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Tags Food crisis , food shortage , meat , vegetarianism , vegetarians

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Old 29th August 2009, 11:15 PM   #1
Baby Nemesis
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How much would vegetarianism benefit humanity?

Quite a lot, it would seem, although some believe that for the entire planet to turn vegetarian would mean the poorest wouldn't get an adequate diet.

Here are some quotes from articles. (I can't vouch for the accuracy of the information, though much of it comes from reputable sources.)

This came out of a conversation a few weeks ago in another thread. I first linked to an article about how meat consumption is said to be causing food shortages for the majority of the population of Egypt: “The Rich countries are responsible for the continuing poverty of the South”

Quote:
There are certainly more poor people in the world than there are rich people. But to single out human numbers as the cause of poverty is to obscure the massive destitution caused by the consumerist lifestyles of the rich and the activities of global commerce. Take Egypt. Malnutrition is rife -- over 80 per cent of children under five-years-old are malnourished. The country has to import wheat for breadmaking. And the reason would seem obvious. Over 50 million people crammed into a narrow strip of land either side of the Nile. Demography and geography have run up against each other. Poverty is the result.

But what those statistics and that image does not tell you is that the Egyptians produce more than enough grain to feed themselves. Or that the bulk of that grain is used to feed cows to produce meat to satisfy the newly-acquired tastes of the affluent classes. In fact, Egypt feeds more of its grain to animals than it does to humans.

Nor does the image of a population that has run out of land tell us anything about the role of USAID in promoting livestock production. Nor about the US grain companies that have profited to the tune of millions of dollars now that Egypt is a market for subsidized US grain. Nor about the debt that Egypt has incurred as a result of having to import grain. Nor about the crop land that is now taken up with growing cut flowers to pay off that debt. Nor about the structural adjustment programmes that have been imposed to "bring the economy back into equilibrium". Nor about the poverty and misery that SAPs have caused.
Someone said famine was a "political construct" rather than a genuine measure of food shortage. I said:

Saying famine's all to do with a "Political construct" appears to be simplifying things. Here's a report on food shortages:

Quote:
The discussion above on prevalence and indicators of food shortage has illustrated that its causes are complex. Some hunger indicators, such as production shortfalls, highlight problems that may lead to food shortage. Others, such as DES, directly measure food availability within a country or region. These food-shortage indicators report outcomes of physical and biological factors, sociocultural influences, political-economic forces, and interactions among
these elements.
It goes on to elaborate on the meaning of that paragraph, that is, the several different factors that cause food shortages.

Earlier in the article, it says:

Quote:
The numbers of people potentially supported by the global food supply depend heavily on the kind of diet people consume. The World Hunger Program calculates that global food supplies have been more than adequate, since the mid-1970s, to support the world's population on a vegetarian diet (table 3.1). But they would support only 74 per cent of the 1993 population on a diet where 15 per cent of calories come from animal foods (Uvin 1996). Only 56 per cent of the
1993 world population could have been provided with diets where 25 per cent of calories came from animal foods (Uvin 1996).
An article on the website of the United Nations Environment Program called The era of scarcity is upon us says:

Quote:
But, 'rising affluence', particularly in Asia, is putting even heavier pressure on grain supplies. As people become better off, they eat more meat, often fed on grain (it takes 7 kilograms of grain to produce a kilogram of beef, 4 for a kilogram of pork). Over a third of the world's annual harvest - some
640 million tonnes - already goes to fatten animals for the table, and this is rising rapidly. When Western Europe and North America achieved economic takeoff they had 278 million and 166 million inhabitants respectively. 'This pales compared with the 3.1 billion in Asia now setting off on a similar economic
journey - at a much faster pace.'

Inevitably, he says, prices will sharply increase, with devastating effects for the 1.2 billion poorest people who already spend 70 per cent of their incomes on food. 'No economic indicator,' he points out, 'is more politically sensitive than food prices': scarcity could lead to increased ethnic conflicts and social disintegration and give rise to unprecedented numbers of refugees.
From a Times article called Food shortages: think big

Quote:
The world price of staple foods has rocketed, almost doubling in the past 18 months. For consumers in the rich world this massive increase in the price of wheat or rice is an inconvenience; for consumers in the poorest countries it is a catastrophe. ...

