The Sexiest Vegetarian Woman Over 50

September 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Diet And Nutrition, Meat

petaPETA - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals – has a knack for keeping their name in the news.

Sometimes controversial, sometimes provocative, sometimes whimsical, and sometimes very serious, they continue to hammer home their message: cruelty to animals in all its forms is inhumane.

Now as I pointed out in the first article of this series, The Meat of the Issue, I am not a vegetarian. I don’t eat red meat, I do eat poultry and fish. Not a lot, sometimes once or twice a week, sometimes I don’t eat it for weeks, but I can’t say I eat vegetarian.

I do believe, as I’ve pointed out in this entire series, that a diet of too much meat is not healthy. And I’ve backed it up with with various studies to make my point, including the landmark China Study.

I like PETA’S message, and I like that they’re ready to occasionally rumble and take off the kid gloves in getting the point across.

And so, over the next three days, I’ll highlight some PETA hijinks.


Mimi Kirk

Today, let me tell you about the woman they recently voted the sexiest vegetarian woman over 50.

And this woman, Mimi Kirk of the San Diego area, isn’t just 50 years old, she’s 20 years past the half century mark – she’s 70!

Mimi Kirk has been a vegetarian for 40 years and won the title after a nationwide vote conducted by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Kirk was the oldest of the 10 female finalists — “most could be my daughters” she said — and is thrilled.

“I’m very happy,” Kirk said in August when she found out. “I’m trying to balance this crown on my head.”

Actually, the only prize associated with the win is an organic gift basket filled with chocolate, cider, nuts and coffee. The title is what it’s all about.

Kirk entered the contest a couple of months ago on a whim after seeing an ad on Facebook. She had to fill out a questionnaire and send in lots of photographs. A while back, Kirk was notified that she was a finalist.

Mimi Kirk

Mimi Kirk

Since then, she’s made hundreds of new Facebook friends with whom she’s sharing her secret of sexiness.

“I quit eating meat because I didn’t want to kill animals,” Kirk said. Her food choices, she believes, have helped her stay young-looking.

“I think I dress on the younger side,” she said. “I shop at places like American Eagle, and my boyfriend, who is 19 years younger than me, is always telling me those are clothes for 15-year-olds.”

Kirk said she feels young and dresses accordingly. “I don’t try to dress young, but I do try to dress current.”

After PETA chose the finalists, nearly 5,000 people cast votes on PETA’s Web site, with Kirk winning by a narrow margin in the female over-50 category, said Lindsay Rajt, PETA spokeswoman.

One of PETA's provocative ads

One of PETA's provocative ads

Rajt said PETA held the contest to show that “vegetarianism is a recipe for healthy living.”

Kirk said she’s always been active. She has four children whom she raised alone after being widowed at age 29.

Past jobs have included working as a stand-in for Mary Tyler Moore and designing clothes for Valerie Harper on the TV show “Rhoda.”

Just last year, Kirk sold a business she began a decade ago.

“I invented a board game for women called Cowgirls Ride the Trail of Truth, kind of a gal’s-night-out game. Margaritas with the gals and talking about your life and answering questions about everything personal.”

She said her grandkids are having a great time with all the sexy vegetarian stuff.

“They posted on their Facebook messages about their hot grandma,” Kirk said. “Now their Facebook friends are asking me to be friends.”

The Swine Flu: Where Does It Come From?

September 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Diet And Nutrition, Meat

The last two articles of this two-week old series on meat discussed the rampant use of drugs with livestock, both antibiotics and steroids.

It is not a good thing for your health when you eat meat laden with these drugs. Nor will it help you in your quest to live a Low Density Lifestyle.

Another detrimental thing about eating meat to consider is the conditions livestock live in on feeding lots, as these conditions can affect both personal and public health.

One case in point is the swine flu. Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last year, or been out in space exploring the peripheral ends of the universe, you’ve been inundated with news and information about the swine flu.

