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Old 05-17-2010, 07:59 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Meatless Mondays

There's a movement afoot to urge people to go meatless on Mondays. Why? The environmental benefits of going meatless are considerable, in addition to the fact that most Americans ingest far more protein (and meat) than they need to, as well as the health benefits of eating more fruits, vegetables, and fiber. According to my university nutrition class, only 10-35% of our balance of macronutrients needs to come from protein; the amount of protein needed depends on a person's body weight (more info here: Protein - Your Questions Answered - The Nutrition Source - Harvard School of Public Health).

Depending on where you get your meat, it may be raised in a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO). CAFOs produce large amounts of pollutants. As you can imagine, so many animals in a single space produces a lot of shit, quite frankly--500 million tons, according to the CDC (National Center for Environmental Health: 2006 National Environmental Public Health Conference - Abstracts - Session D1 | CDC). These animals have to be pumped full of antibiotics in order to be kept healthy because they are kept in such close quarters with other animals. Many of you here are already familiar with the problems associated with CAFOs, so I won't go into greater detail.

So why go meatless on a Monday? For one, it's good for you. Certainly, meat is an easy source of protein and vitamin B12. But it really isn't that difficult to find these nutrients in other foods. B12 can be found in eggs. While you may think--wait, doesn't eating an egg run counter to the whole meatless Monday thing?--no, not quite. It's relatively easy to find eggs that are raised in a humane way with minimal environmental impact. Try your local farmer's market. Additionally, B12 can be found in milk, so drink up, and there are also plenty of fortified foods out there with B12.

Then, you may think--wait, don't vegetarians have a hard time with protein? What's this complete protein baloney? Well, it's just that--baloney. It turns out vegetarians can eat a wide variety of plant-based proteins throughout their day and get all of the essential amino acids they need; there's no reason to worry about whether a protein is complete or incomplete as long as the person in question is paying attention to the wider scope of their diet.

I write this post as a person who has been eating vegetarian about 75% (or more) of the time for almost 5 years now. Don't get me wrong--I'm not going to say no to a steak, but I am going to ask where it came from and how it was raised (thank goodness my meat-loving in-laws are on the same page as me). I know that some of you already do this.

And one last thing for those of you looking to save some bucks in these hard economic times: meat is expensive. Going meatless one day a week may not save you a lot of dough at first, but if you cut out meat at other meals and start getting creative, you CAN save a lot of money.

Here's a video from the Meatless Monday people:


I think their website must be slammed as I can't get it to load, but here's a link for later: http://www.meatlessmonday.com/

And even Mario Batali is on board: Chris Elam: Meatless Mondays: Even Mario Batali's Doing It

So how about you? Would you consider giving up meat one day a week?
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Old 05-17-2010, 08:12 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 05-17-2010, 08:34 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I am for eating better and eating more healthier (I'm trying my best to change my diet as we speak), but for a hard "You can't eat meat on this day" I am against. I could be down for one day a week eating less meat (or none at all), but I want to choose that day, not be told that is the day I am meatless. To big brother for me.
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Old 05-17-2010, 08:40 AM   #4 (permalink)
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What's wrong with people? I will by accident go a day without meat at random. Why do you need to designate a day like this?

Too much meat.

It's like Buy Nothing Day. Do you want to know how many days out of the year I'll go without buying something?

Okay... so what's wrong with me? I get it. I don't belong in North America.
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Old 05-17-2010, 08:47 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Well, considering I work in a beef processing plant, or slaughterhouse if you will, this definitely isn't for me, I like eating meat, it's quite tasty, as for asking how it was raised and where it came from, I could care less, be it cow, pig, lamb, couldn't care less where it comes from, as long as it's tasty after it's been on the grill.
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Old 05-17-2010, 08:48 AM   #6 (permalink)
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im with Phil here...

i cant go without meat...if it happens by accident (which is a rarity for me) then so be it. But i wont go out of my way to avoid it.

I avoid many other things that will kill me much much earlier, so im entitled to my meat on mondays and every other day of the week. when everyone else i know gives up smoking and alcohol, ill give up my meat.
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Old 05-17-2010, 08:52 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I think this is a good idea wrapped in a bad package. As a former vegetarian, I'm all for it, but you can see people's reaction to it.

It's kind of like those "boycott BP/Shell/evil-oil-company-of-your-choice for a day" campaigns that aimed to hurt the oil companies when gas prices spiked.

Even though reducing petroleum consumption is something most people can get behind, many people reacted badly to the idea either because they resist being told what to do, or because they spotted the obvious logical flaws (you'll just buy gas another day).