Why have food prices rocketed? Paradoxically, this squeeze on the poorest has come about as a result of the success of globalisation in reducing world poverty. As China develops, helped by its massive exports to our markets, millions of Chinese households have started to eat better. Better means not just more food but more meat, the new luxury. But to produce 1kg of meat takes 6kg of grain. Livestock reared for meat to be consumed in Asia are now eating the
grain that would previously have been eaten by the African poor. So what is the remedy?
It argues that more efficient and technologically advanced agricultural systems would help matters, and that they're being held back by political attitudes of people with a sentimental attitude to the promotion of small-scale farming where farmers won't actually have the resources to invest in the best technology.

The BBC tries to provide a balanced view, in an opinion piece that contradicts that of the economist who wrote the Times article in one or two respects. It argues that it is indeed probable that most rich people in the West should cut down on meat consumption, but for poor families, eating meat could be essential for good health:

Balancing the global need for meat

Quote:
According to a recent report from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, livestock production, dominated in the West by large-scale factory farming, is responsible for 18% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions; a bigger share than all of the world's transport.

Livestock producers in rich countries practice factory farming, which can treat animals inhumanely and depends on vast amounts of resources But as the world moves to address climate change and reduce emissions, we must make sure that the push to reduce the environmental impact of livestock production in rich countries does not hurt the availability of milk, meat, eggs, and other products in developing countries.

While people in rich nations are harming their health by eating too much fatty red meat and cheese, many people in the cities and rural areas of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, particularly children and women in their child-bearing years, are malnourished because they are not consuming enough eggs, meat, and milk.
Eating meat's fair enough when you need it to improve your health. But as the article suggested, eating too much can damage health. Here's another article that suggests people in the West should cut down on eating meat for the good of their health and for other reasons: Obama Urged to Revive National Meatless Program

Quote:
Presidents Wilson, Truman and Roosevelt all instituted national meatless days in order to divert food to troops overseas and alleviate worldwide food shortages.
Today, a growing body of experts say that moderate reductions in meat consumption will mitigate climate change, lessen fossil fuel dependence, conserve fresh water and help reduce the chronic preventable conditions that today kill 70 percent of all Americans —cancer, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. ...

Eating less meat also makes economic sense.* More and more people are finding that forgoing meat for just a few meals each week can yield significant savings.
The article ends with some quick statistics on the drawbacks of eating meat vs the benefits of vegetarianism:

Quote:
• The meat industry generates nearly 1/5 of the man-made greenhouse gases that are accelerating climate change worldwide, far more than transportation.1
• About 40 calories of fossil fuel energy go into every calorie of feed lot beef in the U.S.2 Compare this to the 2.2 calories of fossil fuel energy needed to produce one calorie of plant-based protein.3
• The estimated 634 gallons of fresh water required to produce one 5.2 ounce hamburger would be enough for a four-hour shower.4 Compare this to the 143 gallons of water required to produce the same quantity of tofu. 5
• 2/3 of Americans are overweight or suffer from obesity. 6 Studies show that individuals on vegetarian or low-meat diets have significantly lower body weights and body mass indices.7
• Chronic preventable conditions like heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer kill 1.7 million Americans each year, 70% of all deaths in the U.S.8 Diets abundant in red and processed meats have been linked to increased cancer risk, especially of the digestive tract;9 while diets high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.10
Another article, produced by the United Nations, that balances the environmental impact of livestock production with health needs in developing countries, says:

Quote:
A new report from FAO says livestock production is one of the major causes of the world's most pressing environmental problems, including global warming, land degradation, air and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity. Using a methodology that considers the entire commodity chain, it estimates that livestock
are responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, a bigger share than that of transport. However, the report says, the livestock sector's potential contribution to solving environmental problems is equally large, and major improvements could be achieved at reasonable cost. ...

Deforestation, greenhouse gases. The livestock sector is by far the single largest anthropogenic user of land. Grazing occupies 26 percent of the Earth's terrestrial surface, while feed crop production requires about a third of all arable land. Expansion of grazing land for livestock is a key factor in deforestation,
especially in Latin America: some 70 percent of previously forested land in the Amazon is used as pasture, and feed crops cover a large part of the remainder. About 70 percent of all grazing land in dry areas is considered degraded, mostly because of overgrazing, compaction and erosion attributable to livestock activity. ...

