Should meat be off the menu?

meatIs meat a luxury that our bodies – and our environment – simply cannot afford?

Yet another report is linking the eating of processed meat with cancer  – particularly bowel cancer.

And it’s not just our bodies that are bearing the brunt of our carnivorean ways. The environmental impacts of rearing cattle and pigs have been well documented over the years.One town in Belgium is so concerned about this that they’re going veggie once a week —

Fair enough in the days of the Savannah, when food choices were few and health/environmental sciences were thousands of years away from being developed.

But with what we know now, can we really justify this dietary habit? When it comes to eating meat, have we got our heads in the sand? Are some things just too hard (and too tasty) to give up?

22 Responses to “Should meat be off the menu?”

  1. 1 steve
    June 15, 2009 at 14:29

    There is also a link because nitrates, which is in processed foods, and stomach cancer. Doesn’t even have to be meat. You could eat pickles and that has nitrates in it. But we also shouldn’t forget that way back, people would be lucky to make it out of childhood, let alone live to 40. These are basically diseases of privileged lives, where people no longer worry about day to day survival like they used to. We honestly probably weren’t meant to live very long, just long enough to reproduce and stick around long enough for the child to be able to feed itself.

    • June 17, 2009 at 15:12

      While it’s true that certain species of fish spawn and then die, I don’t believe that humans were intended just to breed, raise their offspring to a self-feeding stage, then die. We are mammals not fish.

      In fact we are living longer all the time and seem obsessed with avoiding the natural order of things (ie, death) for as long as possible. To that end a BBC piece on the radio today was asking the question of whether to cook carrots whole before chopping them up or vs versa. (Seems nutritionally the answer is the former.)

      The question of superior nutritional value of eating them and other vegetables raw was not even raised. What was implied was that frozen veggies, which are never offered whole, are less desirable than fresh, whole veggies. The piece could have been more valuable to the audience if this information was included.

      Similarly the question of destroying forests to make grazing land for cattle was barely mentioned or responded to in this question of eating or not eating meat. The impact on the global environment that results from the ongoing destruction of the Amazonian rainforest for the purpose of cattle raising and expansion of human habitat is an important question that is an intrinsic piece of the puzzle not being addressed. A more serious dialogue on the whole subject is called for.

  2. 3 Jennifer
    June 15, 2009 at 15:52

    Re: Are some things just too hard (and too tasty) to give up?

    Yes. I’ll take my chances with meat. I am not a bunny…..

    • 4 Chus_m3
      June 15, 2009 at 17:17

      first of all, yes, you are a bunny. hehehe. (it was a joke).

      I don´t think meat is bad, it is perhaps beacuse of the preprocess it has that can make it harmful for people, but we have to think this happens with all food.

      Meat is necessary to get proteins, and there is no reason not to eat it.
      Perhaps it could be substitued by other food , but this doesn´t make it bad for health. the most important thing is not abuse of some specifical food. In the variety is the taste (and health).

  3. 5 Tom D Ford
    June 15, 2009 at 16:10

    “The environmental impacts of rearing cattle and pigs have been well documented over the years.”

    The root cause of those problems is the fact that there are just too many people, too many human beings on this little blue marble of a planet.

    Hmm, if animal meat is taken off the menu, will cannibalism return as a replacement? I’ve read that “long pig” was considered to be pretty good. It’s hard to imagine, though.

  4. 6 Tom D Ford
    June 15, 2009 at 16:16

    Yuck! If cannibalism returns, a “Big Mac” could really be a big Mac, and McDonalds food is already bad enough as it is.

  5. 7 gary
    June 15, 2009 at 16:41

    A change in eating habits toward the “opportunistic omnivore” habit that best describes humans would benefit most folks (with the emphasis on the “omni” part). More fresh fruits, raw veggies and nuts, less animal protein (maybe about three or four ounces) I think is the ticket. The object is to get as many natural colors on your plate as possible!

  6. 8 viola
    June 15, 2009 at 17:08

    There are people with certain medical problems that require a diet that has very high quality protein in it, which basically means flesh, whether it is the flesh of fish, fowl, or those creatures that are labeled “meat.” I am thinking of diabetics who have to limit carbohydrates and fats and sugars.

    In those parts of the world where getting enough calories is not a problem, the use of fat meat in the diet can be reduced safely. So why not ship more of it to those areas that still suffer from calorie deficiencies? Kill two birds with one stone. Balance, balance and more balance, always.

