your environment and your personal health, is to choose plants in their whole and unprocessed state. Go Paradigm.


Popular posts from this blog


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…


In my days in the working world, doing the traditional 9 to 5 thing - although when I was a teacher it was more like 10 to 2 and 6 to 9; and as a doctor it was often 6 to 6 - I saw how easy it is to fall into the traps of so-called civilized life. I'm talking about modern vices. Things like drinking, smoking, drug use, promiscuity, and a diet of processed food, with or without animal flesh.

During my senior year of high school I decided it was necessary for me to abstain from these five vices. Each day that I didn't 1. drink alcohol, 2. smoke cigarettes, 3. do drugs, 4. eat meat, and 5. have sex or masturbate, was a day lived in the right direction. The direction of purity, divinity, wholesomeness, God consciousness. It was a way of distancing myself from my more earthy peers, who even at the tender age of 17 were indulging in many of these fleshy pursuits, and on a daily basis. I had soccer teammates who smoked a pack of cigarettes, getting their fixes before school, between …


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 …