Livestock production also impacts heavily the world's water supply, accounting for more than 8 percent of global human water use, mainly for the irrigation of feed crops. Evidence suggests it is the largest sectoral source of water pollutants, principally animal wastes, antibiotics, hormones, chemicals from tanneries, fertilizers and pesticides used for feed crops, and sediments from eroded pastures. ...
A news article on the report says:

Quote:
Burning fuel to produce fertiliser to grow feed, to produce meat and to transport it - and clearing vegetation for grazing - produces 9 per cent of all emissions of carbon dioxide, the most common greenhouse gas. And their wind and manure emit more than one third of emissions of another, methane, which warms the world 20 times faster than carbon dioxide.

Livestock also produces more than 100 other polluting gases, including more than two-thirds of the world's emissions of ammonia, one of the main causes of acid rain.

Ranching, the report adds, is "the major driver of deforestation" worldwide, and overgrazing is turning a fifth of all pastures and ranges into desert. Cows also soak up vast amounts of water: it takes a staggering 990 litres of water to produce one litre of milk.

Wastes from feedlots and fertilisers used to grow their feed overnourish water, causing weeds to choke all other life. And the pesticides, antibiotics and hormones used to treat them get into drinking water and endanger human health. ...

The report concludes that, unless drastic changes are made, the massive damage done by livestock will more than double by 2050, as demand for meat increases.
Regarding food shortages, the first article I linked to takes a moderate view of how meat production will contribute to them in the future:

Quote:
Vegetarian diets are typical in a wide range of developing countries, but worldwide the demand for meat is growing. Diets in industrialized countries differ widely with respect to their composition: those living in the United Kingdom eat less meat per capita than residents of the United States; meat consumption in Sweden is only 60 per cent of the US average (Bender 1994). Beef production continues to increase and poultry production is increasing faster than population growth rates. ... Food shortage of the future, calculated on the basis of total future demand for grain consumed directly or in the form of animal foods, will be conditioned by whether peoples adopting richer diets follow the European or US pathway.

Last edited by Baby Nemesis; 29th August 2009 at 11:18 PM.
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Old 30th August 2009, 01:05 AM   #2
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I have been doing my part, at least. I now eat mostly vegetarian, often vegan meals several times a week. There is abundant protein in some of the cereal grains used to feed livestock now A good example is teff, which has, so far, been grown mostly for livestock production in the USA. In Ethiopia, it is a major source of protein. It is a good source of lysine, leucine and tryptophan and a host of minerals.

Why feed it to a middle critter?

We are going to run out of land suitable to animal husbandry at our current rate. We are running out of potable water and irrigation water now.

The possibility of wars for food and water is getting greater.

Is that cheeseburger really worth that much human suffering?
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Old 30th August 2009, 02:42 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by leftysergeant View Post
Why feed it to a middle critter?
Raw grass must taste good to you, and apparently your digestive tract must be far different than the rest of mankind's if you can extract necessary nutrients from it.

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Old 30th August 2009, 02:47 AM   #4
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For some odd reason I find more and more skeptics leaning towards vegetarianism for utilitarian reasons and in my experience in the last 15 years as a researcher, consultant and farmer in sustainable food production in Africa this is the last eat-ism which is utilitarian.
Eating less animal products (meat, dairy, eggs) and eating animal products grown on pastures not grains is the most scientifically rational way.
Vegetarianism historically is not a utilitarian idea, but an ethical idea.
Argue the ethics of vegetarianism by all means, not the utility.
Those in western cities should avoid the predominantly grain fed livestock products available and support pastured livestock products for utilitarian reasons.
Permanent perennial grasslands are not only essential to stop soil erosion in the great river basins of all the worlds continents, they create soils, they sequestrate significant quantities of carbon, they require minimum energy/inputs to maintain and only require intelligent grazing management.
Their are pioneering farmers and projects which aim to reclaim and re-establish perennial crop agricultural systems.

For example:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_Institute

On a side note.

