Thursday, October 28, 2010

My Beef With Meat

I used to love a good hamburger or beefsteak like just about every other American. I ate beef, pork or chicken pretty much on a daily basis. But I started to learn that my consumption of these foods in large amounts actually was damaging my health, and also the environment. Some of this information came from my doctor. I had a successful outcome in a bout with prostate cancer, high cholesterol, weight gain that, although not excessive, was leading to other health problems. These issues started to get me to seriously look at what I was putting in my body. Then I saw the documentary film Food Inc. on cable television. I saw that food production methods in this country not only made meat unhealthy for human consumption, but also had profound effect on animals and the overall environment.

I had misgivings about what I considered at the time to be rather moralistically sounding pronouncements about the negative effects of eating beef, but I had a funny feeling that they certainly made sense. So about a year ago I stopped eating red meat. I also stopped eating chicken and pork for what it’s worth because I understood that these foods also used questionable production methods that could effect consuming humans negatively. Like beef, pork and poultry mass production methods effect the environment profoundly. Bacon, of course, seemed to be one of he hardest meats I had to give up.

The results of eliminating these foods a year later? I’ve lost 25 pounds. My digestive system works better and I get some benefit in knowing I’m not supporting a broken corporate meat production system while I also help to improve the environment. I’m not one of the people who stopped eating meat because I was necessarily concerned about the cruelty to animals. That is a noble consideration, but eliminating meat from my diet just seemed to make sense. I felt I didn’t want to support the broken system given the common sense arguments about the negative effects it has on humans, the environment and animals.

I think that those of you who eat beef and other meats still should be able to consume it. But I think it’s important that you know that if you choose to eat these meats you can help the environment by reducing your consumption and by buying from a producer or market that raises meat from animals in a natural way. The video entitled The Secret Life Of Beef helps make my point.

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