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In The News: Meaty Matters

meatless_logoThe completely non-controversial concept of “meatless Monday” (in which some omnivores voluntarily start off their workweeks eating a vegetarian diet for 24 hours for health and/or environmental reasons) has some bloviators firmly clutching their pearls.

In case you are new to this campaign (or live outside the United States), “it started in 2003 as a nonprofit public health initiative of The Monday Campaigns, in association with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future in Baltimore, Maryland.”

Apart from the fact that “studies suggest we are more likely to maintain behaviors begun on Monday throughout the week, research compiled by the initiative suggests going meatless conserves water, reduces carbon footprints and lowers intake of saturated fats.”

Remember — the saturated fats in red meat pose more health risks than those in coconuts or cacao.

What completely astounds me about meatless Mondays is some of the fervent opposition.

One blowhard leading those troops is, of course, emotionally stunted, soulless rodeo clown conservative television host Glenn Beck.

“When Baltimore City Public Schools adopted Meatless Mondays last year as a way to cut costs, conservative commentator Glenn Beck deemed it an indoctrination of children to vegetarianism and veganism and decried it as an over-extension of governmental control.”

Oh, the outrage!  It is so manufactured for ratings palpable!  Yes, Mr. Beck, how dare we introduce children to meals composed solely of fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts, and seeds?

By the way, did I miss the passage in the United States Constitution that grants every citizen the right to consume copious amounts of meat from cows that are fed an unnatural diet of corn, antibiotics, and growth hormones, and spend most of their lives standing in their own fecal matter?

Beck is then quoted as stating that if he is ever thrown in jail, his last meal will be “a giant steak.”  Someone get me a vision board… stat!

Then, of course, there’s the American Meat Institute.  Their objection to meatless Mondays?  Per president and CEO Patrick J. Boyle, it “deprives children and their parents of the ability to determine what is appropriate for their diets and their own personal circumstances.”

Mr. Boyle should consider a career in stand-up comedy!

Thank you to @FoodieRD on Twitter for posting link to CNN article.

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11 Comments

  1. Haley said on April 28th, 2010

    i’m baffled by the controversy….

    share the days please, give us one out of five. that’s all!

  2. Marianne said on April 28th, 2010

    1) There’s a Meat Institute?! That in and of itself is just…bizarre.

    2) By having a school lunch program, aren’t the parents already giving over the power of deciding what is right and appropriate for their children’s lunch? The only way to exercise that control is to pack their own lunches in the first place.

  3. Andy Bellatti said on April 28th, 2010

    Your second point is beautifully expressed, Marianne. Alas, Glenn Beck is masterful at illogical logic…. so, I am sure in his mind, meatless Mondays strip parents of the power to h ave their children eat chicken nuggets and hot dogs.

  4. Daniel said on April 28th, 2010

    This made me smile this morning; I really enjoy it when people assume that meat is such a necessity in life and that the world will stop revolving if we begin to have even one meal now and then that doesn’t have some kind of animal in it. Great post! :D

  5. susan said on April 28th, 2010

    What ridiculousness. Michigan just had a giant fuss over the governor suggesting a meatless day. It’s enough to make me want to have several meatless days every week.

    Yes, Marianne, but many children at my kids’ schools have free breakfast and lunch. I feel rather sad to see them eating pop tarts and flourescent cheese in a cup, when they could be eating real food.

  6. Prav said on June 3rd, 2010

    The anti-meat groups sentiment here is crazy. Why don’t we have vegetable-less days. I don’t understand why all this fuss over veggies when we can easily thrive on whole grains, full fat dairy, meats including organ meats, seafoods and nuts.

  7. Andy Bellatti said on June 4th, 2010

    Prav,

    Simple — vegetables provide a plethora of phytonutrients and antioxidants that are unavailable in other foods. The research on the benefits of high vegetable consumption makes it absolutely clear that they are essential to a healthy diet. In fact, high vegetable intakes can balance out intake of less healthy foods.

  8. Prav said on June 4th, 2010

    Andy,
    I understand the benefits of vegetables and I eat them everyday. The list I wrote is not exhaustive but all I wanted to say is one can live a healthy life without consuming anything labeled a ‘vegetable’. You could add eggs and fruits to my list as well. All one’s carbohydrate, fat, protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber needs can easily be met without vegetables. Let each person eat as they please. If you don’t like meat, don’t eat it. If you can’t stand veggies, no worries. I like them both.

  9. Andy Bellatti said on June 4th, 2010

    The phytonutrients and antioxidants in vegetables are not in other foods, which is why they are so crucial.

    Is it possible to have a healhy life without vegetables? I suppose. But, the addition of vegetables to any diet makes it healthiER.

    I will always advocate vegetable consumption.

    Remember, you can get the nutrients in red meat from other sources. However, the phytonutrients and antioxidants in vegetables are often not found in other foods.

  10. Prav said on June 4th, 2010

    Red meats have carnitine in good amounts which is quite lacking in other food groups. Meat, poultry and fish have carnosine which is lacking elsewhere. There isn’t much research on animal/dairy/poultry/fish specific nutrients as there is for vegetable/fruits/grains specific ones.

    It is only in now that we are appreciating the benefits of peculiar pyto-nutrients and antioxidants in vegetables. However, even though they are beneficial they are not necessary. Antioxidants are available in other food groups as well. Fruits also have their share of pyhtonutrients. Also not all phytonutrients may be beneficial. Some maybe neutral and still others may be harmful. Nutrition science is still in its infancy and there is still a lot more to be learned.

  11. Andy Bellatti said on June 4th, 2010

    Carnosine is irrelevant — the human body produces it. It is not an essential amino acid. Carnitine is only essential in extreme circumstances.

    Yes, antioxidants are available from other foods (as I stated previously). However, vegetables have *unique* phytonutrients (as do nuts, seeds, fruits, etc.)

    Nutrition science is indeed in its infancy, but that does not mean vegetables should be thought of as “nice, but not necessary” to human health.

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