Yet things may not be as they seem, or at least as reported by the media.

In the above video interview, noted journalist, best-selling author, and food industry critic Michael Pollan discusses the origins of the swine flu, saying that the genesis of it is from industrial pork operations, where pigs live in tight and unsanitary confined quarters, which creates a perfect environment for the swine flu to incubate.


Michael Pollan

As Pollan points out in the above interview, “we’ve created these petri dishes for these new diseases.”

Unfortunately, as Michael Pollan states, as pressure has built on American agricultural concerns to be more regulated, these companies have moved major parts of their operations to Mexico in order to get past regulations.

Pig farms are “pretty hellish places,” Pollan states, and because the pigs are kept too close together their tails have to be snipped off in order that pigs don’t scratch and bite off other pig’s tails.

Pollan also talks about sugar and high fructose corn syrup, and how companies are saying their foods are healthy if it contains sugar and not corn syrup.

Sugar and high fructose corn syrup is something I discussed on the website a few months ago. You can also read about how companies are promoting sugar as the natural choice with the article “And so now guess who is being hyped as the natural choice.”

The Meat You Eat: Steroid Use in Livestock

September 25, 2009 by  
Filed under Diet And Nutrition, Meat

meat-livestockIn yesterday’s article, I discussed the rampant use of antibiotics with livestock – primarily used as a tool to help them grow larger and bigger – and how 70% of all antibiotics used in the U.S. is for livestock use.

But that’s only half the story of the drugging of livestock: antibiotics aren’t the only drugs given to livestock to help them grow faster.

Each year, U.S. farmers raise some 36 million beef cattle. 99% of all beef cattle entering feedlots in the United States are given steroidal hormone implants to promote faster growth.

A large percentage of poultry and pigs are also fed these drugs.

Many cattle are fed the same muscle-building androgens—usually testosterone surrogates—that some athletes consume. Other animals receive estrogens, the primary female sex hormones, or progestins, semiandrogenic agents that shut down a female’s estrus cycle. Progestins fuel meat-building by freeing up resources that would have gone into the reproductive cycle.

Flunix - a steroidal hormone fed to livestock

Flunix - a steroidal hormone fed to livestock

While federal law prohibits people from self-medicating with most steroids, administering these drugs to U.S. cattle is allowed.

There are six anabolic steroids given, in various combinations, to nearly all animals entering conventional beef feedlots in the U.S. and Canada:

* Three natural steroids (estradiol, testosterone, and progesterone), and
* Three synthetic hormones (the estrogen compound zeranol, the androgen trenbolone acetate, and progestin melengestrol acetate).

So this means that when you eat meat, chicken or pork, and drink milk, you are consuming unsafe drugs that weren’t prescribed to you.

Consuming extra hormones disturbs the natural hormonal balance in the body, and eating animal products laced with hormones can have serious consequences for both children and adults.

Kids’ bodies are small and still developing, so exposure to even tiny amounts of the hormones in animal products on a regular basis can have a large impact. According to a report on hormones in meat and milk that appeared in The Los Angeles Times, “The amount of estradiol in two hamburgers eaten in one day by an 8-year-old boy could increase his total hormone levels by as much as 10 percent, based on conservative assumptions, because young children have very low natural hormone levels.”

no-steroids1The Cancer Prevention Coalition warns parents that even small amounts of animal products contain enough hormonal residues to harm children, saying, “No dietary levels of hormones are safe, and a dime-sized piece of meat contains billions of hormone molecules.”

When kids eat the flesh of cows who were treated with hormones, the spike in hormone levels can disrupt the development of their brain and sex organs. According to a report by the European Union on the effects of hormone-laced animal products, “Certain organs are more susceptible to the effects of estrogens, androgens, and anti-androgens [all hormones used in cows raised for food] during development than during adulthood. These organs include the brain, and the … primary and secondary sex organs.”

