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We Must Reclaim Human Health, Sustainability, Environmental Justice, And Morality From The Birdseed Brigade

What do vegetarians in the United States eat?
Ella H Haddad and Jay S Tanzman.
Am J Clin Nutr 2003;78(suppl):626S–32S.

The data in this study was taken from the CSFII, a US government survey which measured dietary intake over two 24-hour periods.

I’ll save time and give you the punchline right away: Of self-defined vegetarians, nearly 2/3 (214/334, or 64%) ate a significant quantity of meat on at least one of the two days for which their dietary intake was surveyed!

That’s right: pick two random days out of the year, and 64% of self-proclaimed ‘vegetarians’ ate meat during it. How many ‘vegetarians’ do you suppose survived for the other 363 days without eating meat, either?

Furthermore, 436 self-proclaimed meat-eaters did not eat any meat during those two days — far exceeding the number of self-proclaimed ‘vegetarians’ (334), let alone the number of actual vegetarians (120)!

In fact, the total percentage of self-proclaimed meat-eaters who didn’t eat any meat on those two days (3.4%) was 3.7 times greater than the total percentage of self-proclaimed ‘vegetarians’ who were able to stop eating meat for two days (0.9%)!

So What Does “I’m A Vegetarian” Actually Mean?

It turns out that meat-eating ‘vegetarians’ eat roughly the same balance of macronutrients as admitted meat-eaters.

The word “macronutrient” has several different meanings, but the most common is “one of the three substances that provide metabolic energy for animals: protein, fat, and ‘carbohydrates’ (i.e. sugars).”

So they’re eating a similar balance of protein, fat, and sugar. However, meat-eating ‘vegetarians’ eat a very different diet than admitted meat-eaters. They consume:

  • 55% less beer
  • 36% less fried potatoes (i.e. French fries)
  • 35% less poultry
  • 26% less red meat
  • 16% less sugars and sweets
  • 72% more fish! Apparently there are a lot of people who think fish are vegetables.
  • 42% more legumes
  • 36% more ‘other vegetables’
  • 26% more fruit
  • 20% more tomatoes

Yet some food habits remained the same:

  • Grain intake. (Paleo isn’t mainstream.)
  • Total milk
  • Total fats and oils
  • Wine consumption

If we look at the absolute proportions of each, not just relative percentages, we see that, in general, meat-eating ‘vegetarians’ are consuming much less meat, beer, and french fries—and are consuming much more fruit, vegetables, and fish.

The data is clear: in America, ‘vegetarian’ doesn’t mean “I don’t eat animals.” It means “I am trying to eat a healthy diet according to the recommendations of our government, the ADA, and my doctor or nutritionist.” This is made abundantly clear by Table 5 of Haddad and Tanzman, which shows relative intake of traditional “health foods” (whole-grain bread, soy milk, tofu) to be several times higher amongst meat-eating ‘vegetarians’.

Sure, It’s Funny: But It’s A Sign Of The Omnivore’s Doom

It’s easy to point our fingers and laugh at ‘vegetarians’ who eat fish because “I don’t eat animals” means “I don’t eat cute animals. But I’m OK with destroying the ocean because fish aren’t cute and I can’t see into it.”

It’s even easier to point and laugh at the real vegetarians: “I’m OK with starving and poisoning animals by clear-cutting and sterilizing their habitat to grow grain and soybeans—so long as PETA doesn’t show me videos of them dying.”

And it’s easiest to laugh at ‘vegetarians’ who eat meat—because they know in their blood and bones that humans are predators, and their misplaced guilt can’t stop their bodies from demanding nourishing, healthy, nutrient-dense meat…

…but that’s absolutely the wrong approach, for two reasons. First, because most of them are genuinely trying to do the right thing. (I was once a vegetarian, and I was a guilty omnivore for even longer. It’s difficult to deny your body the nourishment it demands, and not done lightly.)

Second, because it exposes an uncomfortable truth. Let’s think for a moment about what this means:

It means that ‘vegetarian’ and ‘vegan’ have become synonymous with ‘healthy eating’ and ‘environmentalism’.

In other words, it means that a tiny minority of loud, pushy vegetarians and vegans have successfully hijacked our entire nutritional and environmental discourse!

Against all biology, against all chemistry, against all anthropology and paleontology, against all the controlled studies, against all instinct and common sense, they’ve managed to convince the world that the healthy and natural human diet consists of birdseed and diesel fuel! Yet we’ve become nothing but fatter and sicker since heeding their advice—and the obese, diabetic bodies continue to pile up.

