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View Diary: Beef: Unsafe at any price, even at Whole Foods (107 comments)

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  •  There remains (0+ / 0-)

    the argument that traditionally, cattle were grazed on land that was unsuitable for grain agriculture.  Of course, that's a simplistic assumption, and not really the way that our system does it at all.  If you lack large-scale water engineering, however, there are a lot of areas that would be suitable for sustainable grazing (not the overgrazing which has become far more common)and not for intensive agriculture.  And in an ideal world, sustainable agriculture would include crop-to-grazing rotation for natural fertilization.  It REQUIRES it, practically speaking, so you might as well make use of the animals.  Although dairy products are a more sustainable use of the capital than meat-eating, still, any dairy farmer is going to point out that you don't need or want a 1-1 sex ratio in livestock, so you have to do something with your excess males.

    There is also the FACT that the human body evolved primarily eating a much higher percentage of animal protein than anyone outside of America gets today; OTOH, a much greater proportion of that animal protein was probably fish than is typical in the average American diet.  But the overall problem is just that there are far too many humans; there is soon going to be no way to feed them all, period.  Mandatory vegetarianism could prolong the agony and allow a larger population, say one more generation, to accrue in poorer health until the population densities lead to an epidemic or four. Shrug ... there is no NICE way to get over the last century of excess, so stop dreaming.

    Vegetarianism is a religious/spiritual fashion that came into existence for religious/spiritual reasons.  Health justifications are mainly secondary and often bogus, although the mere fact of attending to one's diet consciously and making deliberate decisions based on nutrition makes most vegetarians far healthier eaters than the average member of the herd.

    •  Crop Rotation, etc. (0+ / 0-)

      I guess one question I'd have regarding the rotation between crops and grazing--how many of the crops that are grown are for animal feed versus "human feed"?  Less land would be needed for crops for a vegetarian diet (since less animal feed would be needed), thus making it more sustainable.

      There's some debate out there about how much protein people really need.  Of course, it'll vary based on needs--a bodybuilder will need a lot more than your typical sedentary office worker, but generally around 10% of the calories from protein (especially if it's from a variety of sources) is kind of the median.  Of course, a lot of foods that one doesn't normally think of as protein has more than 10% of calories from protein, like wheat and most vegetables.  Fortunately for us, the human body is capable of surviving on a variety of diets, so that those of us who choose to be a vegetarian for ethical and/or environmental reasons very easily have that option.

      Yep--that's true that vegetarians tend to pay more attention to what they eat, and that is likely a big factor in vegetarians generally eating healthily.

      Bears hibernate for months. Congress hibernates for years. Is it "spring" yet?

      by westcornersville on Wed Aug 13, 2008 at 11:09:06 AM PDT

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      •  Well, (0+ / 0-)

        growing crops for the animals is mostly counterproductive.  Cows are SUPPOSED to eat grass, not grain.  Supplements won't hurt them, and they like it, but it shouldn't be what they normally eat, and feeding it to them to get "well-marbled meat" is another way of saying, feeding them until they're obese and then we eat them and you are what you eat.  Sticking them in a tiny stall where they can't turn around and stand in their own crap ... only in a "modern" system could that be possible ... anybody who'd tried it before antibiotics would have had nothing but dead cows on their hands.

        A complication in the calculation as to how much protein a "human" needs is that there are some real differences between human metabolic systems.  Those of us with impaired carbohydrate tolerance are really designed to live on meat and vegetables, and grain products gradually kill us.  So your 10% animal protein figure is, well, a one-size-fits-none suggestion.  I'm sure there are people who do well on it ... and others could die from it.  There's an amazing amount of genetic diversity in this species.

        But yes, vegetarians DO tend to know more about what they're doing than those who don't think about it.  Which is why, although I am not one, I give the gods thanks for having had a vegetarian to teach me how to cook!

        •  Yep... (0+ / 0-)

          The "factory farming" is certainly one thing that repulses me from meat (though not all meat, of course, comes this way).  It also unfortunately contributes to food poisoning in vegetables (E-Coli, etc.) since the manure is more likely to carry disease in a factory farm environment than if you have widely spaced animals eating grass.

          Fortunately, I'm one of those people whose metabolism is very vegetarian friendly.  I found my health to improve after I became a vegetarian--though that could've been because I was simply eating better (more fruits and vegetables).  My running improved (it's harder to run with 2 hamburgers in your belly than...say...pasta with tomato sauce and spinach), and I even went from being a "skinny little runt" to being "moderately muscular" (though that was more because I started working out with weights).  But...each person's body is different--quite obviously, some people don't thrive like I have on a vegetarian diet.

          Bears hibernate for months. Congress hibernates for years. Is it "spring" yet?

          by westcornersville on Wed Aug 13, 2008 at 01:12:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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