Sunday, February 15, 2015

The new mistake about to happen . . .

Dolly and Smarty Pants
When Ancel Keys (wrongly, history has proven) stated that fat was our major dietary health problem, the world listened and changed the way they ate.  Alas, it led to MORE disease, not less.  It is very sad that his very own data disproved his hypothesis and yet his conclusion was to eat less fat, especially saturated fat.  And so we got Snackwell cookies and the like, products that touted "heart health" by replacing fat with sugar.  Let's look at Keys's own data.  First, be aware that he started with 22 countries, and simply tossed out the data from any country that messed up his trend line.  (Browse "Seven Country Study" and check it out.) So by "scientific" chicanery, he used data from only six countries that fit his neat little line.  Still he ignored the data surrounding those remaining six data points!  Japan, Italy, Great Britain, Australia, Canada and the US were the remaining six countries.  Of those six countries, some of them showed improved heart health as they ate MORE fat.  The US of course wasn't one of them.  Since the only food that correlated neatly with chronic heart disease (CHD) was SUGAR across all 22 countries, perhaps it was the fact that in the US, the population was getting much of their fat in sweets.  You don't see Finland or France on that list.  They eat their fat on their meat and fish, and had their data been included, they would have produced embarrassing outliers!

So we are living with the results of that flawed study, but the trend does seem to be shifting away from low fat, and definitely encouraging fewer carbohydrates.  Mainstream medicine acknowledges that insulin resistance underlies almost all of our Western diseases.  Sugar / carbohydrates contribute to insulin resistance and in fact saturated fat's bad rap is diminishing, although I still cringe when I hear of a recipe re-do that removes the fat to make it "healthier."  Bottom line is that the very information we were following for so many decades was actually harming us, not helping us.

There seems to be a new trend towards vegetarian diets.  Such a diet may work for some, but not for all.  In fact, the majority of people will do better with at least some meat in their diets, and people with neurological disorders such as clinical depression, autism, anxiety, mood swings, diabetic neuropathy and epilepsy would do well to consider a ketogenic diet, or at least one leaning that way.  A ketogenic diet is very high in fat, very low in carbohydrates, and includes meat.  Follow this link for more on that.  Use of ketogenic diets in treatment of neurological diseases.

I was a vegetarian for around 15 years.  My health suffered.  When I lost my second tooth, I started reading something besides The Vegetarian Times.  I read Life without bread on a trip to England, was pretty sure I had discovered my problem - a vegetarian diet is pretty carbohydrate loaded - got off the plane and had bacon and eggs (no toast) for breakfast and never looked back.  No more dental problems, mood swings tempered, weight lost, blood pressure reduced.

Well, the latest guilt trip being laid on us omnivores is that we are contributing to global warming by eating meat.  It is time to rethink the problem before we make another mistake with even more consequences on our health and our planet.  While I commend people for searching for healthier lifestyles, if you don't want to be a vegetarian to save the planet, you don't have to. Eat meat without guilt, but not factory farmed meat. That goes for the vegetables too. Support small local farmers who use mulch instead of the plow, use animal manure instead of chemical fertilizers and don't plow up thousands of acres for GMO soy and corn.  The vegetarian who is pointing her finger at me because I kill animals to live is more than likely eating vegetables and grain from factory farms.  Factory farm wheat and spinach and tomatoes should not go unnoticed.  Three of her four fingers are pointing back at her. 

I am very, very tired indeed of listening to people 1) rail against cow farts, 2) claim that animals drink so much water that would better go to thirsty humans, and 3) suggest something so extreme as eating up the existing animals since they are already here, and then NO MORE ANIMALS.  Do not allow them to breed, make them go extinct, they have nothing to offer!  Oh, my, Dorothy, we aren't in Kansas anymore!!!

Let me address these three points here.

1.  Cow farts.  First, grass-fed cows offset their flatulence by increasing carbon sequestration through plowing up the soil with their hooves, urinating and defecating.  In fact, it is a net gain.  Factory farm animals don't even get the chance to go outside and do what should come naturally to them.  Second, plowing ground for the vegetarian's beloved bread, tofu and spinach produces more CO2 than cow farts.  I don't hear anyone screaming that we should quit plowing, the first step in raising wheat and corn and soy beans.  Or maybe we should fill in all of our wetlands, which produce plenty of CO2.  Read this for more on that:  It's about halfway down the article.  Flatulent cows vs. plowed fields

2.  Yes, animals drink water.  I have seen figures on how many tons of water a cow drinks before it is butchered for meat.  Have you seen any of these massive several-ton cows?  I haven't either.  They urinate! What goes in is water, what comes out is fertilizer.  Same with the grass and hay.  A pastured cow requires one acre to live and produces enough fertilizer for three acres.  Such a deal! 

3.  I am sad to hear when an animal goes extinct.  Most thoughtful people would agree with me.  And yet I hear from well-meaning people that we should EXTINGUISH meat animals!  Just get rid of them because they are destroying the earth.  I am not even going to write the obvious next step. 

Here we are on the cusp of making another serious mistake.  Instead of pointing the finger at the omnivores, examine the reason you don't like it.  If I have it right, it is because you believe that eating meat contributes to CO2 in the atmosphere, which in turn leads to global warming, and therefore people of good conscience should give up meat.  Just like Ancel Keys believed the problem with heart health was saturated fat, he couldn't give up that hypothesis even when his own data did not support it.  And now, those who believe that eating meat is wrong need to go back a step and remember why, to check out their hypothesis, which I understand to be that if we remove animals from our food chain the earth will limp along fit for human life a bit longer.

Factory farming of spinach, corn, beans and tomatoes is just as pernicious as factory farming of animals.  We must stay focused on the real problem - the mass production of food at any cost and our reluctance in the US to pay a fair price for good food that pays a living wage to the farmers and those who work the land.