14 December 2009

Eat Less Meat! (say the Brits)

The Brits have made an official recommendation that people eat less meat and dairy. You can read more about it in The Guardian. They say it will reduce greenhouse gases and make people healthier. (They also recommend cutting back on processed foods, cutting back on waste, and skipping the bottled water.)

Can you imagine the US government making that kind of a recommendation, even though science completely supports it? The meat and dairy lobbyists would go nuts, the lawmakers from the farm states would filibuster, and the beleaguered representative or senator who dared to propose the bill would slink home amidst accusations of socialism, elitism, and anti-Americanism.

What the hell, give it a try. Write your senator (get contact info here) and suggest the US follow Great Britain in making an official recommendation, not just disguised in a nutrition pyramid that puts the steak next to the nuts, that people cut their consumption of meat and dairy products.

Soy how else can you get your protein? you may ask.

Soy has a bad rap, partly because it's used, like corn syrup, in highly refined form in a great many refined foods, and for those who are allergic to soy products, this can be a minefield. But you probably shouldn't be eating those refined foods anyway, and it has more to do with the fat and the salt and the chemical flavorings and preservatives than it does with the soy products. In any case, folks in China and Japan have been eating less processed soy products like tofu and tempeh for millennia.

People also worry that rain forests are getting cut down to grow soybeans. But you're not eating the majority of those soybeans ... the cows are. And it takes ten to fifteen pounds of soy beans and grain, plus gallons of water and untold amounts of antibiotics, to produce a pound of beef. If everyone at those soybeans as soybeans, instead of as beef, you could stop chopping down rainforests today.