I call ‘vegetable oil’ diesel fuel, because it’s healthier to put it in a truck than to eat it. I call grains ‘birdseed’ because that’s what’s evolutionarily adapted to eat them: birds. (And some rodents.)

And that’s why I call the tiny minority of pushy China Study-wielding vegans and misguided vegetarians “The Birdseed Brigade.” (As opposed to the majority of well-meaning folks who have been bamboozled by their tireless propaganda.)

Even worse, industrial grain production impoverishes our farmers, destroys our soil and our water, and leaves barren land, salt flats, and dead ocean deltas in its wake. It demands unimaginable amounts of fossil fuels to create nitrogen fertilizer, toxic herbicides and pesticides, and giant sowing and harvesting machines, and to transport the grain from the Midwest to where people actually live. It demands giant, river-killing dams to fill irrigation canals. It strip-mines fossil water, pumped from underground aquifiers that took millions of years to fill—all to grow corn, wheat, and soybeans on land best suited for grazing livestock on perennial grasses.

Did you know that 3-5% of world natural gas production—1-2% of the entire world energy supply—is required just to make ammonium nitrate fertilizer? No, that’s not a misprint.

And just to choose the most ironically named example, the “Fertile Crescent” is mostly barren desert—denuded forever by the agriculture that was invented there, and once flourished there. (It covers regions of modern-day Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria…countries known for being desert wastelands.) Here’s a satellite photograph:

Can you spot the 'fertile' part?

In short, industrial agriculture is an unmitigated environmental catastrophe. Yet, somehow, the Birdseed Brigade has managed to convince the world that grains and grain oils—the toxic, destructive products of industrial agriculture—are both nutritionally and environmentally superior to local, human-scale production of meat, eggs, and dairy! (Which, unlike agriculture, actually restores damaged land: read more here and here.)

Footnoting this article would take an entire book. Fortunately for me, someone else already wrote it: Lierre Keith, whose deeply-researched “The Vegetarian Myth” (available from Amazon, or direct from the author) is much more than a deconstruction of veganism and vegetarianism: it teaches us what it means to be alive on the Earth.

And though I’m not sure that her solution to agricultural civilization solves anything in the long run, it’s the most passionate yet clear-headed presentation of its intrinsic unsustainability I’ve read yet—far beyond Michael Pollan or any of the other apologists who think we can disappear on this Earth if we would just stop moving and eating so darned much.

Why Fighting Back And Spreading The Word Is Important: A Call To Arms

It’s important because the Birdseed Brigade wants to force us to eat unhealthy, tasteless, environmentally destructive industrial products, just like they do.

Denmark has already levied a tax on—wait for it—saturated fat.

Danish food industry sources slam ‘fat tax’
By Ben Bouckley, 14-Jan-2011

“Denmark introduced a tax based upon levels of saturated fats in all foods at the start of 2011…

The country’s tax ministry has calculated that butter prices will rise by 14% under the new tax regime, with margarine up 21% and whipped cream 12%…The least expensive duck will be 13.6 per cent more expensive this Christmas, while prices for the most expensive birds (with less fat) would only rise by 4.7%, thus penalising less affluent consumers.”

[And don't even ask what the extra tax on coconut oil (80% saturated) will be—because that will give you a heart attack.]

This means Danes are going to be eating a lot more omega-6 laden polyunsaturated vegetable oils…proven to increase the risk of heart disease! Yet, undeterred by the evidence, the Danish government pushes ahead:

“According to the Danish government-funded Forebyggelses Kommisionen (Prevention Commission), which assesses the nation’s health priorities, if the variable tax is levied for 10 years it will increase average life expectancy amongst the Danish population by 5.5 days.”

Say again? The best case, using the most brutally tortured fake statistics they can come up with, is 5.5 days? And they’re willing to slap on an extra 15-20% tax on real food to do it?

This is what we are up against. Paleo and Primal and Protein Power and low-carb and Atkins people, Weston A. Price disciples, real chefs and real grandmothers and real food eaters everywhere who refuse to stop cooking and eating delicious, healthy, natural animal foods—

—and don’t forget the poor, who live on the parts the rest of us won’t touch—

—THE TIME IS NOW.

The Birdseed Brigade Is Coming For You

The Birdseed Brigade is coming.

They’re coming for your butter, your coconut oil, your tallow and leaf lard. They’re coming for your prime rib, your pot roast, your liver and marrow. They’re coming for your eggs, your bacon, your cheese, and your jerky. And they are most definitely coming for your burgers and your ice cream.

This is no joke. They’re already pushing for a ‘sin tax’ on meat—as if the real sin isn’t the massive subsidies for destructive industrial agriculture that allow feedlots to exist in the first place, and that cause us to overproduce so much corn that we’re forced to add it to gasoline at a net energy loss and at considerable environmental damage!