It's a nice marketing concept - it's alliterative, it echoes other "day of the week" campaigns like Taco Tuesday (irony) or Thirsty Thursday at our local ball park, and it makes it manageable - it's only one day a week.

But I think you're going to hit a stubborn streak among those carnivores who, in my experience, bristle at the mere fact of vegetarianism as though it was a personal affront and attack. Or even among people who are amenable to the idea but react against the idea joining some deprivation pledge.

I think the campaign might get a better response if it was targeted positively ("Go for the Greens!" or "Eat Local") rather than negatively - meatLESS, eliminating something pleasant.

It's all in the framing!
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Old 05-17-2010, 09:02 AM   #8 (permalink)
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We tend to have 'meatless Fridays' because my wife was brought up as a Roman Catholic, and there's something about having fish only on fridays. Never mind that fish tends to have higher meat per weight ratio than most other animals, logic never seems to apply in the case of fish versus meat discussion.

I'm all for reducing my meat intake, when the alternative presented is attractive: nothing like a gooey maccaroni pie or spaghettini with spinach. But I'll never voluntarily become a vegetarian. Not when steak tartar is listed as one of my favourite treats!
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Old 05-17-2010, 09:18 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I guess everyday is meatless for me. But I'd rather think of it as Veggie-licious. I know, Veggie-licious Vednesdays!

For that matter, what's wrong with Fridays? It's a long-standing Catholic tradition to do without meat on Fridays during lent...
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Old 05-17-2010, 09:27 AM   #10 (permalink)
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To each their own, eating healthy is good; but I'm a lifelong devoted carnivore.
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Old 05-17-2010, 09:44 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Next up Fruitless Tuesday and Vegetabless Thursday.

For some reason reading this just makes me thing it has its roots in something far different then the marketed face, perhaps a stab from PETA to kill slaughterhouses or something likewise. But the public facing side is nicely packaged to appeal to your instincts of "be healthier!" and "meat is bad, be kind to animals!". There's a flip-side to everything, sure too much meat is bad, but the same is true of too much of anything.

But yea, as said above, I like meat it's part of my diet, sure I go days without it but I'm not going to schedule myself around such a thing, particularly when it screams of ulterior motives.
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Old 05-17-2010, 02:28 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I, too, like meat and have no desire to cut it out of my diet on a permanent or scheduled basis. However, completely coincidentally as I have never heard of 'meatless Monday', I did not eat any meat today.
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Old 05-17-2010, 04:02 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I have to say I am not surprised by the reactions. People are attached to their meat consumption the way NRA members are attached to guns... cold, dead hands and all that.

Have a look at the statistics. Look at what the industrial production of meat is doing to our environment.

Have look at how much more meat we are eating today than we were eating say, 20 years ago.

We don't need to eat as much meat as we are eating. We want to...


Is it too much to suggest that perhaps we should eat a little less meat? Nobody is asking you to be vegetarian. Rather, take a day and have some pasta with some veg. Why not make a nice risotto with butternut squash?

Don't get me wrong. I love meat. I eat it all. I will also eat just about anything between the nose and tail (love me some offal). I just think we need to eat a little more responsibly. I don't think most of us even concern ourselves with where our food comes from, let alone the impact it's having on ourselves or our environment.

Perhaps it's time we did.
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Old 05-17-2010, 04:27 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Old 05-17-2010, 04:53 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Too late for me to go meatless today. But there are plenty of days that I don't eat meat. My kids and I are not big meat eaters. Not exactly vegetarian either. We just don't eat a lot of red meat.
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Old 05-17-2010, 05:01 PM   #16 (permalink)
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While I can agree that North American's consume too much meat, and that many methods of animal husbandry are environmentally devastating, I certainly am not going to fall for the idea that it is easy, healthy, or more environmentally friendly to be a vegetarian.

The richness needed in a vegetarian diet is not natural. It cannot be maintained without fossil fuels, mass exchanges of agricultural products, the importation of foreign species, and the modification of traditional food cultures.

Humans are omnivores evolved to consume seasonally limited plant food (seeds, nuts, tubers, and fruit ... not grains), augmented by the consumption of animal flesh to provide nutrients essential to our development. Excessive meat consumption is not natural because hunting is energy and time intensive -- though the nutritional rewards are high -- so we have no evolved to consume the level of meat we do.
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Old 05-17-2010, 06:24 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I'm all for it, as it saves me a serving of benefibermetamucilcolonblow. Because I love meat so much I'm willing to SUFFER for it!

