I’m not into arguments. I usually find them counterproductive, unnecessary, dumb, etc. Magically, in the three-plus years my boyfriend and I have been together, the only thing we’ve argued about is directions, and that’s because I apparently can’t tell left from right, and he doesn’t know cardinal directions. What’re ya gonna do? Anyway, those arguments don’t last long.
Now, debates I like. Anytime, anywhere. A debate requires thought and reason, and you have to push aside your own biases the best you can. You’re also required not to be a bitch about whatever the subject is. That’s a good thing.
So le boyfriend was telling me a story about one of his co-workers, who we shall call… Steakerella. Yeah, that’ll do. Okay, so Steakerella apparently eats a lot of red meat. Like a steak for dinner every night. Her doctor told her that she needs to cut back to about once a week so that she can lose some weight, and of course, improve her health. Sound advice, I’d say.
Steakerella, however, is not happy. Understandable. You’re used to having something all the time, it probably helps your day feel complete, and duh, it tastes delish. She seems to feel though, that her right to happiness is being taken away when her doctor tells her, that for the sake of her health, she should cut back. He’s not putting her on a strict diet. He’s just saying, ration your red meat. Still, she says, No one can take away my red meat. When another co-worker tried to give her advice on how to make a hearty salad, she called him a hippie.
It’s probably better that I don’t know this girl. When someone has an attitude like that towards common-sense dietary advice, it makes me feel defensive. When I see my dad, a colon and lung cancer survivor, often make less-than-stellar food choices, I keep my mouth shut for two reasons: a) he’s not a child, and after all the books he’s read and my brother nagging him, he still doesn’t seem to want to really try, and b) I don’t want to get heated up about it and start preaching– I don’t agree with that. So if I was in my boyfriend’s shoes, talking to Steakerella, I know I’d get unnecessarily pissed. But I still feel it’s important to somehow, somewhere, lay out the reasons why we need to reconfigure our food system. So I’ll do that here, in a hypothetical argument against Steakerella’s dilemma.
Point one. If you could only see the inside of your body. If you could talk to your arteries, your colon, your lungs, your pancreas, your stomach, and various other organs, they’d probably tell you that they often feel tired, or sick, or both. It’s not just about losing weight. There are plenty of hefty vegetarians out there, whether that’s their natural build, or they are also eating junk. Red meat may be a good source of iron, B12, and some other minerals, but it also contains carcinogens. It can also trigger our own bodies to actually produce carcinogens. Colon cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, esophageal cancer, stomach cancer. And yes, there are more cancers that are correlated with high consumption of red meat. Not to mention arthritis, and various heart problems due to the saturated fat and cholesterol hanging out in the arteries. And diabetes.
I shouldn’t have to go on about the health risks, I think the news can do that for you. You might also want to look at the older people around you who have the same beefy diet. How many are there? How many have an abundance of medications in their cabinet? How many complain about their joints, their digestion, or being tired? Just as an example, there are reasons that traditional Asian and Mediterranean diets are associated with longer lifespans. One of them is not the elimination of red meat, simply less. And word on the street is that they’re generally happy. But if you’d rather pay for your happiness through arthritis and heart meds, maybe even chemotherapy, or losing a section of your colon, then I’ll just stop here with the health reasons.