This is not the time to be reticent, diffident, or demure. It is time to educate yourself, and educate others. It is time to forward your favorite articles, and to be generous with your paper books. And it is time to point anyone reading The China Study to Denise Minger.

It is not a time to apologize. Yet it is not a time to be self-righteous: what you eat (or don’t eat) does not make you a better person. Everyone gets enough of that from the Birdseed Brigade.

It is a time to be healthy and proud. You must speak out—but your body, your energy, your confidence, and your demeanor speak louder than your words.

Most of all, it is a time to feed real food to your family, your friends, and everyone else. All the guilt in the world can’t keep our bodies from craving what they need, and all the words in the world can’t describe a mouthful of creamy, delicious, life-sustaining saturated animal fat.

Live in freedom, live in beauty.

JS


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You might also enjoy Does Meat Rot In Your Colon?, The Term "Vegetable Oil" Is False Advertising, and the list of science-based diet references at the end of Eat Like A Predator.

And if you enjoy my writing here at gnolls.org, you’ll also enjoy my “Funny, provocative, entertaining, fun, insightful” novel The Gnoll Credo. (Read glowing reviews, read the first 20 pages, and if you’re outside the USA, click here.)

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50 comments

Permalink: We Must Reclaim Human Health, Sustainability, Environmental Justice, And Morality From The Birdseed Brigade
  • Chris

    Well said JS. Until I hit college, I never bothered to think about how destructive our agriculture system is. I always assumed, since those were the images I received from media, that farmer’s all had a set of livestock to help rebuild the ground. Boy, was I wrong once I hit the liberal college scene with a penchant for looking into agri-business and calling out ‘Bullshit’.

    Thanks for another interesting post!

  • Bodhi

    Wooo Whoooo!!! Preach on brother!!! I’m glad you liked Lierre Keith’s book. I think it is possibly one of the best books I’ve ever read. I hope this article will get the paleo community focused on fighting the real battle. Let’s get people eating real food!

  • Alyssa

    “It’s easy to point our fingers and laugh at ‘vegetarians’ who eat fish because ‘I don’t eat animals’ means ‘I don’t eat cute animals. But I’m OK with destroying the ocean because fish aren’t cute and I can’t see into it.’”

    When I wanted to go vegan, that’s how I was! My rule was to not eat cute things…with an exception for pork. Thankfully, I never did go vegan; it would’ve been too expensive for my parents.

    Anyway, I’ve heard about vegetarian and vegan diets being not as healthy for the environment as I thought they were, but I never really looked into it until you made this post. And I must say, thank you for making this post! I will make sure to check out The Vegetarian Myth. This gives me an even better incentive to avoid grains and seed oil…

    Oh, and you mentioning Denmark reminded me of this: http://livinlavidalowcarb.com/blog/poll-nearly-one-fourth-of-the-swedish-population-are-now-eating-low-carb/10337 I know that what’s talked about in what I linked is low-carb, but still. Let’s hope the rest of the world catches on, too! :)

  • Michelle

    Wow, excellent post – as always! That photo of the Fertile Crescent says a million words in itself!

    I didn’t know about the Denmark tax…that is insanity!!!

    I do agree with you that we need to speak up. It’s hard though because what we are saying seems like blasphemy to most people!

  • Katie @ Wellness Mam

    Great post as always! I’ve always disagreed with any kind of additional tax on food or drinks for this very reason. When we allow the government to tax things like alcohol, smoking, fast food, etc we also open the door for them to tax any food including saturated fats. This is a slippery slope considering most of the foods we consider healthiest go against government recommendations for “healthy eating”

  • Eric

    Next thing you know these loud pushy vegans are going to come after the actual words “meat” (often mistaken to mean animal flesh) and “milk” (commonly only used to refer to cow’s milk). I know. Scary isn’t it.

  • Chris:

    Definitely. The mental picture we all have of American farms is a family farm with cows, chickens, and pigs…nope. They're corn and soybean factories — strip-mining about an inch of topsoil a year to grow grains no one wants at the market price, but which the government pays for in order to keep agribusiness profitable.

    I don't blame the farmers: they're doing what we pay them to do, and the commodity distribution system is controlled by a few very large agribusinesses that force them to destroy the land in order to barely keep their heads above water. It's basically the modern version of sharecropping.

    Bodhi:

    Isn't it an excellent book?  I love it because it isn't a sniveling apology (“Meat isn't THAT bad…”) and because it teaches the entire cycle of life — that we can't just take and take from the land no matter whether we're taking meat or grains, and that the earth needs meat as much as we do.

