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Old 07-20-2013, 08:19 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
17,758 posts, read 53,902,796 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beenhere4ever View Post
I'm not gonna preach the elimination of meat. I want to keep eating it, and I think it is entirely possible to continue, given the millenia they've done it in Asia. But these GIANT sandwiches? Huge steaks? Meat defining a "meal". It just seems such extreme behavior that I can't escape the feeling it is an addiction of some sort. In fact, in a long past decade, I had a bank job in Oregon. I worked with a woman who was probably in her 40's. At a particular time, there was an upswing in beef prices. She would bemoan how MUCH it cost to get beef. I said "Well, if you pay the price, why shouldn't they charge it?" Even at that time I felt she was displaying addict behavior. She insisted there "HAD to be beef". I was hardly anti-beef, but I just couldn't figure why there "HAD to be beef". We had meat every day in our family. We were a huge family, so it was no small matter to pay the cost. So my parents bought according to best prices. They served weenies, meatballs, fried chicken, occasionally fish (tuna). They insured some animal protein every day. But NOT at every meal. And NOT beef exclusively. I don't know if this was a sign of our poverty, but I never recall a single argument over the variety we had. In fact, I personally was always waiting for the chicken meal. That was my treat! We had chicken on holidays.

So what I lobby for is a retreat from extreme behavior. I had a brother who wanted to live on juice extracted from wheat grass. It didn't even matter to me if it tasted good or bad. I just couldn't stand the idea of obsessing over one thing. To me, its inhuman. We couldnt even have beef addicts in most economies. It takes a huge investment of a certain type to provide the meat. Which means it is really doomed in the long run. One paleontologist has hypothesized that the extinction of large game animals doomed the Neanderthals. Climatic conditions could doom beef husbandry. Then what will people do who must have beef all the time? Maybe they are the Neanderthals of today.
Fair enough. I can get behind that idea.
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Old 07-20-2013, 09:22 PM
 
15,446 posts, read 13,428,866 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
That is a slippery slope, one that a lot of people slide down into the mud pit, in their noble efforts to be conscious of their impact on the earth. As another poster mentioned, inequalities in distribution of foods are primarily political in nature, not a resource issue. The carrying capacity of agriculture is more than enough for any reasonable worldwide civilization.
I mentioned food distribution was political, not a resource issue; this was in response to a poster who implied it was false when a book stated this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
If you examine the underlying concept you are flogging, it converts to a core:
If anything requires more resources than the absolute minimum, it is not as good as something requiring less resource use.
I was not making that point, just pointing out meat eaters require more resources

I forget the technical name for it (biology class was years ago where I learned this), but for example; a tiger needs to eat two deer a day to live, a deer needs to eat five pounds of grass a day to live; so basically a tiger consumes ten pounds of grass a day to live versus a deer at five pounds of grass, thus the tiger consumes more resources as a meat eater.


Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
In point of fact, meat animals graze in fields that are unsuitable to row crops and would otherwise be locked into unproductive sub-ecosystems. Neighbors around me keep goats to keep their property from becoming overgrown with trash trees (many of which are invasives and would otherwise dominate the environment).
Many animals do not graze, and of those that do, extra hay and oats are added. Feedlots require feed, and this feed comes from agriculture, which consumes a lot of resources in terms of land, fertilizer, fuel, herbicides, insecticides; all of this impacts the environment.
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Old 07-21-2013, 12:29 AM
 
Location: Minnesota
5,147 posts, read 6,320,150 times
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I don't go along with the "least resource use" doctrine. But I do think as an animal, we weren't mean to feed on one thing to the exclusion of everything else. In fact, there's a theory that homo sapiens survived to dominate through our flexibility in diet. Because we eat so many things, we aren't totally dependent on one climate. Our bodies are not evolved to handle only one kind of fuel. We are much better off than most animals. Some species really suffer if their environment stops producing what they are specialized for. Anthropoids for millions of years did not eat fish. All around them were animals living off fish, but they did not. Then at some point long ago, homonids learned to catch and eat fish. Since the oceans were virgin territory, they had discovered a HUGE supply of protein. Right now, we've deeply impacted the supply of certain kinds of fish. Unlike the grizzlies, we can just shift gears and focus on the most abundant kind.

