Before I dive into this post I want to ask you to please watch Food, Inc.. Even if you have watched it before…watch it again! This is a very easy way to learn a lot in a mere 91 minutes of your life. And hopefully you will join us with a completely renewed perspective when it comes to eating meat. After watching the movie I’ve heard some people say they would never eat meat again (which we of course do), and others say they went out and had a Big Mac the very next day. So don’t take anyone else’s word for it…watch the movie and form your own opinion. And if for some strange reason you don’t watch it, at the very least please read my summary of the film.
Now I’m going to break down our thoughts about meat into two parts…
Local Meat: Not only do we like to promote eating locally raised meat, but just about anything you can buy through your local farmers will be better for you and the environment. I wrote a post a while ago about how produce, on average, travels 1500 miles from the farm to your plate. Not only do those fruits and vegetables lose nutritional value during their trek, but the by-products from all of that travel also have a very negative impact on our environment.
When it comes to industrialized meat, not only does the travel aspect take a toll on our environment, but the resources used to raise, feed, and slaughter the animals do as well. Secondly, the only way to truly know if the meat you are eating was humanely raised is to ask the farmer yourself. And even if the meat comes from an organic factory farm it doesn’t necessarily mean it was raised or fed properly. And the health of the animal directly affects the nutritional value that their products provide you.
Reducing Meat Consumption: I know I’ve said it before about our society’s sugar consumption, and I’ll say it again about meat…it is way overdone. According to Mark Bittman in his book Food Matters, “60 billion animals are raised each year for food – 10 animals for every human on earth.” He also goes on to say that this rate of industrialized meat production is causing “enormous damage to the earth, including the significant acceleration of global warming.”
Secondly, consuming meat at the alarming rate that it is being produced is not good for our health. Bittman says that our current rate of meat consumption has “stimulated a fundamental change in our diets that has contributed to our being overweight, even obese, and more susceptible to diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and perhaps even cancer.” Michael Pollan sings a very similar tune in regards to the effects our over consumption of meat has on our health. Learn more about his viewpoint in my post about “Becoming a ‘flexitarian.’” The moral of the story is the less meat you eat the more of something else you will eat instead, and let’s hope that turns out to be vegetables and fruit.