Our Eating Habits Are Killing Us

Global warming, population control, American girls reaching puberty as young as 7-years-old, and obesity rates are all variables in my decision to be more health-conscious and, more specifically, cutting back on eating meat, especially beef.

And, here’s a disclaimer so beef producers don’t pull an Oprah-sized smack down on my ass:  eat hamburgers, steaks, and delicious prime rib (one of favorite past “guilty pleasures”).  Just cut back on how much you consume.  More on that later.

I’ve been working very hard on cutting back on how much food I eat and I’m getting some good use out of my treadmill.  Since Christmas, I’ve lost 11 pounds with 8 pounds to go before I reach my goal.  At that point, I want to maintain my weight at 149.

It’s not surprising that in 2010, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that 35.7% of Americans are obese, which means they are more than 20% above their ideal weight.  The CDC reports that “during the past 20 years, there has been a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States”.

In 2010, 36 states had a prevalence of obesity of 25% or more, including all six states I’ve lived in (Kentucky, Wisconsin, Texas, Ohio, Maryland, and Illinois).  12 states had a prevalence of 30% or more, with Mississippi being the highest (34%).  The state with lowest obesity rate is Colorado (21%).

The U.S. Department of Agriculture claims that the average American in their lifetime will eat 21,000 animals!  And, that every American eats up to 220 pounds of meat annually, while only 14% of us reach our recommended daily allowance of five servings of fruits and vegetables!

“Time” magazine reported that the U.S. produces 80 billion pounds of meat a year, with poultry making up 35 billion pounds of that!  I’m guilty because when I eat meat, it’s mostly chicken and turkey.  Occasionally, I’ll pork and seafood.  Rarely, do I eat beef.

When I made my decision last month to get serious about losing weight, I was shocked to learn that enough food is produced for every American to eat 3,800 calories a day, but we only need 2,350 calories daily in a healthy diet.

Fred Kirschenmann, of Iowa State University, told “Time” magazine in 2010, “you need to eat animals only to close the nutrient cycle.  If we changed a few things about how we live, we’d have fewer animals in the system”.

And, that’s a good thing.  Not only would we be slaughtering fewer animals, but this would help the environment.  The United Nations claims that the livestock industry produces 18% of the world’s greenhouse gases, which causes global warming.

Right now, the world population is around 7 billion people and is projected to jump to 9 billion by 2050!

It’s no surprise that Americans are considered gluttons when it comes to consuming meat.  There are restaurants that use gimmicks to serve insanely sized steaks and burgers on their regular menu.

Denny’s Beer Barrel Pub in Clearfield, Pennsylvania, features a 6-pound “bruiser” burger.

Arthur’s Steakhouse in North Brunswick, New Jersey, features a 24-ounce steak or a 48-ounce double on its regular menu, and not to be outdone, Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas, features a 72-ounce steak — that’s almost a 5-pound steak!!!!!!!!

However, upscale chefs across America are taking a different approach, by making meat the side dish in a meal that makes the sides the star of the entrée.  Also, some restaurants, like Hatfield’s in Los Angeles, turns dinner into a 4-course meal, so that when you get to the main course, the meat portions are smaller, but you’re still fulfilled.


In the United States, only about 1-3% of the population are strictly vegetarians or eat a vegetarian-based diet.  More and more people, including myself, are becoming “flexitarians” — part-time vegetarians.

This is nothing new since some customs and celebrities like Paul McCartney take part in “Meatless Monday” and Catholics are urged to abstain from meat on Fridays.

Even, Ingrid Newkirk, the president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) knows that becoming a total vegetarian isn’t a reality for many people, “Absolute purists should be living in a cave.  Anybody who witnesses the suffering of animals and has a glimmer of hope of reducing that suffering can’t take the position that it has to be all of nothing.  We have to pragmatic.  Screw the principle.”

It’s also alarming for me to see pictures and watch video of the crude treatment of mass-produced animals, whether it’s cows, chickens, or pigs, and to learn of the chemicals used to promote rapid growth of these animals to get them on the market quicker.  These chemicals are now being linked to girls reaching puberty in the U.S. as early as 7-year-old!

I was already on the health kick and was going to write this blog entry before watching the documentary, “Food, Inc.”.  However, after watching it last week, it really opened my eyes to how and what we eat.

Again, I’m not suggesting that we should stop eating meat.  That’s unrealistic.  However, we can cut back on how much we eat.