That's the frame of mind I would recommend to favor going forward. Learn to like more things. Right now, my favorites are chicken, fish, and vegetarian. Burger King has great offerings in veggie and fish. Arbys does turkey great. And there are also frozen options you can buy frugally and heat at home.
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Old 07-21-2013, 08:32 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
17,758 posts, read 53,902,796 times
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"Many animals do not graze, and of those that do, extra hay and oats are added. Feedlots require feed, and this feed comes from agriculture, which consumes a lot of resources in terms of land, fertilizer, fuel, herbicides, insecticides; all of this impacts the environment."

We could just kill off ALL the animals except for us...
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Old 07-21-2013, 09:36 AM
 
Location: Minnesota
5,147 posts, read 6,320,150 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
"Many animals do not graze, and of those that do, extra hay and oats are added. Feedlots require feed, and this feed comes from agriculture, which consumes a lot of resources in terms of land, fertilizer, fuel, herbicides, insecticides; all of this impacts the environment."

We could just kill off ALL the animals except for us...
Could. Or just live a moderate and balanced life. So much argument is between extremes. Meanwhile, the better solution is in front of us. Beer does no harm. Unless you can't stop drinking and driving. I know that one tall Bud Light is what I can handle, but I really enjoy that one. Quite a treat. Some people seem unable to enjoy and stop. They are runaway trains with whatever controls them. I look at these quadruple burgers at Hardees as an obvious example of stupidity. Why did a single patty stop being "enough"? I know why Hardees wants to do it. They can sell more, charge more. But why are there customers for these things. Insatiable appetites? Maybe those appetites need looking into. When cavemen killed a buffalo, they'd sit and gorge so that they'd have energy till the next one comes along. In today's world, the next "kill" is half a block away. No need for fat stores. You couldn't possibly burn any calories before reaching the next food source.
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Old 07-21-2013, 09:57 AM
 
Location: somewhere flat
1,375 posts, read 1,211,589 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OpenD View Post
Even as a child in the middle of farm country in the Midwest we didn't eat meat every meal. Oatmeal for breakfast, cheese and pickle sandwich for lunch, chicken and dumplings for dinner. So I never developed any sense that meat was a requirement for a meal to be complete. But I do know people who have fallen into the 3-meats-a-day pattern simply because it is so darned easy to do in mainstream America. There are more meat choices than non-meat choices at Mickey D's and Burger King and the rest of the popular places where people go to eat. I think it's less a choice than a rut they fall into.

Mark Bittman, longtime food writer for the New York Times, has developed a new approach to combat this kind of unconscious or "default" meat eating, while reducing total meat intake, and he calls it VB6, or Vegan Before 6, the title of a new book he has recently published.

Mark Bittman Talks 'Vegan Before 6'

His claim is that by eating only vegan foods before 6 pm, then whatever you choose for the evening meal, you'll be healthier, and you'll lose weight and your diet will be healthier for the environment, without stress or strain.

I grew up eating as you did. We almost never had meat for breakfast, and lunch - cheese, tuna, egg salad or PB and J. Dinner mostly had meat.
Something like chicken and dumplings, meat loaf or tuna noodle casseroles. Not meat heavy at all. We were of modest means but never went hungry.

Two things that I think that have changed that is first, the fast food industry. Even people without a lot of money - and especially the poor, eat lots of fast foods.

Also, Southern and south western food has crept into the rest of the country. That's a really meat heavy diet. Loads of ham, barbecued meat, fried pork chops, steak etc.
In my area I never saw restaurants selling "boneless rib sandwiches" or "three meat breakfasts" I've never seen so much meat and so much of it is hawked towards the lower income crowd.

Many people are looking to Asian and Mediterranean foods, The latter diet is linked with longevity and health. There are so many wonderful and easy things to cook.

Off the top of my head - veggie stir fry with tofu, Greek salad and felafel, eggplant casseroles, stuffed squash with rice and lentils, lentil soup with greens, veggie burgers.