By reducing the consumption of this

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-fructose_corn_syrup

product as well as grain fed animal products we would be well on the way to allocating more grain for third world starving humans and reduce western obesity at the same time.
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Old 30th August 2009, 02:48 AM   #5
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I have to admit that I find myself a little annoyed by the vegetarian evangelism that seems to have been happening in the last few months. Everybody seems to want to tell me how bad for the planet my omnivory is.
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Old 30th August 2009, 02:53 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot
vegetarian evangelism
Exactly
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Old 30th August 2009, 02:56 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Dr. Imago View Post
Raw grass must taste good to you, and apparently your digestive tract must be far different than the rest of mankind's if you can extract necessary nutrients from it.
I would rather have my teff directly, as a cereal grain, ground into flour and made into injerra, thank you very much.
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Old 30th August 2009, 03:09 AM   #8
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I am an omnivore. I like the taste of meat. It gives me energy. I like salads and fruits and grains, but I don't want to subside -only- on those.

Researchers are working on enhancing crops to have higher yields so you can produce more per acre and still keep the soil fresh. Norman Borlaug is one person who is working on finding better ways of growing food.

I don't get angry or upset with someone if they are a vegan or a vegetarian. I do get irked when someone decides to lecture me on the evils of eating meat. I find animals tasty, some more than others.
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Old 30th August 2009, 03:13 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Vermonter View Post
still keep the soil fresh. Norman Borlaug is one person who is working on finding better ways of growing food.
Bold Italic bit.
Care to explain what this means
Borlaug is 95 years old so I am not sure he is that active anymore
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Old 30th August 2009, 03:24 AM   #10
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Crops, if properly rotated, will input nurtients while taking out others. I thought this was a fairly common practice, as planting the same thing year after year will eventually weaken the soil.

Borlaug is still researching and teaching, as well as continuing to be an activist. So I'd say he's still pretty active for a 95 year old.
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Old 30th August 2009, 03:45 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by leftysergeant View Post
I have been doing my part, at least. I now eat mostly vegetarian, often vegan meals several times a week. There is abundant protein in some of the cereal grains used to feed livestock now A good example is teff, which has, so far, been grown mostly for livestock production in the USA. In Ethiopia, it is a major source of protein. It is a good source of lysine, leucine and tryptophan and a host of minerals.

Why feed it to a middle critter?

We are going to run out of land suitable to animal husbandry at our current rate. We are running out of potable water and irrigation water now.

The possibility of wars for food and water is getting greater.

Is that cheeseburger really worth that much human suffering?
Are you saying that crops have been designed, or exist naturally, that contain enough protein to adequately substitute for the health gains people in developing countries could get by eating meat? So what the BBC story said about many people - especially children - in the third world being malnourished through lack of protein need no longer apply if only people could eat more of those? I'll quote a bit more from the article:

Quote:
Research shows that very modest amounts of animal-sourced foods in the diets of the poor can have tremendous health benefits.

Milk and meat enhance the growth and cognitive development of children subsisting largely on starchy diets.
So eating the right sort of grain would do instead, and it could easily be made available and would be easy to turn into food?

I'd never heard of teff, so I've just looked it up. Wikipedia says a few interesting things:

Quote:
It is adapted to environments ranging from drought stress to waterlogged soil conditions. Maximum teff production occurs at altitudes of 1800 to 2100 m, growing season rainfall of 450 to 550 mm, and a temperature range of 10 to 27 °C. Teff is day length sensitive and flowers best with 12 hours of daylight. A traditional food plant in Africa, this little-known grain has potential to improve nutrition, boost food security, foster rural development and support sustainable landcare.