The negative consequences of feeding children meat were clearly demonstrated in Puerto Rico in the early 1980s, when thousands of children experienced premature sexual development and painful ovarian cysts; the culprit was meat from cattle who had been treated with growth-promoting sex hormones.

Rimadyl - another steroid fed to livestock

Rimadyl - another steroid fed to livestock

The hormones in meat-based diets are also blamed for the early sexual development of young girls in the Western world—nearly half of all African-American girls and 15 percent of their white peers now enter puberty at the age of 8.

Raising the amount of estrogen and other hormones in our bodies through the consumption of meat and milk can cause other disorders, including gynecomastia, or enlarged male breasts. In one school in Italy, nearly one in three boys aged 3 to 5 and more than half of boys aged 6 to 10 were found to have enlarged breasts, and the hormones in meat were suspected to have caused the disorder.

And that’s just the known effects it has on children. For adults, it can have all kinds of repercussions, from hormonal imbalances, to auto-immune problems, cancer, liver and kidney failure, and all kinds of other things.

This is the type of meat you want to eat - antibiotic and hormone free

This is the type of meat you want to eat - antibiotic and hormone free

Questions and controversy over the impacts of these added hormones on human development and health have lingered for four decades. In 1988 the European Union banned the use of all hormone growth promoters in meat because of these issues.

Yet, the U.S. FDA refuses to adequately regulate their use to promote growth in cows, even though these very same drugs in the U.S. are prohibited for over-the-counter use by humans.

And to take it one step further, all concern about the use of steroids in animals has focused on whether trace residues of these hormones in the meat have human-health consequences.

But there’s another way that these powerful agents can find their way into people and other animals. A substantial portion of the hormones literally passes through the cattle into their feces and ends up in the environment, where it can get into other food and drinking water.


The Drugging of Livestock

September 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Diet And Nutrition, Meat

cow-publicenergyThere are many reasons to consider cutting down or cutting out eating meat. Over the course of this series I’ve talked about the health and environmental ramifications of a meat-based diet.

And of course, cutting down or cutting out meat consumption plays a key role in living a Low Density Lifestyle.

But one of the detrimental health ramifications that I haven’t mentioned to this point is the fact that livestock – chickens, pigs, and cattle – are fed antibiotics on a routine basis. They are fed the drugs not to stop illness but to encourage rapid growth, by promoting weight gain or more efficient feed consumption.antibiotics-in-meat

This is a public health nightmare, because the widespread use of antibiotics in livestock can lead to the spread of dangerous bacteria in humans, because it causes the development of bacteria that are immune to many treatments.

70 percent of antibiotics used in the United States is given to healthy chickens, pigs and cattle annually – a total of twenty-five million pounds of antibiotics per year fed to these animals. This is eight times more than the amount used as human medicine.

The FDA reports that 2 million Americans contract bacterial infections during hospital stays annually, and “70 percent of the infections are resistant to at least one antibiotic.”
This is the price that Americans pay for the widespread use of antibiotics in livestock.

antibiotics-notext-ucs-001With that in mind, in July the Obama administration announced that it would seek to ban many routine uses of antibiotics in farm animals in hopes of reducing the spread of dangerous bacteria in humans.

In written testimony to the House Rules Committee, Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, principal deputy commissioner at the FDA of food and drugs, said feeding antibiotics to healthy chickens, pigs and cattle should cease. And Dr. Sharfstein said farmers should no longer be able to use antibiotics in animals without the supervision of a veterinarian.

In July, Congressional hearings were held to discuss a measure proposed by Representative Louise M. Slaughter, Democrat of New York and chairwoman of the Rules Committee. It would ban seven classes of antibiotics important to human health from being used in animals, and would restrict other antibiotics to therapeutic and some preventive uses.antibiotics

These drugs are penicillins, tetracyclines, macrolides, lincosamides, streptogramins, aminoglycosides, and sulfonamides, along with any other drug used to treat bacterial illness in people.

