Thursday, September 20, 2007

Soylent Green is people!

I haven't bought meat since I moved into my apartment. I've eaten some at meals with my family. When it's provided, I sometimes partake, but I don't feel any great need to cook it for myself. When mad cow first reached North America, my family cut way back on beef consumption. My mom added soyburgers to the list of frozen staples she keeps on hand for quick meals. With cheese and mayonnaise they aren't exactly health food, but they are tasty and still lower in fat than decent ground beef. (Really lean beef isn't good in burgers. It just isn't.)

For the most part, I'm satisfied with a mostly vegetarian diet with occasional seafood. A really great cheeseburger once every few months is enough red meat. Am I saving money by living this way? Probably not, even though the lowest possible cost vegetarian diet is certainly cheaper than a meat based diet. I haven't run the numbers, but I suspect I could get cheap beef or turkey for less than a soyburger, although beans and rice beat them all. Am I improving my health? I'm not sure. I still like cheese, which isn't exactly low fat, and I now have to be more careful to consume enough protein and supplement my iron with a good multivitamin.

I like meat. It's a normal part of the human diet, but not in the quantities modern Americans eat. Frankly, the environmental cost of meat production is significant, and we have a better shot at feeding the world's growing population if we don't divert so many of our resources to livestock. Meat is an indulgence, a great treat to be savored, but it shouldn't be at the center of every meal.

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