  7. 9 Sammy - Vancouver, WA
    June 15, 2009 at 19:24

    What a stupid topic if discussion.

  8. 10 Dennis Junior
    June 15, 2009 at 22:55

    Hi…No, I don’t think that meat should be taken off the menu….But, for the better protection of society then it should be consider….

    ~Dennis Junior~

  9. 11 Tom K in Mpls
    June 16, 2009 at 05:02

    Every body is different. I eat about 75% meat and dairy. The older I get, the higher it goes. My cholesterol level is great ( genetics! 🙂 ). Starches and veggies make me put on weight. If a ‘food’ doesn’t work for me, I won’t eat it. Remember, you are what you eat, and I am not a fruit or a vegetable!

  10. 12 Ann
    June 16, 2009 at 11:30

    I was a veggie for 15 years, but had to start eating meat and fish again for health reasons.

    I don’t think eating meat in itself is the problem – the problem is the way that it is produced and transported and of course the sheer amounts we eat!

    Certainly controlling the world population would make a difference, as would sharing resources more equally. Look at obesity in the developed world and starvation in the developing world. Madness.

    • 13 Tom K in Mpls
      June 16, 2009 at 15:40

      Sending food to starving people was finally logistically feasible in the 1980s. It was tried in Africa. All that happened was that most of it was taken by warlords at the airports and harbors to feed their troops and control the starving. For the time being, it is human nature that causes the problem even more than nature.

    • 14 Aboy calledhate
      June 18, 2009 at 10:28

      I really like your comment! Well thought out and writen. Good show!!

    • 15 Aboy calledhate
      June 18, 2009 at 10:29

      Yes, love this comment I agree totally.

  11. 16 Steve Muturi
    June 16, 2009 at 13:00

    I live in Kenya, and we Africans don’t have quite the same health problems with red meat as Europeans or The West generally. Mainly, I think it’s because our diet naturally includes lots of cereals and vegetables for fiber and such; our meat is also organically raised and hardly ‘processed’, hence it doesn’t have as many chemicals in it as yours. It tastes much, much, much better too!!! I always enjoy the looks of shock on tourists’ faces as they watch a goat or sheep transformed from “baa!” to barbecue in less than an hour!!!

  12. 18 jillian
    June 17, 2009 at 11:30

    I love meat and have a small amount everyday but I deplore the way it is produced. Perhaps every child, at least in the developed world, should be taken round a factory farm and abattoire to see exactly how their food is produced. Most children do not associate the food they eat with the animal it comes from. We evolved as omnivores and in the days when meat had to be hunted and killed it was a luxury (people were hung for poaching). Now it is no longer a luxury and if less was produced we would not die of hunger. There are plenty of alternatives.

  13. 19 Cyanocitta cristata
    June 18, 2009 at 01:13

    Meat has long term costs either way you look at it. Medically, eating meat can lead to an unhealthy diet thus causing one to spend more money in caring for themselves. From an agricultural standpoint, not enough crops can sustain the world population and what about the displaced cattle rancher, pig farmer and sheep herders? People make choices based on minimizing the risk, if you want to be healthy eat a balance diet, a little meat and a lot of vegetables.

  14. 20 Aboy calledhate
    June 18, 2009 at 10:25

    I love meat, eat a tone of it a year I’m sure, but have been thinking about giving it up. First of all the idea of killing an animal to eat it is starting to bother me, then the idea of it having an impact on the eviroment has got my attention too.
    I don’t know, I’ll have to get more info so I can make a well informed dicision.

  15. 21 Rui Silva
    June 18, 2009 at 11:26

    I completely agree with those defending that we shouldnt stop eating meat, thats completely against our nature, if look to the pass we were always hunting to eat. I do believe that the problem itself resides on the way we are creating the animals, constantly recurring to drugs to make them grow faster and faster, fools are those who thought that this wouldn’t have any impact in the future.
    So my opinion is that we should start to help producers to make it in a more natural way, and we must encourage more people to work on this area so that we can create a sustainable market. i believe that there are children that dont even know from where the meat come from, or how the animals of each meat they eat look like.

  16. June 20, 2009 at 12:45

    There is nothing wrong with eating any meat as long as it is produced and prepared subject to stringent health and safety standards. The most important thing is the consumption of the necessary vitamins vital to life support. Meat is one source, it is certainly not the only one.

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