The legislation is supported by the Union of Concerned Scientists, Pew Environment Group, and the American Medical Association, among other groups, but opposed by farm organizations like the National Pork Producers Council. The farm lobby’s opposition makes its passage unlikely, but advocates are hoping to include the measure in the legislation to revamp the health care system.

antimicrobialOf course, we know how famously well legislation to revamp the health care system is faring. It’s been watered down many times by interest groups – primarily the insurance and drug companies – who have much to lose if the status quo is upended.

The use of antibiotics for “purposes other than for the advancement of animal or human health should not be considered judicious use,” Dr. Sharfstein said in his written testimony. “Eliminating these uses will not compromise the safety of food.”

Much of Dr. Sharfstein’s testimony summarized information that has been widely accepted for years by medical groups.

Robert Martin, a senior officer at the Pew Environment Group, which has paid for an advertising campaign to support the measure, said the prospects for the measure’s passage were improving.

Fish, the Environment and Health

September 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Diet And Nutrition, Meat

In yesterday’s article, I discussed the environmental impact of eating meat, based on a report issued in 2006 by the U.N.

When you consider what the report says, it may make you decide that you prefer to focus on fish as your source of animal protein.

But there are ramifications for this also: both for the environment and for your health.

In fact, there are so many ramifications to eating fish that I will devote an entire series to this subject at another time.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t eat fish, or any animal food at all. That’s your personal choice, but it’s best if you make your choice an informed and educated one.

If you’re not willing to consider becoming a vegetarian, you want to at least cut down on the amount of animal food you do eat, or at least do what Paul McCartney is advocating, of going meat-free on Mondays, or whichever day you want to designate as a meat-free day.

If you watch the above video, which is a trailer to a film called The End of the Line, you will understand what one of the environmental reasons is for considering your fish intake.

This documentary, produced in England, came out in June of this year. You can learn more about the organization that is behind the film by going to their website,

A 2008 United Nations reports that 80 percent of the world’s ocean fishing areas are now either fully fished (i.e. incapable of providing more) or overexploited.


This is also what The End of the Line is stating. But besides the overfishing and possible catastrophic results from it that The End of the Line discusses, there are also environmental and health issues.

There are many fish in the ocean that contain dangerous levels of mercury, PCB’s and pesticides, and the trend towards fish farms isn’t necessarily a panacea, as there are troubling environmental and health issues surrounding fish raised that way – from the corn feed, chemical feed and hormones that some farmed fish are given, to the pollutants that are in the waters at these factory fish farms.

And then there are questions as to whether the health claims of fish are overhyped, as a study that came out in March 2009 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal stated.

So what to do about eating fish? You can make your decision by choosing sources that are fished or farmed responsibly, and low in environmental contaminants.


According to the Environmental Defense Fund, you want to choose either wild fish from healthy, well-managed populations, or caught using fishing gear that does little harm to sea life and marine habitats; or choose farmed fish raised in systems that control pollution, the spread of disease, chemical use and escaped fish.

Most fish that the Environmental Defense Fund considers safe to eat are also low in environmental contaminants and can be safely eaten at least once per week.

The list of fish that make this list include: Arctic char, farmed oysters, sablefish (aka black cod), wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, farmed trout and West Coast albacore tuna, anchovies, catfish, soft shell clams, Pacific cod, Pacific halibut, farmed striped bass, tilapia, farmed white sturgeon, and squid.

Meat and the Environment

September 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Diet And Nutrition, Meat

Bill Maher

Bill Maher

“But when it comes to bad for the environment, nothing — literally — compares with eating meat. The business of raising animals for food causes about 40 percent more global warming than all cars, trucks, and planes combined. If you care about the planet, it’s actually better to eat a salad in a Hummer than a cheeseburger in a Prius.” – Bill Maher

In the last article, I discussed Paul McCartney’s campaign for Meat Free Mondays.

