Saturday, 21 March 2009

Talking Fat and Cutting the Bull...meat..whatever...

So, 15 months (or so) of healthy living and I feel like I am starting from scratch. As I’ve mentioned, I never once read a guide to healthy living, dieting, etc. I didn’t jump on the bandwagon of a fad diet. Basically I just did what seemed right – and apparently it was mostly right, because it was mostly successful.

Recently I read a book “The Master Cleanse”. While the majority of this book was hooey (good use of my university vocabulary) and I disagree with major segments of this book, it did get me thinking. First off, I will never likely do a master cleanse. When the author forewarned of advanced yeast problems from doing the cleanse, I was sort of turned off by the idea. Seriously – who actually pursues a yeast infection? I’m sure the makers of Canasten and Monistat are pleased.
And contrary to the author’s belief, I do actually believe in the co-dependent relationship my intestinal bacteria and I have. Let’s face it – it’s really the most successful relationship that I have at the moment (or at least the easiest to maintain). Why ruin it?
The same friend who recommended the Master Cleanse (and the Martha’s Vineyard Diet) also recommended another book. “Skinny Bitch”. I was sceptical, but what the heck – I’m not doing anything productive with my time. Why not read it?

And it made sense.

Let’s get something clear first:
- I believe that humans should eat meat. I was technically trained as an evolutionary scientist; I believe that our evolution has hardwired us to be omnivores. In other words, I have no problems with humans consuming meat.
- I believe that there is something horrendously wrong with our culture, in terms of nutrition and lifestyle, and that has resulted in obesity.
- I believe that cows, sheep, pigs, etc, living on meat-farms were meant to be meat. That does not mean that I believe in animal cruelty, and does not mean that I like how these animals are destroyed. I can accept that if I were to walk into a slaughter house, I would likely be an instant vegetarian.
- Contrary to this, I am an advocate of the seal hunt. From the perspective of a person with an environmental science background, I can understand that the seal population has surpassed the natural carrying capacity of the environment; sometimes to maintain healthy and genetically viable populations, it is necessary to do a cull. I believe that there are other animal populations that have surpassed their carrying capacity as well. The Canada Goose and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) are two populations that are heading for disaster in some localized areas. They need a cull. PETA will hate me.
- When a population surpasses the natural carrying capacity of the environment, natural pathogens materialize that systematically wipe out the population. That’s death. Or severely compromised animals cannot sustain themselves and then pass their problems on to other members. More death.
- I believe that when an animal population develops these pathogens, eventually, over time, these same pathogens (or whatever you want to call them) can modify themselves on a cellular level to infect humans. More disease. More death. But do you understand the survival of the fittest idea?
- To me it is better to have a small population of genetically viable, happy animals then starving, diseased, unhappy animals. I also don’t want avian flu. Or Mad Cow Disease. Or HIV. Selfish me. Make sense?
- I believe that human population has surpassed (or nearly) the environmental carrying capacity – pandemics and epidemics are the environment’s way of dealing with this. Luckily humans aren’t that bright, and have a habit of destroying themselves.
- All that being said, I don’t know why seals are clubbed. That guy I see in England – who is coincidently English (and we know what the English think of the seal hunt), argues with me about the seal hunt. While I am touched that the English think about us little Ole Canadians, I can’t explain why we partake in cruelly beating on the noggins of happy little seal pups. This really has nothing to do with anything, but I just want to say that I don’t actually like seal clubbing per se, I just agree with the seal hunt. I wanted to clear that up. PETA still hates me.
- Where was I heading with this??
- Oh ya…meat eating…sorry PETA
- Ok….so the decision to be a vegan, vegetarian, herbivore, or whatever – I really do believe that humans were meant to eat meat. That doesn’t mean I like how cows, pigs, etc, are killed. Bessy the cow isn’t particularly cute to me. The sheep that head butts Kobalt every summer, while out in the herding ring – I would like to see her become mutton. But in a humane way of course.
- For the record, every time I step into a herding ring, I do it with the knowledge that there is the chance that my dog or the livestock could be severely injured. In all honesty, I have had a sheep die in the ring. It was entirely accidental, and altogether traumatizing. You can’t always predict what animals will do. But it didn’t stop me from herding, training a dog to herd, or kept me from eating meat. Life happens.

So you get it, right?
I do believe that humans should eat meat.

I told my friend this the other day – she too has a background in evolutionary science.

And her response?
“What if we could evolve beyond meat? What if we are? Who says we keep having to eat meat?”

Hmmm…I don’t have an answer to this; no argument. Nothing.

We are geeks.

With my background in bones I do have moderate understanding as to what the evolution of bones tells us. Here is what I know. Humans are loosing their third molars – wisdom teeth. Yep – that’s right – not every single person gets them anymore (much to the chagrin of dentists who like to pull them out at a nifty fortune). But why are we loosing them?
Do you want to see other examples of evolution?
The dew claw on a dog’s legs? That’s evolution – it used to be a full fledged toe. Now it’s a middle-of-the-leg useless appendage.
The fusion of the leg bones in large ungulates. Evolution.

So “Skinny Bitch”. Again, I don’t necessarily agree with everything the authors argued. That would be silly. But there are things that they pointed out that I have heard more than once…and in journal articles. This was just a simplified version – and I understand it. I like things written in clear, concise language. I should learn to do that.

Unlike the authors, I don’t actually mind eating dead animal – likening it to decaying flesh is a little troubling…but…I can get over it.

I think it was the realization of just how gross our North American meat really is. And just how disgusting our meat industry truly is – and maybe I don’t want to support that anymore.

I don’t know if I could every truly become a vegan. A couple of weeks ago I consciously decided to cut out red meat. That really wasn’t an issue; I wasn’t a big red meat eater to start with. I just disturbed by what I was learning about our red meat products (including luncheon processed meats). Now I am looking at cutting out white meat – that poses more of a challenge. I don’t particularly like white meat, but it is sort of nice to dress it up.

Every day we inhale carcinogens, lather them on our skin, and ingest them. At almost 29 years old, maybe I don’t want to consume them anymore. I don’t like genetically modified animals in my belly; I don’t like knowing that genetically modified animals are eating the remains of other genetically modified animals. I also dislike that nobody really knows the long term consequences of eating the genetically modified crap, or the hormonally infused animal that we consume…except that these things contain carcinogenic elements.

Thanks to England, I made a conscious decision to start eating only raw sugar because of the health benefits (as opposed to eating processed). Seems stupid to keep eating cancer-causing agents, doesn’t it?

No, it’s not just that that I want to stop playing Russian Roulette with my food – what’s the point of life, if you can’t incorporate a bit of a gamble? Cancer is a gamble.

I still want to finish loosing weight. That means another diet shake up to go along with my recent workout shake up.

But, maybe it is time to wise up too.

No, I’ll never be entirely carcinogen free. Wave a cigarette in front of my face, and I’m more than willing to smoke it. I’m sure my makeup has a ton of chemicals in it – I use Clinique; who knows what is in it? But I will still use it. I drive and subsequently inhale exhaust. And even so, there is something about an industry that quietly modifies products that are directly ingested, that seems – hmmm…corrupt.

Giving up proper meat isn’t that big of an issue for me – it’s giving up on dairy that makes me a little sad. I love cheese – errr…pizza. But really? Would you breast feed from the woman sitting next to you? No?!?!?! Then why would you breast feed from a cow? Or a goat?

So – “Skinny Bitch” – ya, it is targeted at women. But I think I think men should read it too. It might open your eyes. Or at least make you think…and PETA is likely still unimpressed with me.

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