But seriously, I can do a day without meat. One day out of the week will not make me frail or make my bones brittle. It also makes sense financially, considering how expensive good quality meat is nowadays.
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Old 05-17-2010, 06:35 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I'm all for it, as it saves me a serving of benefibermetamucilcolonblow. Because I love meat so much I'm willing to SUFFER for it!
You're my new hero. Awesome vocab and suffering? Total win.
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Old 05-17-2010, 06:35 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by CandleInTheDark View Post
While I can agree that North American's consume too much meat, and that many methods of animal husbandry are environmentally devastating, I certainly am not going to fall for the idea that it is easy, healthy, or more environmentally friendly to be a vegetarian.

The richness needed in a vegetarian diet is not natural. It cannot be maintained without fossil fuels, mass exchanges of agricultural products, the importation of foreign species, and the modification of traditional food cultures.

Humans are omnivores evolved to consume seasonally limited plant food (seeds, nuts, tubers, and fruit ... not grains), augmented by the consumption of animal flesh to provide nutrients essential to our development. Excessive meat consumption is not natural because hunting is energy and time intensive -- though the nutritional rewards are high -- so we have no evolved to consume the level of meat we do.
I don't disagree. Industrial farming is the problem.

I don't ascribe to the "you must eat locally" idea either. In some cases, the imported food is less environmentally damaging.

Like many in this thread, you seem to be focusing on turning vegetarian rather than simply having one meatless day a week.

Is it really that hard to do? No.

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Old 05-17-2010, 07:39 PM   #20 (permalink)
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People are attached to their meat consumption the way NRA members are attached to guns... cold, dead hands and all that.
Sheesh. No kidding.


All right, I've typed a paragraph and then deleted it four times now. My basic point in all of them was, "sure, do what you'd like, but don't get all pissy and mean about it." I don't get why one day without meat is such a HUGE TERRIBLE THING. Yes, I'm vegetarian, but I wasn't always...and a day or two a week with no meat was hardly a catastrophe.
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Old 05-17-2010, 08:50 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Sheesh. No kidding.


All right, I've typed a paragraph and then deleted it four times now. My basic point in all of them was, "sure, do what you'd like, but don't get all pissy and mean about it." I don't get why one day without meat is such a HUGE TERRIBLE THING. Yes, I'm vegetarian, but I wasn't always...and a day or two a week with no meat was hardly a catastrophe.
Sure, I'll do it. One day without meat would not be a "HUGE TERRIBLE THING."
Oh, and all you vegetarians can line up for SAUSAGE SATURDAY!!!!!
After all, one day with meat would not be a HUGE TERRIBLE THING!

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Old 05-17-2010, 09:01 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Here's the thing.

Humans, as pointed out somewhere above, are omnivores. We are not carnivores.

This quote by Micheal Pollan sums up things nicely: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

If you break it down:

Eat Food: Don't eat things that your Great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.
Not too much: Portion control.
Mostly Plants: Cut down on the over-consumption of meat. This is not to say, stop eating meat. Quite the contrary, keep eating meat just eat more plants. Also see: Not too much.
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Old 05-17-2010, 11:14 PM   #23 (permalink)
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the entire green movement has at this point become a sham, a corporate advertisement and nothing more, other than a way for the trendy to feel better about their consumption... not to mention how incredibly fucked we will be when India and china catch up with the US in terms of middle class... their level of consumption will so dwarf ours that the whole argument will be rendered pointless.... but a few good resource wars may well sort that all out anyway.... so myself, I will try from now on to eat more meat on Mondays.....
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Old 05-17-2010, 11:20 PM   #24 (permalink)
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I am having a hard time changing my food intake, and permanently changing what foods I eat and how, so choosing not to eat meat on a specific day just wouldn't work for me.
I eat based on my cravings. Its a bad thing to do, I know. But if I want tuna, dammit all, I'll find some! If I want a hamburger, I'll get one that day at some point.
I don't want meat at every meal, but when my stomach asks for it, I obey.
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Old 05-17-2010, 11:34 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Let's put aside for the moment that I could give a rat's ass about any Green Movement. I simply see this (Meatless Monday) as a step on the path to healthier eating, better management of our resources (plants and animals) and movement to eating better food (to get better meat one will have to accept that it cannot be farmed on an industrial scale which means scaling back the amount we all consume in the first place).


All of that aside, why the fuck wouldn't business people seek to profit from the so-called Green Movement? Your post intimates that any involvement by big business invalidates the net effect. If there is no net effect to the positive in the the products and services you purchase, you are purchasing the wrong things. You appear to have a case of blaming the co-opter.