In the article, I said how Sir Paul wasn’t emphasizing not eating meat one day a week for health reasons, but for the negative impact that eating meat has on the environment.

In 2006, the United Nations reported that livestock accounts for 18 percent of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. Some of meat’s contribution to climate change is intuitive. It’s more energy efficient to grow grain and feed it to people than it is to grow grain and turn it into feed that we give to calves until they become adults that we then slaughter to feed to people.

Some of the contribution is gross. “Manure lagoons,” for instance, is the oddly evocative name for the acres of animal excrement that sit in the sun steaming nitrous oxide into the atmosphere.bart-simpson

And some of it would make Bart Simpson chuckle. Cow gas – interestingly, it’s mainly burps, not farts – is a real player.

Here is what the U.N. had to say. This is the news release from the U.N.’s news release service announcing the report, dated Nov. 29, 2006:

un-logo-copyCattle-rearing generates more global warming greenhouse gases, as measured in CO2 equivalent, than transportation, and smarter production methods, including improved animal diets to reduce enteric fermentation and consequent methane emissions, are urgently needed, according to a new United Nations report released today.

“Livestock are one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems,” senior UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) official Henning Steinfeld said. “Urgent action is required to remedy the situation.”

Cattle-rearing is also a major source of land and water degradation, according to the FAO report, Livestock’s Long Shadow–Environmental Issues and Options, of which Mr. Steinfeld is the senior author.

“The environmental costs per unit of livestock production must be cut by one half, just to avoid the level of damage worsening beyond its present level,” it warns.

When emissions from land use and land use change are included, the livestock sector accounts for 9 per cent of CO2 deriving from human-related activities, but produces a much larger share of even more harmful greenhouse gases. It generates 65 per cent of human-related nitrous oxide, which has 296 times the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CO2. Most of this comes from manure.cows1

And it accounts for respectively 37 per cent of all human-induced methane (23 times as warming as CO2), which is largely produced by the digestive system of ruminants, and 64 per cent of ammonia, which contributes significantly to acid rain.

With increased prosperity, people are consuming more meat and dairy products every year, the report notes. Global meat production is projected to more than double from 229 million tons in 1999/2001 to 465 million tons in 2050, while milk output is set to climb from 580 to 1043 million tons.

The global livestock sector is growing faster than any other agricultural sub-sector. It provides livelihoods to about 1.3 billion people and contributes about 40 per cent to global agricultural output. For many poor farmers in developing countries livestock are also a source of renewable energy for draft and an essential source of organic fertilizer for their crops.

Livestock now use 30 per cent of the earth’s entire land surface, mostly permanent pasture but also including 33 per cent of the global arable land used to producing feed for livestock, the report notes. As forests are cleared to create new pastures, it is a major driver of deforestation, especially in Latin America where, for example, some 70 per cent of former forests in the Amazon have been turned over to grazing.

At the same time herds cause wide-scale land degradation, with about 20 per cent of pastures considered degraded through overgrazing, compaction and erosion. This figure is even higher in the drylands where inappropriate policies and inadequate livestock management contribute to advancing desertification.

The livestock business is among the most damaging sectors to the earth’s increasingly scarce water resources, contributing among other things to water pollution from animal wastes, antibiotics and hormones, chemicals from tanneries, fertilizers and the pesticides used to spray feed crops.

Beyond improving animal diets, proposed remedies to the multiple problems include soil conservation methods together with controlled livestock exclusion from sensitive areas; setting up biogas plant initiatives to recycle manure; improving efficiency of irrigation systems; and introducing full-cost pricing for water together with taxes to discourage large-scale livestock concentration close to cities.

Sir Paul McCartney Says: “Go Meat Free on Mondays”

September 18, 2009 by  
Filed under Diet And Nutrition, Health And Wellness, Meat

Sir Paul McCartney has never made a secret of the fact that he is a vegetarian.  He switched his diet a long time ago, both for the health benefits, and for the benefits to the environment and the planet.