Teff has been widely cultivated and used in the countries of South Africa, Eritrea, Ethiopia, India and its colonies, and Australia. Teff accounts for about a quarter of total cereal production in Ethiopia. The grain has a high concentration of different nutrients, a very high calcium content, and high levels of phosphorus, iron, copper, aluminum, barium, and thiamin. A big advantage, the iron from teff is easily absorbed by the body. Teff is high in protein. It is considered to have an excellent amino acid composition (including all 8 essential amino acids for humans) and has lysine levels higher than wheat or barley.
High aluminium levels can't be that good for people though, or perhaps some of the other metals it mentions. Is it possible there could be a way of reducing the amounts in the plant via genetic modification, or are they to do with the composition of the soil where it's often grown?
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Old 30th August 2009, 05:50 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Vermonter View Post
Crops, if properly rotated, will input nurtients while taking out others. I thought this was a fairly common practice, as planting the same thing year after year will eventually weaken the soil.
Some plants are a net drain on nitrogen from the soil, and some are net contributors. (The nitrogen in soil is in the form of simple compounds like nitrate and nitrite, but some organisms can create those with nitrogen extracted from the air, which is roughly fourth fifths nitrogen.)

But what works for nitrogen doesn't work for other elements, like calcium, iron, potassium, molybdenum, sodium, magnesium, and so on. All plants are net extractors of those, so farming is absolutely invariably a drain on soil nutrients overall, no matter how much you rotate crops for nitrogen restoration. Fertilizers only partially replace only some of these elements and others not at all, and they are themselves made from the consumption of finite resources.

The only way to completely put these micronutrients back in the ecosystem they came from is the natural way: letting animals & plants drop leaves and wastes on the ground to decompose, and letting them die and decompose on the ground. In nature, that's the way things always happened, so these micronutrients were just cycled around. As hunter-gatherers, we were simply a part of that. Harvesting takes the micronutrients away permannently, and that's a big part of how we've managed to make some farm lands unusable in just a few centuries/millennia. Our descendants are going to switch back to some way of cycling our "used" micronutrients back into the ecosystems our food comes from, whether because we/they choose to while the land is still good, or because we will have permanently ruined so much land that that's the only remaining way to live because farming will have become impossible.
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Old 30th August 2009, 08:18 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Baby Nemesis View Post
Are you saying that crops have been designed, or exist naturally, that contain enough protein to adequately substitute for the health gains people in developing countries could get by eating meat?
They could do with a lot less, as, certainly, could we in the developed countries. (Think LDL.)

Quote:
So eating the right sort of grain would do instead, and it could easily be made available and would be easy to turn into food?
It may not be feasible to utterly do away with meat in the diet, but the actual requirement is not as great as some people might think. Although eating meat may have helped in the evolution of early hominins, because it offered a lot of complete protein in a tidy package, the need for that animal protein is reduced now because we have access to a wider variety of foods and can adjust our intake of them to compensate for the loss of a meat-based diet.

No single vegetable source of protein is going to totally replace meat, but eating a wide variety of grains and legumes and fruit will provide nearly any essential amino acid that I know of.

Quote:
I'd never heard of teff, so I've just looked it up. Wikipedia says a few interesting things:
Bear in mind that teff was the grain that allowed one of the longest-lasting advanced civilizations to arise in what should have been hostile regions. All indications are that meat has always been a very small part of the diet there, and neurological develpoment seems not to have suffered greatly in children born in any but periods of drought and crop failure (in which case, there is not likely to be a lot of meat to be had, either.)



Quote:
High aluminium levels can't be that good for people though, or perhaps some of the other metals it mentions. Is it possible there could be a way of reducing the amounts in the plant via genetic modification, or are they to do with the composition of the soil where it's often grown?
The relationship between Alzheimer's and aluminum is not all that clear to begin with.

But other foods contain aluminum as well.

The important point is that a varied diet based largely on vegetable sources is probably more sustainable than a largely carnivorous diet.

I have actually been losing some weight lately without feeling like I was starving by eating less meat and a wide variety of vegetable dishes from many ethnic sources, largely Ethiopian. (That includes a lot of teff, although it is almost as expensive here as meat.)

Every year, during Lent, all Ethiopian Christians who have been weaned are vegan for 40 days. After about 1600 years, they seem to have worked out a way not to feel too put upon by the tradition. We are not talking about rabbit food here.
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Old 30th August 2009, 09:08 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by leftysergeant View Post
I would rather have my teff directly, as a cereal grain, ground into flour and made into injerra, thank you very much.
The point you might have missed, was that some fields are simply bad enough to only support grass and not much more, which is then a loss if the people are vegetarian, but used for cattle if people are omnivore.
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Old 30th August 2009, 09:10 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I have to admit that I find myself a little annoyed by the vegetarian evangelism that seems to have been happening in the last few months. Everybody seems to want to tell me how bad for the planet my omnivory is.
Sorry to hear that. I've tried to follow through threads regarding vegetarianism, but I haven't got the same impression. To me the main point is trying to encourage people to keep the portion of meat of their balanced omnivorous diet as small as possible.

