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Beef; I'll miss you most of all....

ecarfan

Well-Known Member
Sep 21, 2013
19,276
13,947
West Vancouver, British Columbia
Fish are of course animals, and fish oil is a form of fat that is liquid over a broad temperature range.
There is a confusing tendency to, when discussing food and health, to use the term "animal meat" only when referring to beefy, pork, and chicken, and not fish.
 

ohmman

Plaid-ish Moderator
Feb 13, 2014
10,073
18,266
North Bay, CA
Fish are of course animals, and fish oil is a form of fat that is liquid over a broad temperature range.
There is a confusing tendency to, when discussing food and health, to use the term "animal meat" only when referring to beefy, pork, and chicken, and not fish.

There's something fishy about that.
 

mspohr

Well-Known Member
Jul 27, 2014
9,592
11,355
California
Confused...

Fish is not an animal? Or oil is not a fat?
Yes, it is confusing. Biologists place farm animals, fish, sponges, jellyfish, insects and lots of other creatures in the "Animal kingdom". However, when referring to food, many people make a distinction between farm animals and fish. Farm animals are warm blooded and have evolved saturated fats which are liquid at body temperature but congeal when they get cold. Fish, on the other hand, have to contend with colder temperatures so have evolved unsaturated fats (oils) which remain liquid at lower temperatures. As it turns out, the unsaturated fish oils are particularly healthy for humans to consume since they have been shown to have a beneficial protective effect on the cardiovascular system. Saturated animal fats have been found to be unhealthy since they tend to promote the formation of plaque in arteries leading to cardiovascular disease.
 

tomas

Out of warranty...
Oct 22, 2012
4,278
3,879
Chicago/Montecito
Fish are of course animals, and fish oil is a form of fat that is liquid over a broad temperature range.
There is a confusing tendency to, when discussing food and health, to use the term "animal meat" only when referring to beefy, pork, and chicken, and not fish.
Sure, and some people differentiate between meat and fish, though fish flesh is... Meat! i think most readers can process the colloquialisms.
 

Canuck

Well-Known Member
Nov 30, 2013
6,125
5,472
South Surrey, BC
Most populations had a much shorter lifespan until the development of public health (sanitation, immunization, etc.).

I thought the point was whether people "thrived" on all different kinds of diets and to prove this point you used the Inuit as an example, a population that lived (before European contact) almost exclusively on animal fats?

I pointed out that they lived on average into their 40's. Public sanitation, immunization, etc. are not relevant since no other "peoples" had these if we are looking back on populations that survived on certain kinds of diets. For example, people from the Ryukyu Islands have a life expectancy among the highest in the world. The traditional diet of the islanders contained 30% green and yellow vegetables. Although the traditional Japanese diet usually includes large quantities of rice, the traditional Okinawa diet consists of smaller quantities of rice; instead the staple is the purple-fleshed Okinawan sweet potato. The Okinawan diet had only 30% of the sugar and 15% of the grains of the average Japanese dietary intake. The traditional diet also included a tiny amount of fish (less than half a serving per day) and more in the way of soy and other legumes (6% of total caloric intake). An Okinawan reaching 100 years of age has typically had a diet consistently averaging about one calorie per gram of food and has a BMI of 20.4 in early adulthood and middle age.
Okinawa diet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

My point is simply that while humans can eat a variety of different foods, there are certain diets that cause us to "thrive" while other diets kill us off at a young age. I don't think there's any doubt about that.
 

mspohr

Well-Known Member
Jul 27, 2014
9,592
11,355
California
I thought the point was whether people "thrived" on all different kinds of diets and to prove this point you used the Inuit as an example, a population that lived (before European contact) almost exclusively on animal fats?

--- snipped

My point is simply that while humans can eat a variety of different foods, there are certain diets that cause us to "thrive" while other diets kill us off at a young age. I don't think there's any doubt about that.
I was using "thriving" to indicate a successful population. If you are talking about longevity, you are right that there is a lot of evidence that diet has an influence on lifespan. Diets high in animal saturated fats and refined carbohydrates (such as the typical Western diet) are not as healthy as some other populations. You point out the Okinawan diet which has fewer refined carbohydrates and more vegetables (sweet potato, soy) and seems to lead to a long life. Another diet which has been studied extensively and leads to a longer, healthier diet is the Mediterranean diet which consists primarily of fish, vegetables and olive oil.
I did not use the Inuit diet as an example of a healthy, long life diet. It is an example of an extreme diet (high in fat) that enables them to survive as a population in an extreme environment. They do have a high incidence of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease, however, so they don't have a particularly long life.
 