    Alyssa:

    I'm sure you can find The Vegetarian Myth through the library system: that's where I first read it.  It's an easy read, it's personal, passionate, and not dry science at all…and it's a real eye-opener.  (I'm familiar with the ground it covers because of my research, but most people won't be.)

    Sweden being heavily low-carb is fascinating!  Thanks for linking that…it makes sense, though, given that there aren't a lot of crops that grow so far north.

    Michelle:

    Yes, it seems like insanity…but your own health and vitality is the best possible argument.  Be calm, but be proud!  We need to make sure that people are at least exposed to paleo nutrition, even if they don't necessarily buy it…they can only pass 'sin taxes' if everyone agrees it's a sin.

    Katie:

    Not only is it a slippery slope, it's a regressive tax.  And for anyone who hasn't been to Katie's site yet, check out wellnessmama.com.

    Eric:

    Veggie 'burgers' and soy 'milk'.

    Everybody:

    Thank you all for letting me know you enjoy my articles!  It makes a huge difference to know that.  

    This one was actually a combination of two articles I've been thinking about for a while, but didn't realize were related until I was almost finished with the first.

    JS

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  • Dana

    FYI, for those who don’t know, the Fertile Crescent used to be a forest. You know the cedars of Lebanon? They used to grow in Iraq too. I understand that in places the trees grew so thickly that sunlight never touched the forest floor.

    THAT is what agriculture in the “cradle of civilization” destroyed.

  • Dana:

    Correct.  And the forests of New England stretched all the way to Iowa.

    Of course, Paleolithic man drove hundreds of animal species to extinction, so hunters aren't blameless here either.  But agriculture doesn't just destroy individual species: it destroys entire ecosystems.

    JS

  • Nat

    I agree that the gmo pesticide laden soy, corn, and wheat agriculture is destroying our environment, but if the large majority of the meat consumed in our society is being fed these grains, then how is producing more meat, eggs, and dairy better than producing more grains?

  • Nat:

    • If we didn't subsidize industrial agriculture so heavily, it wouldn't be cost-effective to feed them to cattle.
    • Less than 19% of the USA is arable (suitable for growing row crops) — and much of that only because of gigantic, destructive dams and water projects that irrigate the desert at massive taxpayer cost.  Yet ruminants can graze almost anywhere.  Pasture isn't necessarily taking land away from agriculture.
    • We can do our best by choosing to purchase grass-finished and pastured animal products as often as possible.  And indeed, our choices are having a huge impact.  The grass-fed beef industry has grown from insignificance in the 1980s to a major presence now, and it continues to grow each year.

    JS

  • beth

    I live in Australia with a rather small percentage of the population educated about nourishing traditions, paleo inspired living and the true health and environmental consequences of grain agriculture.
    Environmentalists here are all pushing the vego/vegan agenda for “health” and “sustainability” and suddenly I find myself on the fringe.. of the fringe!
    So, in fighting this fight pretty hard, I came up with a t-shirt slogan that I don’t mean, but quote to amuse myself and keep me sane in the face of arguing with overly sentimental, irrational (and often times, angry) vegans..
    SAFE THE PLANET – EAT A VEGAN!
    hehehe..

  • beth:

    Try to find the ones that eat the most simple carbs: their livers will be delicious, even if there isn't much meat on their bones.

    And don't despair: the percentage is very small here, too.  But it grows every day.  Your health is the best advertisement.

    JS

  • Ella

    This is kind of funny because, first of all, yes I’m a vegitarian and have not eaten any meat since. But whoever posted this seems to be pretty confident that I have. I also don’t eat fish… and in fact my main reason for vegetarianism was because of the oceans, so I eat absolutely NO sea creature. Now a days, pigs are eating more fish that is being made into fishmeal than all the worlds sharks put together. Also, this article makes you think vegetarianism is really unhealthy. I’ve actually never felt better. If you’re stupid and don’t get the right nutrients in that may not be so healthy, but that’s the same with any diet. And you may think that being vegetarian is going to ruin landscapes with grain fields, but how do you think we feed our cattle? We have to grow significant amounts of grain to feed them. So we have the fields established to feed the worlds population, and the fields to feed livestock. Cows don’t just eat grass you know.

  • primordial

    No, Ella. Who posted this just gave you the facts, namely that vegeterians eat more meat in general and also were more health-conscious about their food decisions. He didn't talk about you. Do you see the difference between an individual and statistics?

    So, how exactly did you change your diet? Did you just stopped eating meat without any other changes? How does your diet look like? Since when are you a vegetarian?