When asked about the possibility of reducing their meat consumption (here and in the real world), even in theory, I feel it's rather the people loving to eat meat on a daily basis that are usually holding an unreasonable/fanatic position.
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Old 30th August 2009, 09:23 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by leftysergeant View Post
The important point is that a varied diet based largely on vegetable sources is probably more sustainable than a largely carnivorous diet.
No, why?

Quote:
I have actually been losing some weight lately without feeling like I was starving by eating less meat and a wide variety of vegetable dishes from many ethnic sources, largely Ethiopian.
Funny enough, I'm losing weight by avoiding grains as much as possible. Chicken (cooked, not fried!) plus vegetables and salads is a perfect meal as long as you leave out rice, pasta or similar crap.
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Old 30th August 2009, 10:25 AM   #17
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It's just really unnecessary. If everyone went this route, then there wouldn't be enough plant protein to go around. Call me busy or lazy, but I don't have that much time to devote to making sure I got the right amount of amino acids in mine and my childrens' diets via vegetation.

Animals have this uncanny ability to eat vegetation and then build the right proteins we need to eat, so that we can spend less time chewing cuds compared to them.

We'd have to burn just as much fuel to grow feed for humans and transport it around. At least in the winter here we can raise animals to eat locally.

Aluminum and Alzheimers? Aluminum is the most abundant mineral on earth and is found in all of us, in all animals, and in all plants. The real causes of Alzheimers are vastly more interesting:
http://www.emaxhealth.com/2/91/26555...c-protein.html
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Old 30th August 2009, 10:36 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Baby Nemesis View Post
Quite a lot, it would seem, although some believe that for the entire planet to turn vegetarian would mean the poorest wouldn't get an adequate diet.
Isn't it political then? They export stuff to gain a profit, to buy things like guns. If they feed their people instead, then they wouldn't make a profit and they'd feel all powerless. So it really has nothing to do with meat eating.

And if they are importing grain to feed livestock, then wouldn't they have to import it to feed people too? Then they would miss out on all the other things animal provide (milk, hides, etc.). How easy it is to grow enough grain in Egypt to feed all the people there? Near impossible, right? It's a desert isn't it?
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Old 30th August 2009, 10:41 AM   #19
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http://meria.idc.ac.il/journal/2001/issue2/jv5n2a1.html

*shrug*
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Old 30th August 2009, 11:09 AM   #20
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Vegetarianism is a manifestation of superstition.
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Old 30th August 2009, 11:14 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Perpetual Student View Post
Vegetarianism is a manifestation of superstition.
Well, that 6-word blind assertion is all the argument you need when you put it in BOLD. I'm convinced!
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Old 30th August 2009, 11:24 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by David Wong View Post
Well, that 6-word blind assertion is all the argument you need when you put it in BOLD. I'm convinced!
OK, then. We are endowed with an omnivorous digestive system and our omnivorous nature as a species is at least hundreds of thousands of years old.
Many religions incorporate food taboos; So, is vegetarianism a religion?
(bold is just for you)
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Old 30th August 2009, 11:25 AM   #23
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Just remember to take your B12 supplements, veggie-eaters-only. Pernicious anemia is a .

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Old 30th August 2009, 11:27 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Tapio View Post
To me the main point is trying to encourage people to keep the portion of meat of their balanced omnivorous diet as small as possible.
Why? What's the point?

Quote:
When asked about the possibility of reducing their meat consumption (here and in the real world), even in theory, I feel it's rather the people loving to eat meat on a daily basis that are usually holding an unreasonable/fanatic position.
So, you ask others to change their eating habits and think they are unreasonable to resist? What if somebody asks you to change your nutrition?
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Old 30th August 2009, 11:40 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Baby Nemesis View Post
How much would vegetarianism benefit humanity?

Quite a lot, it would seem, although some believe that for the entire planet to turn vegetarian would...