Chris TX

Active Member
Sep 30, 2013
1,531
186
Dallas, TX
Read the actual source. I saw that last week and was intrigued until I read it. It's very wrong and has been widely debunked, including:

That viral study about how vegetarians are killing the environment is ridiculously wrong.


So a vegetarian "Editorial Assistant" for Slate.com was able to debunk a Carnegie Mellon study by a Professor of Social and Decisions Sciences and a Ph.D. student in Civil and Environmental Engineering? She was also, able to debunk this in two days time?

What's this world coming to? ;)
 

jeremyz

Member
Apr 5, 2013
257
94
.
So a vegetarian "Editorial Assistant" for Slate.com was able to debunk a Carnegie Mellon study by a Professor of Social and Decisions Sciences and a Ph.D. student in Civil and Environmental Engineering? She was also, able to debunk this in two days time?

What's this world coming to? ;)


That study is comparing the per calorie GHG emissions for various types of food. If you eat 2500 calories of conventionally grown lettuce (just shy of 40 pounds of lettuce), it's not surprising that's not super environmentally friendly; that might not hold true if you're buying it from that super efficient Sony lettuce farm though.

Here's a study from Oxford from last year:
Dietary greenhouse gas emissions of meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans in the UK - Springer
In conclusion, dietary GHG emissions in self-selected meat-eaters are approximately twice as high as those in vegans. It is likely that reductions in meat consumption would lead to reductions in dietary GHG emissions.

 

stopcrazypp

Well-Known Member
Dec 8, 2007
10,496
5,448
Here's the link to the study. While the scenario of the lettuce vs bacon example is ridiculous, I would have to see the study details to see if the actual comparison is like that. It sets up three scenarios: reducing calories without changing mix of foods, switching food mix to USDA recommended without reducing calories, and switching food mix to USDA recommended while reducing calories.
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10669-015-9577-y


Only the first example reduces GHGs and other impacts, while the latter raises them.
 

ohmman

Plaid-ish Moderator
Feb 13, 2014
10,073
18,266
North Bay, CA
I owe a response here to Chris TX. Sorry for the delay, on vacation and we've been playing hard in the snow. I also wanted to make sure I revisited the study instead of dismissing it out of hand as I did earlier.

Thanks for challenging me on it - I learned a lot more going back into it than I had before. The conclusions of the study are relatively solid, as far as the outline of the study goes. What is not as solid are headlines like "The Vegetarian Diet Is Killing The Environment." That's not the conclusion of the study. Instead, what they studied were the three options listed above by stopcrazypp. Increasing starches like pasta (very low CO2 impact) isn't compatible with the second two options, as those aren't recommended by the USDA mix. Additionally, beef was not directly addressed. So I'll agree that in the three scenarios presented, the calorie-restricted but heavier meat mix appears to have outpaced the other options in GHG emissions and blue-water footprint.

Beef, getting back to the topic of this thread, is the real outlier in this situation. Check out:
Q8wyfjj.png


(source: Cederberg et al, 2014)

So, I've changed my mind a bit and will say that in some situations, adding high input vegetables to your diet on a calorie-by-calorie basis to replace meat may not be the best for the environment. I'll limit that to cultivation and production, as the study did. However, I stand by my assertion that this study does not come to the conclusion that the vegetarian diet, or a vegetarian diet could not handily beat out a meat diet (especially beef) as far as GHG emissions goes.

Thanks again, and sorry for the delay in my response!
 

Norseman

Member
Jun 3, 2015
75
0
Fort Lauderdale
I quit eating meat 2 years ago. (And chicken, pork, etc)
It was easy, don't miss a thing. Felt "lighter" right away, don't get as full and the digestive system runs easier.
lost 12 lbs over the next few months, but slowly gained it back, mainly due to thirst for vegan beer and lots of days off.
Do eat fish and shellfish, and the occasional egg, but rarely any dairy.
Not trying to save the planet, just want to live better and live longer.
I used to love steaks, wienersnitchel, sausages, bacon etc but no problem quitting it cold turkey, now I could not eat any, the thought is almost nauseating.
Wife started the program at the same time, made it easy to go shopping and to cook meals.
We are neither vegans or vegetarians due to the fish diet. (Smoked salmon, shrimp)
Cholestrol went down some, but according to doc, diet only affects 10% of Cholestrol, the rest is hereditary.
The movie Forks over Knives influenced us somehow, Netflix. Forks Over Knives | Official Website.
 

beeeerock

Active Member
Mar 12, 2015
1,510
428
Kamloops BC Canada
Beef, getting back to the topic of this thread, is the real outlier in this situation.