    If you eat grass-fed animals you don't ruin the landscapes, you even help establishing sustainable food production which protects and nourishs the soil, the people who keep the animals, and those who eat it.

    By the way, if you still eat eggs, butter and milk products, but changed your diet to whole foods, maybe less grains, it is clear that you can be indeed healthier than before and I am happy you feel better.

  • Ella:

    As primordial stated, statistics are different than reality.  Most self-described vegetarians eat meat, but not all do…and in a country with over 300 million people, even small minorities are strongly represented in terms of absolute numbers.

    Actually, cows do “just eat grass.”  Grain is not a cow's natural diet any more than it is ours.  We feed them grain because the government subsidizes it so heavily, and because it makes them fat very quickly.  Cows cannot eat a wholly grain-based diet for more than a few months or they die.

    I actually sympathize with your point about the oceans: we're strip-mining them for fish just like we're strip-mining the Appalachians for coal.

    As far as vegetarianism being unhealthy, I've said before that it's totally possible to have a healthy vegetarian diet: eggs and butter are wonderful foods.  It's the vegans that require artificial supplementation.  But it's much easier to eat a healthy omnivorous diet…and since veal calves are an inevitable product of milk production and industrial egg production is even crueler than a slaughterhouse, well…

    JS

  • njs

    I recently discovered your site and I find a lot of insight in your writing. It seems like you’ve done a great deal of research on these subjects.

    From this article, I can’t tell if you’re against all agriculture or just “industrial” agriculture. Do you feel humans should never have adopted the practice?

  • njs:

    Whether we should or should not have, the fact remains that we did. 

    Therefore, the important question is: now what?

    JS

  • njs

    That does lead to my next question. Animals require more resources to raise than plants, correct? Do you feel we could feed our planet (or even our country) if everyone followed your diet?

  • njs:

    We can't feed our planet right now: as I point out in the article, our current system of industrial agriculture is unsustainable in every respect.

    As far as grazing, I wrote above in the comments, “Less than 19% of the USA is arable (suitable for growing row crops) — and much of that only because of gigantic, destructive dams and water projects that irrigate the desert at massive taxpayer cost.  Yet ruminants can graze almost anywhere.  Pasture isn't necessarily taking land away from agriculture.”

    There will be a painful period of adjustment ahead as we find out that the Earth cannot feed seven billion people no matter what we do.  The important question is “What do we replace the current system with?”

    JS

  • J.M.

    Hello, I know I’m late to the discussion, but seriously what makes you think we can`t feed 7 billion or more people with the adequate methods? So far no scientific explanation has been given about why we think this world is overpopulated. Do we really know the capacity of this world, respect to what we are overpopulated? What standard do you apply in reaching a conclusion there are too many people? Do you apply the criteria of (a) the world’s ability to produce enough food to feed everyone or (b) the ability of each individual country to feed its people? We know conventional agriculture cannot do this, but maybe, just maybe paleo friendly husbandry practices and organic agriculture will be able to do it however a serious overhaul of all major contaminating industries and energy generating sources has to be made. A shift to cleaner energies (not wind or biofuels but hidrogen, efficient solar and thorium along with LENR) could have happened several years ago, were it not for the Powers that be.

    The same people behind birdseed brigade is looking for an excuse to wipe out most of humanity, just so they get a planetwide country club (Georgia Guidestones). Please don`t follow their faulty and deceptive logic and statements.

  • J.M.:

    Because everything we consume is being depleted at a massively unsustainable rate. 

    “There will be virtually nothing left to fish from the seas by the middle of the century if current trends continue, according to a major scientific study.  Stocks have collapsed in nearly one-third of sea fisheries, and the rate of decline is accelerating.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6108414.stm

    Where do we get high-quality protein from when the fish are gone?  We are already strip-mining our topsoil to grow food:

    “The estimate is that we are now losing about 1 percent of our topsoil every year to erosion, most of this caused by agriculture…cropland in the U.S. is being eroded at least 10 times faster than the time it takes for lost soil to be replaced.”
    http://www.seattlepi.com/national/348200_dirt22.html

    This is all despite the Haber process, by which 3-5% of world natural gas production is used to make ammonium nitrate so that we can grow more crops more quickly.  And while grazing is certainly more sustainable than agriculture, it's silly to argue that we can get the meat equivalent of 200 bushels of corn per acre out of turning Iowa farmland into prairie.

    “During a remarkably short period of time, we have lost a quarter of the world's topsoil and a fifth of its agricultural land, altered the composition of the atmosphere profoundly, and destroyed a major proportion of our forests and other natural habitats without replacing them. Worst of all, we have driven the rate of biological extinction, the permanent loss of species, up several hundred times beyond its historical levels, and are threatened with the loss of a majority of all species by the end of the 21st century.” -AAAS Atlas of Population and Environment

    And let's not even talk about basic things like access to fresh water.

