As a doctor, I focus on removing meat and dairy products from the diet for disease prevention, but many folks choose to eschew meat to reduce their carbon footprint. Just as we can no longer ignore food’s impact on our own health, we can’t ignore food’s role in climate change either.
For your eco-conscious friends who still chow down on cheeseburgers, there’s a new documentary emphasizing the meat industry’s global environmental impact. Cowspiracy slams home the fact that meat production is the number-one source of greenhouse gases and deforestation. And while parts of the United States are facing a drought, it takes 660 gallons of water to produce a single hamburger.
Al Gore, Bill Gates, and James Cameron have all been decidedly outspoken about how meat production and consumption affect both health and the environment. Research shows that animal products are bad for humans—leading to an increased risk of heart disease, cancer, obesity, and diabetes. Moving meat products off your plate—for whatever reason— will have a lasting impact on your own health and the environment.
One of these a day can keep the doctor away!
Planning your Halloween menu? Here are some facts you might share with your friends:
Rigor mortis, the stiffening of a corpse shortly after death, is a key aspect of the meat industry. Yes, meat comes from a corpse, and dead cows, chickens, pigs, and other animals develop rigor mortis, just as dead humans do. Meat scientists actually measure rigor mortis with a device aptly named a rigorometer, which quantifies the stiffness of muscle tissues in the hours after death.
Rigor mortis makes meat tough. So, to soften stiffening corpses, many slaughterhouses, especially those slaughtering cows and lambs, apply electrical current, causing the muscles to repeatedly contract and relax, which prevents the shortening of the muscle fibers. That way, corpses are easier to eat.
If that image is off-putting, the good news is that certain foods never get rigor mortis. Instead of chicken fingers, leg of lamb, and baby back ribs for your Halloween buffet, how about serving butternut soup, chunky vegetable chili, and rigatoni with vegetables. These are treats without the tricks!
The Physicians Committee is calling out Arby’s for misleading its 263,000 Twitter followers. The company’s recent #meatcraft tweets claimed that “Protein is better in meat form.” The truth is that animal protein is linked to several diseases, while plant protein is not. To protect public health, the Physicians Committee has filed a legal petition asking the Federal Trade Commission to halt this deceptive messaging:
Meat is high in cholesterol and saturated fat and many studies have found that meat consumption is linked with premature death from a variety of causes. In fact, processed meat products—like the deli slices found on Arby’s sandwiches—are so strongly linked with colorectal cancer that no amount is considered safe for consumption. Despite the known cancer risk, Arby’s has stated via Twitter, “If you’re not eating bacon, you’re not doing it right.”
Arby’s messaging perpetuates the myth that meat is the pinnacle of protein—when that’s just not true. Lentils have 17.9 grams of protein per cup. Split peas have 16 grams. Both of these protein sources are high in fiber and completely free of cholesterol and saturated fat.
Tell Arby’s that you don’t appreciate its nutritional misinformation by retweeting @PCRM’s tweet or sharing the image below!