So, I've changed my mind a bit and will say that in some situations, adding high input vegetables to your diet on a calorie-by-calorie basis to replace meat may not be the best for the environment. I'll limit that to cultivation and production, as the study did. However, I stand by my assertion that this study does not come to the conclusion that the vegetarian diet, or a vegetarian diet could not handily beat out a meat diet (especially beef) as far as GHG emissions goes.
The beef emission numbers absolutely do skew the overall meat arguments. This is what made me change a decade ago after reading a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization paper... which I can't put my fingers on now... (they have a huge number of publications on their website I've just discovered... :eek:). I went from a heavy beef diet to predominantly chicken, some pork and a little beef. My overall meat consumption is down and beef in particular is a fraction of what it was. Living where I do in the heart of ranching country, kicking beef isn't really 100% possible... ;-)

I don't have any evidence to dispute whether my diet today would be higher or lower than a vegetarian's from a GHG perspective. I obviously replaced the meat calories with other items, mostly vegetable in nature (rather than grains). However, I just did a reconnoitre through the kitchen and found: bananas from Ecuador, clementines from Morocco (!), oranges from Asia, apples from Chile, and various vegetables from predominantly California and Mexico. There's snow on the ground and our garden is frozen solid. Eating the 100 mile diet is tricky and not exactly exciting this time of year, at least in the produce department (unless you like living on potatoes). However, if I ate predominantly meat, I could have pretty much all of it sourced within a radius of 10 miles.

So it's apparent that two families eating the same diet but living in different corners of the earth (or even country) will have significantly different GHG footprints. While it might prove to be GHG-advantageous to eliminate my chicken and pork consumption altogether, if I'm replacing with foods from distant lands I have to question just HOW advantageous that change would actually be. Would I realize a lower net position? Would it be enough to make a difference, especially compared with other 'savings' I can and have made in terms of heating/cooling of my home (geo-exchange), solar panels, Tesla etc? It would be an interesting analysis I'm sure.

Looking at the Vegan products also in our kitchen, I am struck by how much of it comes from overseas - especially Asia. At least what the Vegan under this roof eats.
 

richkae

VIN587
Jan 15, 2008
1,917
29
There are many reasons that I have reduced my use of animal products, a primary one is resource utilization.

I believe that it takes more resources to produce meat than grains.
Many countries import animal feed from less developed nations, and are effectively taking food out of peoples mouths to feed to cattle.

I do not want to participate in that practice.

This book was good reading on the topic: World Hunger: 10 Myths: Frances Moore Lappé, Joseph Collins: 9780802123466: Amazon.com: Books
 

ohmman

Plaid-ish Moderator
Feb 13, 2014
10,073
18,266
North Bay, CA
However, I just did a reconnoitre through the kitchen and found: bananas from Ecuador, clementines from Morocco (!), oranges from Asia, apples from Chile, and various vegetables from predominantly California and Mexico. There's snow on the ground and our garden is frozen solid. Eating the 100 mile diet is tricky and not exactly exciting this time of year, at least in the produce department (unless you like living on potatoes). However, if I ate predominantly meat, I could have pretty much all of it sourced within a radius of 10 miles.

So it's apparent that two families eating the same diet but living in different corners of the earth (or even country) will have significantly different GHG footprints.

I think this point is very important. Living in northern California, I have it pretty easy as far as local eating goes, so I can be really selective and give myself rules that are easy to abide by. For instance, we don't buy tomatoes from the store, only eating from our garden. However, our garden produces fresh tomatoes from late June through late November, and I pull the plants into the shed to ripen tomatoes off into the new year at times. We do limit ourselves to seasonal produce, meaning no asparagus except in spring, lots of brassicas in the winter, etc. But again, it's not that restrictive because of our location, and it would be unhealthy for someone to eat only locally in places that would force one to eat meat and canned goods all winter long.

So it's probably like anything else - you have to evaluate your own situation. We pay a lot of attention to source labeling on our vegetables and don't buy anything out of the southern hemisphere, but that just goes along with seasonal eating here. And I honestly don't know how much GHG is bundled into a bunch of grapes that are shipped from Chile. There are other changes I can make that will have more immediate impact, like holding off on upgrading my computer or phone another year (maybe!)
 

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