    Hell, just look out your window.  Or travel to India, China, or Sub-Saharan Africa.  The only reason they exist is because six countries (USA, Canada, Argentina, France, Australia, Thailand) have enough extra land to provide 90% of the world's grain exports.  Sure, the US can probably feed itself sustainably…but we can't feed the rest of the world that way, too.  And we'd need at least three extra Earths if we wanted every one of the seven billion to enjoy the same lifestyle you and I now enjoy.

    I don't have a good solution — but denial isn't part of it.  If we don't solve the problem ourselves, nature will solve it for us via catastrophic suffering on a scale we can't even imagine.

    JS

  • Squirenetic

    First off, I want to thank you for an excellent, inspiring blog! Also, I do want to read the Gnoll Credo, but I’d really appreciate an ebook version, is this available from somewhere?

    With regards to the question of sustainability, this lecture by Allan Savory was a great revelation to me, and it has incredibly implications. Watch this lecture, then imagine reclaiming the fertile crescent, acre by acre, using these methods. Turning this arid desert hell into fertile grassland, roamed by millions upon millions of livestock. I believe it’s possible.

  • Squirenetic:

    We'll probably cave eventually and make an ebook version, but there is no release date.  Also, I wouldn't expect it to cost a lot less than the paperback.

    Thanks for the vote of support, and the video!  I'm familiar with Savory's work, but that's a good presentation of it.  Do stick around.

    JS

  • J.M.

    My response is not denial Stanton, for me the only way out of this mess is our ingenuity if we have any left. If Malthus predictions had been true, we wouldn`t even be here. By the way Mr. Stanton if you believe the so called Global Warming after all that`s happened (failed models, weather irregular patterns that don't fit the warm earth model as well as e-mails that prove collusion between scientists in order to continue with the script to the public or Climategate), one could say you are the one in denial. If you look at earth history with unbiased eyes you would most likely understand that more severe changes have been experienced before (There is a reason Greenland was called like that at the beginning of the Middle Ages) and the current Global Warming propaganda is no more than a hoax http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va'…..;aid=17769 , http://iceagenow.com/Its_the_Sun_stupid.htm

    (link to Youtube video)

    By the way I agree with you on this: Under the current model of development we don`t have much time as species. Maybe less than a century before a plague, a war or disruption in our supply chains either at the origin (crop massive failure) or in the middle (natural disasters) kills billions of our species. What I suggested was a change of paradigm not only in agriculture but in how we behave as species, how we conduct our operations (industry, consumption pattern, power consumption and energy resources, urbanization models, exploration, exploitation of resources, even in medicine, right now medications of all sorts from contraceptives to anti-depressants are polluting the seas and the soil) if we are to preserve this planet. Our current situation can be compared with a child that poops in his lunch pack. Both of us know it will lead to no good.

    I don`t know what the answer is but I know as a supply chain professional that “the nothing can be done just let it all go to the Hell” approach has never resolved any problem in human history. And that`s the approach the elite that rules this world is taking because they think they can. Don't believe me?

    And of course we cannot forget to mention CNN founder and multibillionaire Ted Turner. Turner is a member of the Society of the Pacifica House, the secret society of Brown University which is very similar to the Skull and Bones at Yale University; it is interesting to note that Turner is also a long-time member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Turner is also UN supporter and founder of the United Nations Foundation. He was quoted as saying; “Personally, I think the population should be closer to when we had indigenous populations, back before the advent of farming. Fifteen thousand years ago, there was somewhere between 40 and 100 million people. But [population researchers] Paul and Anne Ehrlich have convinced me that if we're going to have a modern infrastructure, with commercial airlines and interstate highways around the world, we're going to need about two billion people to support it.” In an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he stated; “We're too many people; that's why we have global warming,” and that “everybody in the world's got to pledge to themselves that one or two children is it.” It should be noted that Ted Turner has five children. http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/news/stories/2008….._0404.html, Tracey C. Rembert, “Ted Turner: Billionaire, Media Mogul … And Environmentalist” (Interview), E Magazine, January/February 1999, Volume X, number 1, p. 10

    For more references look this: http://www.population-growth-migration.info/essays…..ganic.html

    Unfortunately I think millions will die before real change can be enacted, but once we have changed we will be more rational and able to sustain a greater population if need be (don't worry we'll have less people at the end of this century than you think).

