CAN WE REALLY SAVE THE PLANET BY ELIMINATING MEAT FROM OUR DIETS?
"The diet addresses the major role of farming – especially livestock – in driving climate change, the destruction of wildlife and the pollution of rivers and oceans. North Americans need to eat 84% less red meat but six times more beans and lentils. For Europeans, eating 77% less red meat and 15 times more nuts and seeds meets the guidelines." From an article in one of last week's issues of The Guardian (New Plant-Focused Diet Would 'Transform' Planet’s Future, Say Scientists)
"This was clearly a highly biased group, and the outcome of their report was therefore inevitably a foregone conclusion. Convening a one-sided group on a topic cannot be expected to produce a balanced outcome. It would be like pretending to negotiate an agreement in Congress with only one party at the table. Like-minded people talking to themselves is not a scientific debate, and the product of these inbred conversations cannot be considered a scientific product." Nina T, chiming in from her blog (discussed below)
If you are a person who eschews meat because of a love of animals; while I don't necessarily agree with that viewpoint, I get it. However, if you are a person who avoids meat because you believe it's good for the health of both our planet and the people living on our planet, research has shown that this is simply not true (I'll show you why momentarily).
I bring this up because one of the oldest and most celebrated medical journals in the world (LANCET) recently published a position paper (you would be correct in calling it a "MEDICAL GUIDELINE"), by 37 authors, titled Food in the Anthropocene: The EAT–Lancet Commission on Healthy Diets From Sustainable Food Systems. Citing "potentially catastrophic damage to the planet," the authors called for a new "planetary health diet" that among other things, would dramatically reduce meat consumption, while saving 11 million lives a year in the process.
"Food systems have the potential to nurture human health and support environmental sustainability; however, they are currently threatening both. Providing a growing global population with healthy diets from sustainable food systems is an immediate challenge. Although global food production of calories has kept pace with population growth, more than 820 million people have insufficient food and many more consume low-quality diets that cause micronutrient deficiencies and contribute to a substantial rise in the incidence of diet-related obesity and diet-related non-communicable diseases, including coronary heart disease, stroke, and diabetes."
This paragraph is dealing with two totally separate and distinct problems; one involving dietary choices and the other involving people who are simply trying to survive. The part about the preponderance of low-quality disease-causing diets is true. Unfortunately, it's doubly true of modern (wealthy) societies that are LIVING ON PROCESSED FOODS AND JUNK (calories) --- an all-too-common way of eating that I have declared "UNSUSTAINABLE" on many occasions, even though healthy food is more affordable than most pundits like to claim (HERE).
What's possibly even more interesting, however, is that this same phenomenon is increasingly true of the third world (or recently third world); a population seen each day as becoming more 'Westernized' (HERE). Allow me to show you, for better or worse, some of the Lancet's dietary / nutritional targets ---- targets that were specifically designed to with the Paris Accord (which the US pulled out of) and the UN's Sustainable Development Goals in mind.
Although there are many aspects of this diet I can heartily agree with (no pun intended), we have to remember it's source. Not surprisingly, the journal it was chosen to be published in (Lancet) has, over the past decade, acquired a decidedly left-leaning bent. Lest you doubt me on this, realize that they have actually been arguing that the world's healthcare woes could all be solved and everyone would be better off if we were all living under Marxism / Communism (I'M NOT LYING FOLKS).
What I was planning on doing for today's post was to look up the financial or philosophical / religious conflicts of interest for at least some of the paper's 37 authors; an endeavor that even though I would enjoy doing, was going to require a significant amount of time. Thank goodness for NINA TEICHOLZ'S two day old blog post, Majority of EAT-Lancet Authors (Over 80%) Favored Vegan/Vegetarian Diets.
Nina T, author of the best-selling book, The Big Fat Surprise, revealed that of the 37 authors, 31 of them espoused veganism / vegetarianism prior to this paper. Rather than me providing you with a synopsis, I suggest you take a look at her short post yourself (HERE). Suffice it to say that it's painfully obvious that many in this group have an agenda --- an agenda that in some cases could only be characterized as "radical" ---- a word frequently bantered around by proponents when describing this paper.
"It's the first science-based diet that tackles both the poor food eaten by billions of people and averts global environmental catastrophe has been devised. It requires huge cuts in red meat-eating in western countries and radical changes across the world." From The Guardian
Conflicts of interest, however, are not the only problem with the Lancet's diet recommendations. Nutrition and public health authority, Dr. Zoë Harcombe, recently made a powerful accusation via the title of a post on her blog; THE EAT LANCET DIET IS NUTRITIONALLY DEFICIENT. She used various governmental tables to compare EAT to current caloric and nutritional RDA's, concluding that the Lancet diet is deficient in "iron, Omega-3's, calcium, potassium, sodium, vitamin K (particularly K2), vitamin D, retinol, and B-12" --- many of which are significantly deficient. Dr. H, an ex-vegetarian who says that she "respects all personal choices in this delicate area," ended her article with this statement.....
There are numerous other issues with this plant-biased advice. Not least – what will all these plants be grown in when there is no top soil left because we have replaced soil-rejuvenating ruminants with soil-raping plants?
Although "rape" might be a bit too strong a word for what she's describing here; she's mostly right. It was only last month that I showed you that in order to regenerate or build soil in an area bigger than your backyard garden; not only does it require livestock, but it requires lots of livestock ---- rotated and managed in a highly orchestrated and systematic fashion (HERE). The truth is, you can't do it without animals; no matter what anyone tells you. These philosophical differences in farming are what's created the chasm between the nutritional composition of meat that's raised in a sustainable fashion (see above link) and meat raised in commercial feedlots.
As crazy as it may sound to those hearing it for the first time; I'll repeat myself. In order to heal soil that's been continually and relentlessly raped, not by plants themselves but by decades of COMMERCIAL CHEMICAL FARMING, we don't need less livestock, we need more. We simply need to manage these animals in a manner consistent with the link in the previous paragraph. So; if you want to avoid animals or animal products such as eggs, milk, cheese, etc, etc, make sure you are doing it for reasons other than because you feel it's healthy or is the key to saving the planet.
For people struggling with chronic health conditions, HERE is part of the generic regimen I suggest you research to help you get better. And if you appreciate our site, be sure and like, share, or follow on FACEBOOK as it's a great way to reach an audience of people you love and care about most.
Dr. Schierling completed four years of Kansas State University's five-year Nutrition / Exercise Physiology Program before deciding on a career in Chiropractic. He graduated from Logan Chiropractic College in 1991, and has run a busy clinic in Mountain View, Missouri ever since. He and his wife Amy have four children (three daughters and a son).