Unfortunately, or fortunately, the quality-of-life issue w.r.t. flavor and eating satisfaction outweighs a lot of it.


And, as usual, I'm disturbed that a "critical mass" of public opinion may be able to flat-out outlaw it, the way cigarettes are currently poised to be.

Propriety of the domain of government is, unfortunately, rarely questioned nowadays in favor of vox populi vox dei.
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Old 30th August 2009, 11:41 AM   #26
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Scientific evidence like this must perplex and frustrate vegetarian dogmatists:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0111210350.htm
and
http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/...8-adkins_x.htm
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Old 30th August 2009, 01:11 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Perpetual Student
Vegetarianism is a manifestation of superstition.
Originally Posted by Dr. Imago
Just remember to take your B12 supplements, veggie-eaters-only. Pernicious anemia is a .

~Dr. Imago
Originally Posted by Beerina
Unfortunately, or fortunately, the quality-of-life issue w.r.t. flavor and eating satisfaction outweighs a lot of it.


And, as usual, I'm disturbed that a "critical mass" of public opinion may be able to flat-out outlaw it, the way cigarettes are currently poised to be.

Propriety of the domain of government is, unfortunately, rarely questioned nowadays in favor of vox populi vox dei.
Originally Posted by Perpetual Student View Post
Scientific evidence like this must perplex and frustrate vegetarian dogmatists:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0111210350.htm
and
http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/...8-adkins_x.htm


What I don't understand is the rather prickish knee-jerk reaction to the suggestion that vegetarianism would be a net benefit.

For example, in my region we use our fresh water supply to water crops, 90% of which go to animals, not humans.

And we all should have learned in biology that you lose 90% of the energy each greater step of the food chain you go. And if you look at all we put into getting our meat (the factory farms, huge waste amounts dumped in the local area, lots of anti-biotics, etc.) it is even more inefficient.

I can see grassland animals fine as well, though. I am not vegetarian, but I can see where these arguments are coming from. I don't get why people are acting like they are offended on behalf of their sacred eating habits, though.
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Old 30th August 2009, 02:07 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by tsukasa buddha View Post


What i don't understand is the rather prickish knee-jerk reaction to the suggestion that vegetarianism would be a net benefit.

For example, in my region we use our fresh water supply to water crops, 90% of which go to animals, not humans.

And we all should have learned in biology that you lose 90% of the energy each greater step of the food chain you go. And if you look at all we put into getting our meat (the factory farms, huge waste amounts dumped in the local area, lots of anti-biotics, etc.) it is even more inefficient.

I can see grassland animals fine as well, though. I am not vegetarian, but i can see where these arguments are coming from. I don't get why people are acting like they are offended on behalf of their sacred eating habits, though.
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Old 30th August 2009, 02:17 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Baby Nemesis View Post
Here are some quotes from articles. (I can't vouch for the accuracy of the information, though much of it comes from reputable sources.)
Quote:
Take Egypt. Malnutrition is rife -- over 80 per cent of children under five-years-old are malnourished. The country has to import wheat for breadmaking. And the reason would seem obvious. Over 50 million people crammed into a narrow strip of land either side of the Nile. Demography and geography have run up against each other. Poverty is the result.
Yeah, um... no. Egypt has always been poor, even when it had far fewer people. According to Wikipedia, 99% of the population is confined to about 5.5% of the land, giving an effective population density of about 1500 people/km2. But compare that to Hong Kong, with a population of about 6000 people/km2. Hong Kong has a per capita GDP of around 14 times as high as Egypt's. It has to import lots of food, but it's not poor. So something is clearly way off about this analysis.

Oh, and no mention of the role of ethanol production on food prices.
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Old 30th August 2009, 02:31 PM   #30
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Therte is a valid argument for running cattle on dry grasslands that would not support any edible food crop. I have a problem with the idea of feeding them grain that would, itself, have met the protein needs of three or four times as many people as do the cattle produced.

Feeding them grain, ultimately, results in humans with clogged veins.

Eating meat made a lot more sense before the development of agriculture. It is difficult to forage enough protein from vegetable sources in the wild. We don't have that excuse when we can raise enough barley and beans on a couple of acres to feed a small family.