Regarding animal foods and the environment, according to the United Nations’ data, meat production and consumption are responsible for 18 % of global greenhouse gas emissions–more than cars.

The chair of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Dr Rajendra Pachauri, who is considered the world’s leading authority on global warming, said that people should have one meat-free day a week if they want to make a personal and effective sacrifice that would help tackle climate change.

In May, the Belgian city of Ghent took Dr. Pachauri up on his statement and announced that the entire city would go meatless one day a week in order to help the environment. In announcing this, city officials said that, “if everyone in Flanders does not eat meat one day a week, we will save as much CO2 in a year as taking half a million cars off the road.”

And so, Sir Paul decided to take a stand and get involved in this. In June, Sir Paul, with the help of others, began his MFM campaign – Meat Free Mondays.


By asking households to cut out meat on Mondays, the goal is to lower meat consumption in order to tackle climate change and slow global warming.

“I think many of us feel helpless in the face of environmental challenges, and it can be hard to know how to sort through the advice about what we can do to make a meaningful contribution to a cleaner, more sustainable, healthier world,” said McCartney. “Having one designated meat free day a week is actually a meaningful change that everyone can make, that goes to the heart of several important political, environmental and ethical issues all at once.”

Reducing meat consumption won’t just slow climate change, he said, but would help to fight global hunger and
improve the welfare of animals.

If you watch the above video, you can learn more about Sir Paul McCartney’s campaign and hear him discuss it.

And here is Sir Paul singing his “Meat Free Monday” song:

And before Sir Paul was Sir Paul, he used to sing songs with a band. This past July he sang one of those band’s
songs on top of the marquee at the Ed Sullivan Theater,
as part of his appearance on the David Letterman show:

And back in his day, when Paul McCartney was young and sang with his band, one day the band got up on
a roof and gave a rooftop concert. Here’s one of the songs from that concert:

You can learn more about the Meat Free Monday campaign by visiting their website:

What the China Study Says About Eating Meat

September 17, 2009 by  
Filed under Diet And Nutrition, Health And Wellness, Meat

thechinastudyI told you in yesterday’s article about several studies that showed the downside of eating meat, including a recent one concluded in the U.S. that studied 500,000 people.

Today I will tell you about the landmark study that sealed the deal for once and for all about the dangers of a diet top-heavy in animal foods.

This study was reported in the best-selling book, The China Study.

The China Study, published in 2005, was written by T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., and his son, Thomas M. Campbell II, and is the definitive report about the detrimental effects of eating meat.

Dr. T. Colin Campbell is a professor of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University and one of the directors of the China Project, which was the study that “The China Study” reported on.

Dr. T. Colin Campbell

Dr. T. Colin Campbell

The China Project is a survey of death rates for twelve different kinds of cancer for more than 2,400 counties and 880 million (96%) of China’s citizens, conducted jointly by Cornell University, Oxford University, and the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine over the course of twenty years.

The book examines the relationship between the consumption of animal foods and illnesses such as cancers of the breast, prostate, and large bowel, diabetes, coronary heart disease, obesity, autoimmune disease, osteoporosis, degenerative brain disease, and macular degeneration.

The authors conclude that diets high in protein, particularly animal protein (including casein in cow’s milk), are strongly linked to diseases such as heart disease, cancer and Type 2 diabetes.

The authors recommend that people eat a whole food, plant-based diet and avoid consuming beef, poultry and milk as a means to minimize and/or reverse the development of chronic disease.

Your mother was right - eat your broccoli!

Your mother was right - eat your broccoli!

In the book, Dr. Campbell stated that “several studies have now shown, in both experimental animals and in humans, that consuming animal-based protein increases blood cholesterol levels. Saturated fat and dietary cholesterol also raise blood cholesterol, although these nutrients are not as effective at doing this as is animal protein. In contrast, plant-based foods contain no cholesterol and, in various other ways, help to decrease the amount of cholesterol made by the body.”

