Monday, February 06, 2012

What Do You Think They Are Feeding The Cows?

Another Dr. Cinque post, because he has a way with words:
Lifestyle Blamed For 40 Percent Of Cancers

He's talking about a British study that said 40% of cancers in women, and 45% in men, were attributable to lifestyle, specifically smoking, diet, alcohol, and weight - in that order.

About diet he said:
"When it came to a lack of fruits and vegetables causing cancer, they found that men were twice as likely to be dietarily deficient in these foods than women. Do men still think that fruits and vegetables are sissy foods? Very well, more for me."
I never heard it put that way, sissy foods. Do men view foods along a continuum of virility? Do women? Where would cheese fall?

Here he went on about our lack of labeling of genetically engineered foods:
"But, since the state is busy waging the valiant War on Potheads, it should not be surprising to learn that the United States is one of the few developed nations in the world that does not to require the labeling of genetically engineered foods. Just think: even in Communist China you get to know if your food was genetically modified. It is required by law over there that they tell you. But, here in the good old USA, that’s one freedom we don’t have. Russia is another country that requires labeling of GM foods. You see, Monsanto does not have much power over there like it does here.

Well, I hope you are a health-fooder like me because it's estimated that 70% of processed foods contain some genetically engineered materials. Over 80% of the corn and soybeans grown in the U.S. are now genetically engineered. And if you think that’s a good reason to skip the corn and soybeans and go for the steak instead, what do you think they are feeding the cows? The vast majority of the livestock that Americans consume have been raised on genetically engineered grains. It’s higher than in any other country in the world.

I do not eat meat- at all- but if I did, I would not go to the supermarket to buy it. Instead, I would seek out special producers who guaranteed high standards of production through every step in the production process and no GM fodder. But, I am very content to live without it."
I wondered how much US grain goes to feed livestock. I found:
"According to American Corn Growers Association, ca. 80% of corn grown in US is used to feed livestock worldwide."
- College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison
If American consumers ever won their request for GMO labels, would it include meat? No wonder there's such a strong push-back from industry against labeling. These foods are everywhere.

I wish Dr. Cinque allowed comments. But strong opinions invite strong criticism, which is not always, in this venue, dished out civilly.


Anonymous said...

I think for a lot of men, food is viewed through a continuum of virility and has been for a long time. I was reading Ghandhi's Autobiography, for instance, and he wrote about how Indian men were increasingly tempted to stray from vegetarianism by Western claims that eating meat made men more virile. These Indians championed meat eating as a way to throw off British imperialism. The phenomenon is pretty well documented in the 19th century. In our contemporary moment, feminist bloggers such as Amanda Marcotte locate the resistance of right-wingers to the healthy eating initiatives of Michelle Obama to the right-wings misogyny. Here are a few of her articles, they might be interesting to you.

On a level of personal observation, this makes a lot of sense. Just look at commercials that with men and food -- women are given a series of messages linking eat well to being skinny. Ads aimed at men: beer, pizza, chicken wings, and BARBQ.

Besides for the cultural sense that it is emasculating to eat sissy salad, there is also the fact that because of prescribed gender roles, we might think about this in light of the fact that fewer men cook. Vegetables generally involve more cooking -- and despite what people want to claim about women's work -- it involves skill. Cooking vegetables and eating them is for girls.

RB said...

Most men I know love their meat. Nothing better than going to a steak house and ordering a 20 oz. New York strip steak. But of course we must have meat, we are the top of the food chain; we not at the top to eat veggies. And we all know meat is the "only source of protein". How could a man get enough protein to be big and strong if he didn't eat meat. We only need to eat a few veggies to keep the wife happy.

I haven't heard veggie called sissy food but I've heard plenty of people disparage veggies as "rabbit food."

People also worry about pesticides and chemical on veggies. They don't seem to realize the animals grown for meat production eat the same pesticide laden veggies and those pesticides accumulate in the animal fat. So we get an extra good dose of pesticides in our meat.

Speaking of fat, meat is a good source of saturated fat. All those protein lovers don't seem to realize they getting too much saturated fat with their meat protein.

But most people I know think no meal is complete without meat and meat is the healthiest thing on their plate. Score one for the meat industry.

Regarding lack of labeling, I think its simply because American has become a country "Of the corporations, by the corporations, for the corporations." The Supreme Court's Citizens United decision made sure of that.

Bix said...

RB, omg, don't get me started with the "protein"...

That bit about China and Russia requiring labeling of GM foods, if it's true ... ugh. So, Europe, Australia, China, Russia, a huge slice of the developed world! And 90% of Americans want labels too! Seriously, what is holding this up? Can one company really be that powerful?

Bix said...

Anonymous, great stuff. I just looked at the Panadagon site. There is so much there, not just the food category. I've bookmarked it for future reads.

Interesting point... that for women eating well means being skinny, for men eating well means being beefy?

I wonder what the feminine (or masculine) ideal was in paleo times.

caulfieldkid said...

Bittman was on "Market Place" yesterday (NPR). He mentioned that meat consumption, in the U.S., was down 12% since 2007. I was surprised by that. That's a massive change.

What if we could be down 25% by 2017?


Bix said...

25% by 2017. Hm, well, if we were, and if the low-carb hypothesis is right, obesity will be through the roof.

Bix said...

How about that, it is down.

I wonder why. Thanks, shaun. Maybe I'll put up this graph.