As for India and China, yes, they are a concern, but I can tell you that per capita, there a many more vegetarians in India than there are in the US. Why not work to develop a better way for all of us to use our resources? There are efficiencies to be had (read: profits) why not find them rather than continuing down the path we are headed?

Oddly, despite suggesting we will be "incredibly fucked" when India and China catch up to the US levels of consumption, you appear to say that as they are going to do it anyway, so should we. How do you rationalize that? Either you think it's bad or it's not. And if you recognize it as bad, why not work to change things.

Sorry for the threadjack but post that attempt to be all rebellious and shit just annoy.
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Old 05-18-2010, 03:49 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Kind of backwards to attack big business when that is exactly why everyone thinks we need to be eating so much meat and dairy. The only reason the food pyramid (that gets taught in schools) looks the way it does is because of the industry lobby.

Besides... the "green movement" as it is being attacked here is more of a post-Al Gore thing. More of an energy thing than a food politics thing. Vegetarianism and veganism pre-date it by decades.

The appeal to evolution is sad for someone living in modern society using a computer. We didn't evolve to do a lot of the things we do. Couldn't polygamy be defended by an evolution argument? We have evolved the ability to progress socially, and to me that means finding an alternative to slaughtering billions of animals and destroying our oceans (ever heard of the term "bycatch?" - look it up).

I've done my best to opt out of eating animals and animal products/secretions entirely and been vegan for two and a half years now, and I know it's not for everyone... but suggesting you go a day without meat and seeing all this resistance and defensiveness is bewildering, especially when you can replace it with eggs and cheese.
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Old 05-18-2010, 05:39 AM   #27 (permalink)
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A few of America's problems would be are more manageable if the average American adopted a more plant-based diet. Though it should be said that the same thing goes for Canada to a certain extent.
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Old 05-18-2010, 05:49 AM   #28 (permalink)
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... but suggesting you go a day without meat and seeing all this resistance and defensiveness is bewildering, especially when you can replace it with eggs and cheese.
Alright then, have a 'meat monday' if you don't regularly eat meat, see what resisteance and defensiveness that brings about, people don't like being told what to do, or preached at, what's good for one person doesn't always mean the same for others.

As I said, I work in a beef processing plant, I earn my living by people eating meat, we do the whole thing, from slaughtering to processing, I have no desire to not eat meat on a certain day just because someone wanted to use a catchy phrase like 'meanless monday'.
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Old 05-18-2010, 05:59 AM   #29 (permalink)
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[...] people don't like being told what to do, or preached at, what's good for one person doesn't always mean the same for others.
Well, physiologically speaking, eating a more plant-based diet is generally better for you than eating too much meat.

I think the challenge for those resistant to the idea of Meatless Monday isn't so much about reducing meat intake as it is eliminating it, even be it for a day.

I understand your attachment to meat given your vocation. I just don't see the disadvantage of the average person moderating their meat intake. I know this might have an economic impact on your industry, but it has done reasonably well for a really long time, hasn't it?
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Old 05-18-2010, 06:00 AM   #30 (permalink)
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silent, this is where I have a problem with the whole thing. I find that most people preach something and the message that comes to me is, "I don't have to change, YOU have to change."

And that's the crux of the reactions to me, change isn't easy, it's stressful and hard.

When it just happens by itself it's a good thing. I sometimes find I didn't eat any meat on a particular day by accident more and more because I'm being more conscious about my diet.
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Old 05-18-2010, 06:52 AM   #31 (permalink)
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silent, this is where I have a problem with the whole thing. I find that most people preach something and the message that comes to me is, "I don't have to change, YOU have to change."
true, but what if you're like most people who dont think that eating meat is a bad thing?

if it's not wrong, why should i need to change my diet habits for the sake of a cool trend?

I'm going to start a 'dont love your children on sundays' day and see how many mothers email me in the space of 60 seconds
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Old 05-18-2010, 06:56 AM   #32 (permalink)
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Well I LOVE eating red meat. A steak can't be cooked rare enough for me. To give it up completely would only happen if there was no way out.

That said there are plenty of days that I forego meat consumption, but that's not a conscious choice that I make, it just so seems to happen.

Mostly though I seem to need that "substance" to a meal, whether it would be sushi with salmon and tuna or chicken/pork or steak. When I eat a sandwich for lunch and a salad for dinner, for some reason it isn't quite as satisfying or filling as good protein filled red meat.