He also stated that “these disease associations with blood cholesterol were remarkable, because blood cholesterol and animal-based food consumption both were so low by American standards. In rural China, animal protein intake (for the same individual) averages only 7.1 grams per day whereas Americans average 70 grams per day.”

He concludes by stating that “the findings from the China Study indicate that the lower the percentage of animal-based foods that are consumed, the greater the health benefits—even when that percentage declines from 10% to 0% of calories. So it’s not unreasonable to assume that the optimum percentage of animal-based products is zero, at least for anyone with a predisposition for a degenerative disease.”

If "The China Study" findings are implemented, these cows might be out of a job

If "The China Study" findings are implemented, these cows might be out of a job

The authors state that autoimmune diseases are more prevalent among people who consume a diet high in animal protein, particularly cow’s milk.

They also state that the consumption of animal protein, especially cow’s milk, result in higher concentrations of Calcium in the blood, which inhibits the process by which the body activates Vitamin D in the kidneys to a form that helps repress the development of autoimmune diseases.

Dr. Campbell then goes on to list various diseases that are linked to a diet high in animal protein. These include:

fail-owned-wendys-failAutoimmune Diseases

Brain Diseases, including cognitive impairment, demential and Alzheimer’s.

Breast Cancer

Colorectal Cancer


Eye Diseases

Heart Disease

Kidney Stones

Metabolism and Incidence of Obesity


In concluding the book, Dr. Campbell stated that one of the biggest impediments to wholesale dietary changes in the U.S. “are powerful, influential, and enormously wealthy industries that stand to lose a vast amount of money if Americans start shifting to a plant-based diet.”

And so, there you have it. The most definitive study ever done on the profound detrimental effects of eating a diet that emphasizes animal food.

Why Red Meat isn’t Good For You

September 16, 2009 by  
Filed under Diet And Nutrition, Health And Wellness, Meat

meat-bigtaster-gp-bigIn the last 50 years in the U.S., red meat consumption has more than doubled. Where at one time, eating red was a luxury for most Americans, it is now the staple part of their diet.

I talked in yesterday’s introductory article to this series on meat eating that a diet that includes a high consumption of meat is not one that will allow you to be healthy or help you live a Low Density Lifestyle.

One of the largest studies ever conducted in the U.S. on the disastrous health effects of a diet high in red meat was published in the spring of 2009.

The study, appearing in the medical journal Annals of Internal Medicine, studied over 500,000 Americans over a decade long period.annals_of_internal_medicine-cover1

The study found that men and women who consumed the most red and processed meat were likely to die sooner, especially from one of the two leading causes of death, heart disease and cancer, than people who consumed much smaller amounts of these foods.

The study was directed by the government agency, The National Cancer Institute, and involved 322,263 men and 223,390 women ages 50 to 71.

During the decade, 47,976 men and 23,276 women died, and the researchers kept track of the timing and reasons for each death. Red meat consumption ranged from a low of less than an ounce a day, on average, to a high of four ounces a day, and processed meat consumption ranged from at most once a week to an average of one and a half ounces a day.

The increase in mortality risk tied to the higher levels of meat consumption was described as “modest,” ranging from about 20 percent to nearly 40 percent. But the number of excess deaths that could be attributed to high meat consumption is quite large given the size of the American population.

Extrapolated to all Americans in the age group studied, the new findings suggest that over the course of a decade, the deaths of one million men and perhaps half a million women could be prevented just by eating less red and processed meats, according to estimates prepared by Dr. Barry Popkin, who wrote an editorial accompanying the report.

meat-faceTo prevent premature deaths related to red and processed meats, Dr. Popkin suggested in an interview that people should eat a hamburger only once or twice a week instead of every day, a small steak once a week instead of every other day, and a hot dog every month and a half instead of once a week.

