Grass-fed Steaks and burgers from Spring Lake Farm
In an interesting blog post by Bittman he writes about how we are actually eating less meat than ever before. This is a fact that many anti-meat activists don’t like to acknowledge. And it is true, we are eating less meat, particularly less red meat than ever before, all the while we are seeing an epidemic raise in obesity and diabetes. While pork and goat are the world’s most consumed meats, we eat mostly white chicken breast. Unfortunately, the chicken industry is by far one of the most consolidated industries in agriculture with a devastating environmental record; not to mention how economically unfair it is to contract growers. In contrast, the beef industry still sources most of its calves from small ranchers where animals are allowed to express their natural “cowness.”
Now my point is not to just eat more meat, but I think the anti-meat, and in particular, the anti-red meat movement, has had a deleterious effect on our health, environment and most importantly, our waistlines. One of the reasons we eat so much chicken is because it has been touted as healthy. The fact that mozzarella cheese has become “America’s most popular cheese,” looks like a bellwether to me. We are eating more pizza and processed cheese topped concoctions. Back when I had TV, I watched an episode of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution(video clip) where he visits a family that is suffering from extreme obesity, a look into their diets showed an obscene amount of prepackaged processed food and lots of carbohydrates and cheese. I was wondering where the meat was and the fresh vegetables? Maybe hidden somewhere deep in all the processed food, filled with unhealthy fats, deeply processed soy products, cheese of dubious origins and lot’s of carbohydrates in the form of pizza dough and large gallons of sodas? Meat and vegetable products made up only a small portion of the food they were consuming.
Calorie counting nutritionists like Marian Nestle like to espouse the notion that all calories are equal and nutrients are just nutrients, that soy milk is equal to cow’s milk, and a slice of bread is equal to meat in terms of it’s effect on your waist line. I don’t agree (more on this later).
Has our obsession with demonizing animal products like lard and red meat actually hurt our health? I have to say, yes. Now, this might not be the anti-meat activists fault, many vegetarians I know are excellent cooks and know how to eat healthily, but maybe the anti-meat message has done more harm than good. In a country where sound bites carry from sea to shining sea it seems the anti-meat message has been corrupted into don’t eat meat but “eat more of everything else and don’t forget to put cheese on it!”
Written By Ulla on January 12, 2012