  • SentWest

    I’ve been reading through your articles, and haven’t seen it mentioned yet in the articles or comments, but of course agribusiness and agripolitics would do their best to mainstream veg*ism!

    Veg*ans, with few exceptions for the deeply thinking types, are going to remove meats from their diets and immediately substitute with grain products, soy products, and processed products of the sort that use disproportionate amounts of highly subsidized crops. I hypothesis that veg*ans in fact eat more of these products than your general meat-eating citizen.

    It is a fantastic market for all the “healthy” expensive things that live in boxes in the middle of Whole Foods, and everyone can feel good about themselves for financially and bodily consuming them.

  • SentWest:

    You're absolutely correct: there is a lot of mainstream political power behind the push for veg*anism.

    It's not as simple as “they're eating more corn and soy”, though…eating factory-farmed meat consumes more corn and soy by proxy than eating the corn and soy directly.  It's a matter of maintaining an economic system predicated on infinite exponential growth by continuing to pack exponentially more people onto the Earth…and the only way to keep it from collapsing for a few more decades is to convince all of us to eat birdseed instead of real food.

    JS

  • J.M.:

    I’m not sure why you bring up global climate change, as none of my points depend on it.  (Though any change will most certainly make the crises worse…and it doesn’t matter what causes the change.  A broken window is a broken window.)  

    And I’m pretty sure that none of the elite have the solution, either — because the global financial industry is dependent on infinite exponential growth, so what they’re going to do is rig the game so they’re holding all the real property when it collapses (see: Argentina) and start the whole game up again.  

    The problem is that we’re hitting some more hard limits.  Malthus was correct for centuries, up until the Haber process was discovered…and now that agricultural productivity is flattening out again and the free protein from the oceans is running out (not to mention the topsoil thing), we’ve got some new limitation that will be much more difficult, or impossible, to get around.

    I think we’re mostly in agreement, though, on the sequence of events: there’s not one big Mad Max collapse.  What happens is things slowly get more expensive, more crowded, less reliable, and more third-world as the supply chains of heretofore inexhaustible resources become less and less dependable.  And there will be no benevolent entities working to prevent or mitigate the crises: their motivation will be to precipitate them in ways that allow them to profit.  See: the current Eurozone follies.

    JS 

  • Katherine

    The issue is uncontrolled population growth and those who, like JM, not only support but encourage it. There really is no way to feed all the people we have in a sustainable way, and the idea of even voluntary population control has been silenced since the time of Reagan and the compromises he made to get the support of the Christian right.

  • Katherine:

    Unfortunately, both our Social Security system and our entire economic system of fractional reserve banking depend on infinite exponential growth to fund them, because they're both pyramid schemes.  This is why bankers and politicians are unwilling to face the problem.

    JS

  • [...] What worries me is that this isolated story from Chicago seems to be part of a growing worldwide trend, with recent reports of Denmark placing a tax on saturated fats. [...]

  • Margaret

    Well said. What drives me nuts is that 99% of the population thinks a vegetarian diet is the healthiest diet and that “vegan” is the ultimate in health. And they have learned this from the popular media. I follow the Weston A. Price diet of whole foods–raw dairy, pastured meat and eggs from small farmers, seafood, wild-caught fish, vegetables, and a little fruit and soaked nuts. I just eliminated rice (my only grain). I eat no processed foods or sweets. My lunch at work consists of leftovers from my dinners and I never partake of the corporate pizza lunches (which would make me very ill), or the corporate candy. The other day, the receptionist said to a new employee, “Margaret always eats so healthy” and then he said to me, “oh, are you a vegetarian?”. I just wanted to scream. I’m so tired of the assumption that vegetarian=healthy. My cousin informed me that she and her husband are now “mostly vegan” to be “proactive” about their health. I suppose it’s better than the Standard American Diet, but they won’t get the nutrients they need over the long-term.

  • Margaret:

    Almost any diet is healthier than the Standard American Diet, because the first tenet of any diet is to cut out obvious junk like soda, candy, and Cheetos.  And the low-fat veg*ans eliminate, by necessity, massive amounts of pro-inflammatory omega-6-based “vegetable oils” from their diet, which is also healthy. 

    The problem with this scenario is that fasting becomes the ultimate in health, because you're not eating anything toxic!  Of course, you're not eating anything at all, and you starve to death.  I wrote about this here: The New Vegan High.

    JS

  • Vegantic

    The birdseed brigade! I love it – you made me laugh out loud.

  • Vegantic:

    I do my best.  Thanks for the vote of support!

    JS

  • T. Williams

    J.S.:

    Read the book, follow the site, love it!