In place of red meat, nonvegetarians might consider poultry and fish. In the study, the largest consumers of “white” meat from poultry and fish had a slight survival advantage. Likewise, those who ate the most fruits and vegetables also tended to live longer.

The results mirror those of several other studies in recent years that have linked a high-meat diet to life-threatening health problems. The earliest studies highlighted the connection between the saturated fats in red meats to higher blood levels of artery-damaging cholesterol and subsequent heart disease, which prompted many people to eat leaner meats and more skinless poultry and fish. Along with other dietary changes, like consuming less dairy fat, this resulted in a nationwide drop in average serum cholesterol levels and contributed to a reduction in coronary death rates.hamburger

Elevated blood pressure, another coronary risk factor, has also been shown to be associated with eating more red and processed meat, the researchers reported.

Poultry and fish contain less saturated fat than red meat, and fish contains omega-3 fatty acids that have been linked in several large studies to heart benefits. For example, men who consume two servings of fatty fish a week were found to have a 50 percent lower risk of cardiac deaths, and in another study of 84,688 women, those who ate fish and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids at least once a week cut their coronary risk by more than 20 percent.

Choosing protein from sources other than meat has also been linked to lower rates of cancer. When meat is cooked, especially grilled or broiled at high temperatures, carcinogens can form on the surface of the meat. And processed meats like sausages, salami and bologna usually contain nitrosamines, although there are products now available that are free of these carcinogens.

kobayashi1Also, a diet high in red meat was linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer in a study of 35,534 men; the study also found that those who consumed at least three servings of fish a week had half the risk of advanced prostate cancer compared with men who rarely ate fish.

Another study, which randomly assigned more than 19,500 women to a low-fat diet, found after eight years a 40 percent reduced risk of ovarian cancer among them, when compared with 29,000 women who ate their regular diets.

The Meat of the Issue

September 15, 2009 by  
Filed under Diet And Nutrition, Health And Wellness, Meat

meatAn important core element of living a Low Density Lifestyle is diet and nutrition.

The more of a whole foods diet you eat – with an emphasis on whole grains, legumes, fresh vegetables and fruit – the healthier and happier you will be.

And you’ll be well on your way to living a Low Density Lifestyle. That’s because the foods listed above are lighter, less dense, easier to digest and eliminate, allow for a better energy circulation, and don’t cause inflammation to occur in the body.

You’ll notice that one of the food groups I didn’t mention above is meat. And when I say meat, I mean meat in all its forms – beef, pork, poultry and fish.

Now the reason I didn’t include the category of meat in my food listings above is not because I believe that to live a Low Density Lifestyle you have to be vegetarian or vegan. You can be a vegetarian/vegan and live a Low Density Lifestyle very easily.

Yet on the same hand, eating meat and living a Low Density Lifestyle also are doable. The key is that meat consumption has to be in smaller proportion to the rest of the food you eat.raw-meat-1

Americans in particular eat way too much animal food. For most Americans, it is the staple food of their diet.

Eating this way is the quickest way to damaging your health and getting a one-way ticket to a High Density Lifestyle.

A high-meat based diet will lead to heart disease, cancer, colon problems, arthritis, and countless other chronic and degenerative ailments. There are no shortage of studies to reinforce this.

So what I’ll be doing over the next few weeks in this series is presenting the case against eating lots of meat, along with telling you many other things about the world of meat and non-meat eating.

Stick around because you’ll learn a thing or two.  It’ll help you on your quest to live a Low Density Lifestyle.

And for full disclosure: I am not a vegetarian. I don’t eat much animal food, and I don’t eat beef or pork. I eat some poultry and some fish, but not a lot. I can go a week or a few weeks without eating any animal foods, then on other weeks I may eat animal foods once or twice in the week.

And the poultry I eat is not given antibiotics, steroids, or growth hormones; and the fish I eat is not farm-raised.

I’ll talk about this during this series.

I also don’t eat dairy food, but that’s best left for another series.

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