There are, of course, political considerations. It has already been pointed out that the demand for meat overwhelms the ability of some countries to produce affordable foods, thus benefitting the wealthy producers and consumers far more than it does the peasants who work the land.

A good example would be the Irish potato famine. There was food there, but it was produced for export or consumption by the landlords. The peasants got what the landlords wanted to give them, essentially. Lots of people starved as a result.

Eating meat, in a capitalist system with no limits leads to starvation for the poor and obesity for the wealthy.
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Old 30th August 2009, 02:31 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Perpetual Student View Post
peta
Is there a latin term for the "random bold word or words" style of argument?
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Old 30th August 2009, 02:33 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Perpetual Student View Post
peta
A totally emotional response, reflecting exactly the amount of thought that went into it.
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Old 30th August 2009, 02:37 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Hong Kong has a per capita GDP of around 14 times as high as Egypt's. It has to import lots of food, but it's not poor. So something is clearly way off about this analysis.
Hong Kong has stuff to export and is a popular tourist destination. There are jobs for people to provide income so that they can buy the imported food.

Egypt really has nothing significant to export. That kind of leaves the people with little way of buying even what is imported.

The ecconomics of the situation are not that hard to figure out.
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Old 30th August 2009, 02:39 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by leftysergeant View Post
Eating meat, in a capitalist system with no limits leads to starvation for the poor and obesity for the wealthy.
Then why is obesity disproportionately a problem for the poor in the US?
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Old 30th August 2009, 02:49 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by leftysergeant View Post
Hong Kong has stuff to export and is a popular tourist destination.
What, Egypt isn't a popular tourist destination? Is it missing attractions?

Quote:
Egypt really has nothing significant to export.
And what is it that you think Hong Kong exports? Crops? Oil? Minerals? You're not exactly making a case for that source's argument.

Quote:
The ecconomics of the situation are not that hard to figure out.
And yet, for some reason, that source didn't.
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Old 30th August 2009, 02:52 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Then why is obesity disproportionately a problem for the poor in the US?
Here there is, at least, a lot of cheap crap readily available. Some countries do not have even that, so only the rich can get enopugh to eat that they become fat.
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Old 30th August 2009, 02:59 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
What, Egypt isn't a popular tourist destination? Is it missing attractions?
The night life sucks. That's where the real money is in tourism

Quote:
And what is it that you think Hong Kong exports? Crops? Oil? Minerals? You're not exactly making a case for that source's argument.
I'm looking at a lot of clothes with the label "Made in Hong Kong." Betcha some of the cotton in those shirts came from Egypt, and that the people who harvested it made a lot less than a comfortable wage doing it.



Quote:
And yet, for some reason, that source didn't.
When you have to import stuff that costs more than what you export you have a problem, every time.
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Old 30th August 2009, 03:03 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by leftysergeant View Post
Here there is, at least, a lot of cheap crap readily available. Some countries do not have even that, so only the rich can get enopugh to eat that they become fat.
Oh. So, you're saying that "Eating meat, in a capitalist system with no limits but without a lot of cheap crap readily available, leads to starvation for the poor and obesity for the wealthy."

Interesting. What countries are you thinking of?
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Old 30th August 2009, 03:08 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by leftysergeant View Post
Here there is, at least, a lot of cheap crap readily available. Some countries do not have even that, so only the rich can get enopugh to eat that they become fat.
And they're all paragons of capitalism? No, I don't think so. Third-world countries tend to be quite far from free markets.

Originally Posted by leftysergeant View Post
The night life sucks. That's where the real money is in tourism
And that's got what, exactly, to do with a lack of land or the use of crops to feed livestock? Nothing.

Quote:
I'm looking at a lot of clothes with the label "Made in Hong Kong." Betcha some of the cotton in those shirts came from Egypt, and that the people who harvested it made a lot less than a comfortable wage doing it.
And why aren't those labels saying "Made in Egypt"? Why aren't the garment factories in Cairo? Again, the answers have got nothing to do with a lack of land or the use of crops to feed livestock.
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Old 30th August 2009, 03:16 PM   #40
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Sorry, I don't have time to read this thread. I gotta watch the pork chops I'm cooking.
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