    A one time vegetarian I’ve converted myself and a few family, friends and co-workers to follow a “Paleo” approach, all have had astounding improvement in health and happiness.

    Recently, relatively affordable grass fed beef has become available here on Oahu providing a sustainable food source and income for local ranchers. This is only possible because the demand has been recognized and demand rose because people are being enlightened by sites like yours.

    Keep up the good work!

    TW

  • pzo

    The posting that refuses to die. Your writings are not limited by time. I see T. Williams posted just four days ago.

    No one has ever addressed, here or elsewhere, that I’ve ever seen how vegetarianism and veganism are modern, recent diets that depend hugely on year round supplies of fresh and frozen foods from all over the world.

    All those nice grapes and apples flown in from Chile at great hydrocarbon expense are the most obvious examples. Even here in Florida, mangoes are only a midsummer crop, and avacados in the fall. Summer is our winter as far as growing a vegetable garden, too hot and humid for most plants. Yet, like anywhere in America, every delight is available at Publix year round.

    I’ve found that vegans tend to be hugely scientifically illiterate, believing all kinds of mythology that someone else told them. It’s a religion without a god or goddess.

    It also occurs to me that The China Study is Ancel Keyes all over again. Selected data, lies, and Cargill/ADM have been intentionally misleading the public for forty years now, against all our evolutionary instincts and preferences.

    Carry on!

  • @PZO – I've blogged a bit about the modernity of veg*nism and how it is only really feasible in the West amongst the relatively affluent middle-classes who can afford out-of-season foods (with their attendent air miles and high carbon footprint). 

     

    I've also mentioned 'ghost acres' – or 'phantom carrying capacity'.  This is a measure of how trade and fishing are ways for the rich nations to gain extraterritorial acres to support themselves above and beyond the resources of their own land (usually at the expense of poorer nations).  Worth looking in to.

  • T. Williams:

    I'm glad The Gnoll Credo spoke to you. 

    And I'm glad to hear that something more sustainable than imported Spam is becoming available on the islands!  All that fresh volcanic soil might not be the best for agriculture, but one can certainly graze ruminants on it…

     

    pzo:

    You're absolutely correct.  Fruits and veggies are seasonal: the only non-seasonal food sources for humans are meat and tubers.  And I've noted before that vegetarianism and veganism are indeed religious in origin, although I haven't written an article on the subject.

    Politics loves pseudoscience…it's a cloak of respectability thrown over naked greed.

     

    Asclepius:

    “Ghost acres” is a great term which I haven't heard before (though I'm familiar with the concept).  The ocean, in particular, has been strip-mined for protein (“fished”, “trawled”) for decades.  Any discussion of earth's “carrying capacity” that doesn't mention the impact of this unsustainable contribution is intellectually bankrupt.

    JS

  • [...] there are environmental reasons not to eat wheat:We Must Reclaim Human Health, Sustainability, Environmental Justice, And Morality From The Birdseed … And Robb Wolf had William Davis on his podcast a couple of years ago: The Paleo Solution – [...]

  • Jurik

    Hey,

    The problem about lack of fruits in winter is very easy to solve. During the summer take a part of your fruits and dry them using solar power. It is a method used thousands of years on this earth. The biggest problem in the modern world, is that we are too much attached to our technologies. People lived on earth for thousands of years, even in the coldest parts of the world.

    More than this I suggest everyone to switch to an alternative lifestyle check out what is wellness or any other resource to switch to a correct, tested by centuries lifestyle. Wellness and natural health has been on earth since egyptians.

    It is scary to see what is happening to us, grass feeded animals are a luxury, I am here in europe and it is very hard to find such meats. People look at you like to an insane person when they hear something like that. For centuries people were fed with grass feeded animals – now it is hard to find it. Where does this world goes with this things?

    Take care everyone, and I agree with the first part of the topic We Must Reclaim Human Health! We must untill we will not become somekind of zombies.

  • Jurik:

    Based on the archaeological record, I would argue that “wellness” long predates the Egyptians — or any agricultural civilization!  

    However, it is true that we are making the problem of “healthy eating” far too difficult.  As I said in another article: Eat anything you could pick, dig, or spear.  If we eat within that paradigm, we usually come out pretty well.

    It's unfortunate that government subsidies for growing grains have made grass-fed meat so expensive!  Hopefully we're making it profitable enough that more ranchers will start producing it.

    JS

  • […] school lunches will continue to be crypto-vegetarian, protein-deficient piles of birdseed (also known as “hearthealthywholegrains”) and limp steamed vegetables. As I said years ago, […]

  • […] via We Must Reclaim Human Health, Sustainability, Environmental Justice, And Morality From The Birdseed …. […]

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