The reactions surprise me too, in a way that people tend to be very vocal if you try to make them do something and they personally don't see an immediate gain in it.
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Old 05-18-2010, 07:14 AM   #33 (permalink)
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It's not about meat.
Human history is replete with religious and political charlatans who developed a devout following by insisting that they had discovered the Truth; a truth that must be adopted by all, lest civilization perish. The apocalyptic "join or die" message appeals to the fundamental human need to be connected; to be part of that universal something that is bigger than ourselves. Unfortunately, an ideology that proclaims superiority and finality lends itself to totalitarianism. Dissent is not tolerated and dissenters are deemed, at best, morally defective, and, at worse, possessed by Evil.
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Old 05-18-2010, 07:18 AM   #34 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Aladdin Sane View Post
It's not about meat.
Human history is replete with religious and political charlatans who developed a devout following by insisting that they had discovered the Truth; a truth that must be adopted by all, lest civilization perish. The apocalyptic "join or die" message appeals to the fundamental human need to be connected; to be part of that universal something that is bigger than ourselves. Unfortunately, an ideology that proclaims superiority and finality lends itself to totalitarianism. Dissent is not tolerated and dissenters are deemed, at best, morally defective, and, at worse, possessed by Evil.
So environmental degradation isn't a problem?
So preventable human diseases aren't a problem?
So the money spent on preventable human diseases isn't a problem?
So dependency on Middle Eastern oil isn't a problem?

I'm seriously wondering.

Because you're right; it's not about meat.
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Old 05-18-2010, 08:02 AM   #35 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Baraka_Guru View Post
So environmental degradation isn't a problem?
So preventable human diseases aren't a problem?
So the money spent on preventable human diseases isn't a problem?
So dependency on Middle Eastern oil isn't a problem?

I'm seriously wondering.

Because you're right; it's not about meat.
Lots of things are problems, which is beside the point.
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Old 05-18-2010, 08:19 AM   #36 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Aladdin Sane View Post
Lots of things are problems, which is beside the point.
Actually, no. That is the point.
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Old 05-18-2010, 08:26 AM   #37 (permalink)
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There is more than one way to be environmentally conscious. It's more about getting the most impact for the least pain.

Over the last 11 years, I've dropped my electrical usage by 50% and my non-recyclable garbage output by twice that. My cars are as efficient as is practical for where I live. The effort and cost involved was not trivial; but was something that I was willing to do. Giving up pig and cow is not something I'm willing to do.
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Old 05-18-2010, 08:44 AM   #38 (permalink)
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The appeal to evolution is sad for someone living in modern society using a computer. We didn't evolve to do a lot of the things we do. Couldn't polygamy be defended by an evolution argument? We have evolved the ability to progress socially, and to me that means finding an alternative to slaughtering billions of animals and destroying our oceans (ever heard of the term "bycatch?" - look it up).
It's not an appeal to evolution; it's a realistic assessment of our natural history and our nutritional needs.

Your socially progressive ways might turn you psychologically into a vegetarian/vegan. But all the biophysical evidence points to humans having been, and continuing to be, omnivores.
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Old 05-18-2010, 09:02 AM   #39 (permalink)
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I'm mildly surpised by peoples reactions, but then the more I think about it the less suprised I was.

I'm in. Absolutly. I'm factoring it in my head and my schedual right now. No, I suppose it doesnt' have to be Mondays, it could be fridays or tuesdays or saturdays. But I'm down with the premise for sure, absolutly. I've been looking up ways to get healthier and be healthier for me and the environment, and while I do enjoy meat, quite a bit actually, I know that's gotta be one of the first things to go. I've been finding vegetarian recipies latel and yeah, Im gonna use them.

I'm in. Absolutly. Meatless Mondays here I come. Thanks for a little extra push and a little extra encouragement and info snowy!
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Old 05-18-2010, 09:37 AM   #40 (permalink)
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It's not an appeal to evolution; it's a realistic assessment of our natural history and our nutritional needs.

Your socially progressive ways might turn you psychologically into a vegetarian/vegan. But all the biophysical evidence points to humans having been, and continuing to be, omnivores.
True. But when it's used to justify what we ought to continue to do, it's illogical. I'm just explaining that what is "natural" and what we have evolved to be capable of doing are never solid arguments for what should be. That's why I also don't ever cite the "school" of thought which argues that humans have teeth more like herbivores - I'm pretty sure these folk are out there. It's just not a good reason to go vegan. Trust me there are enough good reasons to do it without quoting pseudo-science.
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