Sunday, October 29, 2006

Low Meat Intake = Longer Life?

So Tiffany has been dancing with the raw vegan diet for a while now, and even before she began experimenting with raw veganism, I had drastically cut down my meat intake over the years - partly as a (mostly emotional) reaction to the similarity that our dogs seem to have to cows and pigs, I've not eaten pork or beef at all for the past 4 years. I've never been completely at ease with the idea of eating animals, and I suspect most people in their heart of hearts experience this same unease. In the past few months, I've cut way back on even chicken.

I think I'm what a recent WSJ article calls a "flexitarian" - I'll probably never completely get rid of meat in my diet, but lately, it's been down to about 1 or 2 meals a week that have meat in it. I think I could get rid of meat if I tried, but I think cutting out dairy completely would be very difficult for me. As it is, I haven't had milk for years - being born lactose intolerant, I never drank the stuff, but did use it in cereal. The past few years, I've cut down on cheese and butter, but haven't really eliminated it.

Anyway, in the same WSJ article, they mention that data may show that those that have very low meat intake may live 3.6 years longer on average. That's pretty significant when you think about it.

Couple that with some of the data about the CR (calorie restriction) diet and other movements that have emerged like "slow food" in Europe and the rise of farmer's markets everywhere in the U.S and even Wal-Mart getting in on the organic thing and one is staring right in the face of the fact that people everywhere are waking up to what is obvious but systemic. We are the fish and the food that from the Archer Daniel Midlands and the Monsantos of the world is the water - we don't notice it until the data is overwhelming that it is limiting the possible lifespan of the average human being. Most everyone knows intellectually that eating bleached sugar and flour and "natural flavors" and high fructose corn syrup and tons of meat is not good for them, but they generally shrug and say, "eh, whaddaya gonna do?" and chow down.

When reading about technology, we always read about a "digital divide" - I think the next coined term is going to be the "diet divide". Clearly, the upper class generally know how and what to eat, are more health conscious and have the means to buy the foodstuffs from places that have up until lately have been largely boutique style outlets - and as a result live longer.

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