It is not one thing or the other

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A common polemical technique seeks to undercut someone's idea by describing what it's not. Here's an example:

By asking Americans to stop eating meat on Monday this insidious effort drives the extreme vegan agenda forward with a reasonable sounding request. “Just one day a week,” is their message, “and you are doing your part to save the planet and improve your own health.” No need to work up a sweat at the gym, go for a run or walk around the block. No need to conserve water usage in your own home (the average American household uses 400+ gallons of water per day) or reduce, reuse and recycle the 670,000 tons of trash we produce every day in the United States (84% of which could be recycled, including food scraps, paper, cardboard, cans, and bottles). All you have to do is give up your hamburger or steak one day a week.

No one argues that going meatless on Mondays is going to solve the problems of the world.

No. one.

The question is whether it moves us closer to health — personal, environmental, and otherwise — or further away from it. The writer, Daren Williams of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, does also address that question, which instantly qualifies him as a more credible source than many Big Food/Big Ag blowhards, but not before he deals this twaddle.

I'm a sucker for graphics

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My cursor came across two revealing graphical representations of how we eat. The  first one is from the food service warehouse (a restaurant-equipment supplier) and compares the top 20 and bottom 20 in two categories: calories consumed and income spent on food. 

Of course, Americans consume more calories per day, on average, than anyone on the planet. But comically/perversely, we spend the least per person, on average!

Or, you could just eat better

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From "One ingredient that could have potential in the weight management market was Dow Chemical Co.'s Satisfit, a soluble, low temperature gelling methyl cellulose [emphasis added] which formed a gel mass in the stomach that lingered for more than two hours, unlike conventional methylcellulose, which cleared the stomach rapidly.

No such thing as a cheap lunch

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Another excerpt from "Animal Vegetable Miracle," Barbara Kingsolver's 2007 book:

Nobody should need science to prove the obvious, but plenty of studies do show that regularly eating cheaply produced fast food and processed snack foods slaps on extra pounds that increase the risks of diabetes, cardiovascular harm, joint problems, and many cancers. As a country we're officially over the top: The majority of our food dollars buy those cheap calories, andd most of our citizens are medically compromised by weight and inactivity. The incidence of obesity-associated diabetes has more than doubled since 1990, with children the fastest-growing class of victims. ... One out of every three dollars we spend on health care, by some recent estimates, is paying for the damage of bad eating habits. One out of every seven specically pays to assuage (but not cure) the mulitple heartbreaks of diabetes — kidley failure, stokes, blindness, amputated limbs. [Page 116]

This paragraph, coming a just a few words after the previous one, underlines the false economy of choosing what we eat based primarily on cost. If it were any other commodity, that might be more defensible, but food is by far the one commodity that determines health, vigor, longevity. It is just staggering to realize that this obvious fact has become so undervalued: You can get a pretty good deal on a truckload of sawdust, but you wouldn't eat it just because it was cheap.


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