There are really so many things to eat, that meat should be appearing less frequently on American plates.
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Old 07-21-2013, 11:42 AM
 
15,446 posts, read 13,428,866 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
"Many animals do not graze, and of those that do, extra hay and oats are added. Feedlots require feed, and this feed comes from agriculture, which consumes a lot of resources in terms of land, fertilizer, fuel, herbicides, insecticides; all of this impacts the environment."

We could just kill off ALL the animals except for us...
I think you are misunderstanding my position; I eat meat almost everyday depending on the meal, I am not against consuming meat at all.
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Old 07-22-2013, 09:24 AM
 
Location: Minnesota
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I love the diets around the Mediterranean. They've really mastered spices and herbs. So much American food is just totally bland. Thank God for the Greeks and Italians who showed us how much better meat can be with spices. And, of course, things like grape leaves and spinach. Indians and Greeks have the best ideas about spinach. Popeye had the right idea, but Greeks have a BETTER idea!
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Old 07-22-2013, 10:26 AM
 
6,623 posts, read 4,568,043 times
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I don't think it's about the number of meals that include meat, but the amount of meat at those meals. No one needs to eat 12 oz of meat at a meal. 3-4 oz is plenty.
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Old 07-22-2013, 02:41 PM
 
Location: Interior AK
4,729 posts, read 8,613,009 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boxus View Post
...just pointing out meat eaters require more resources

I forget the technical name for it (biology class was years ago where I learned this), but for example; a tiger needs to eat two deer a day to live, a deer needs to eat five pounds of grass a day to live; so basically a tiger consumes ten pounds of grass a day to live versus a deer at five pounds of grass, thus the tiger consumes more resources as a meat eater.

Many animals do not graze, and of those that do, extra hay and oats are added. Feedlots require feed, and this feed comes from agriculture, which consumes a lot of resources in terms of land, fertilizer, fuel, herbicides, insecticides; all of this impacts the environment.
What you're describing is the theory of cumulative dietary energy. Yes, the tiger essentially "consumes" not only it's prey animal but also the prey animal's dietary consumption. HOWEVER, this doesn't tell the whole story.

Since we don't generally eat carnivores, let's use a herbivore example instead. A cow consumes 5% of it's body weight in feed for a year before it is slaughtered - this is generally expressed as 16 lbs of feed for every pound of slaughter weight. If we assume this is grass (their natural diet), the average stocking rate for a cow/calf pair or one steer is 1 per acre.

A slaughtered cow (1200 live weight) provides over 500 lbs of choice meat (over 800 if you eat nose-to-tail) which is over 700k human-digestible calories (enough for an entire year @ 2000 calories a day) plus a whole bunch of usable byproducts.

Since humans don't glean much nutrition from grass, that acre provides more human nutrition by putting a cow on it. In a natural grass model, the only way humans get any nutritional benefit is by putting an animal on it. Letting a cow graze a pasture, meadow or forest poses virtually no environmental damage if you don't overstock... after all, that's what animals in the wild do.

However, if you feed a cow grains only (an unnatural diet) thats where things get messed up. An irrigated acre of corn yields approximately 12 million calories. If you feed all that corn to cows, you only end up with 1 million calories after processing. And this is the figure many people like to throw around.

BUT... you need an irrigated, heavily fertilized field sprayed with herbicides and pesticides (and all the environmental damage that goes with it) in order to get that 12 million calorie yield -- that's not a natural or sustainable yield at all. And humans cannot metabolize 100% of those calories either because we're omnivores and don't have the right digestive tracks to break down the cellulose and lignins in grain. Remember that "total calories" (or any nutrient really) absolutely does not mean that amount is bioavailable.

So, from an environmental standpoint and a human calorie consumption standpoint... in many cases, it's better to put an animal on unimproved land than it is to strip off/plow under the natural vegetation to intensively mono-crop it with a cultivated grain. And it's definitely better than mono-cropping it and transporting the grain for consumption of a sequestered animal in a feedlot.

It's arguable whether enough animals can be produced in a grass model to provide the average American meat diet, because NO ONE HAS EVER TRIED IT! Of course, we know from other sustainable projects that consuming less means you don't have to produce as much... so moderating meat consumption couldn't hurt. But, perhaps reassessing and revising the grain/CAFO production model would have more benefit.
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