Bon appetit!

Peeps

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15 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Cinchy on March 3, 2012 at 8:02 am

    Actually on a trip to California we stopped by the Big Texan we didn’t eat there just took some photos !!!

    Reply

  2. Posted by Jim Summers on March 3, 2012 at 9:12 am

    Anthony,
    I agree with eating less meat as a healthy and ethical lifestyle. I stopped eating meat ten years ago and it is very realistic. I do eat fish, seafood and dairy in moderation. My emotional and phisical health is better at 51 than at any other time in my life. Americans could save billions on health expenses with better eating habits and adding physical activties to their daily routines. I also beleive that reducing the suffering of innocent animals is good for all inhabitants of the planet.

    Enjoy reading your blog,
    Peace,
    Jim

    Reply

    • Jim,

      Congratulations on being healthy at 51! That’s incredible.

      As I tried to stress in my rant, I’m not saying don’t eat meat, just eat less. It’s incredible the amount of junk we Americans eat.

      Take care, my friend,

      Anthony

      Reply

  3. I have maintained for years that the reason that our children physically mature at an accellerated rate, is the build up of growth horemones that are passed from on generation to another through the consumption of commercially raised beef and chicken. Which has been injecting growth accelerants in to our animals since the 1960’s. Its building up and passing on generationally.

    Reply

  4. Posted by Kimberly White on March 3, 2012 at 10:56 am

    I totally agree with Micheal. We eat beef that is fed hormones to “beef them up”, thus in turn, it “beefs us up”

    Reply

  5. Anthony,
    Such a great post! I started my healthy eating on January 1 and have a LARGE amount of weight to lose before I reach my personal goal. It will realistically take me two years before I can slip into that wedding dress I wore some 35 years ago. I have lost 36 pounds so far and am pretty much staying away from carbs and eating a protein rich diet with lots of vegetables. So far it is working!

    Hard to believe that you need to lose weight, but congratulations on your success! Thanks for sharing. You inspire me.

    All the Best,
    Michelle

    Reply

  6. Posted by Kelly Burich on March 3, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    Couldn’t agree more! Beautifully written article.

    It has killed me over the years to see friends with children who don’t “make” their kids eat the veggies and/or fruit. I know I’m a “bad” mom and I wear it proudly. But my kids know the differences between healthy choice and non-healthy choices. I read another article this last week that indicated if you make a child’s portion of fruits and vegetables bigger, their meat portion smaller, the likelihood is that they fill up on the fruits and veggies first (like that’s a shocker). It really does make me proud to have fought the small battles we’ve had over food, because the end payoff was worth it.

    I’m a flexitarian big time, especially after reading Engine 2. I haven’t seen Food Inc yet, and am a little scared to do so. (Plus, I can’t find where to get it) I hear “Forks Over Knives” is a good one, too. Once in a while, I’ll have red meat, chicken or pork, but I usually have the worst stomach afterward, so it’s a good reminder of moderation. I’ve stuck with whole grains and non-processed foods for health purposes only – on top of copious amounts of fruits and veggies. There are beautiful recipes for “flexitarians” from our vegetarian/vegan friends that are quite filling and healthy. (Vegetarian Times, The Fresh Market website, Runner’s World – all great recipes/vegetarian recipe links)

    It’s all about moderation and common sense. We need to revert back to some things. The “Large Coke” of 1982 would be one of them!

    Thanks Peepers! Miss you and love, love, love your blog!

    Reply

    • Kelly,

      Nice to hear from you and thank you.

      I would never call you a “bad” mom for two reasons: you’re not and if you weren’t in North Carolina, you could kick my butt if I called you that. 🙂

      I will need to check out “Engine 2”. As for “Food, Inc.”, it was put together well and I only had to cover my eyes a couple of times. I can’t watch cows in distress. However, those scenes were short.

      Take care, my friend, and I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog.

      Say hello to Dan and the family for me.

      Peeps

      Reply

      • Posted by Kelly Burich on March 4, 2012 at 8:32 am

        I would never do such an unlady like thing, like kick your butt!

        I would, however, chase you mercilessly and taunt you. That’s more my style!

        Thanks for the movie updates!

    • Kelly,

      One more thing. We have Amazon Prime and “Food, Inc.” was free! I was already writing the article before I watched the movie and I’m glad I did.

      Peeps

      Reply

  7. Michelle,

    Thank you. Congratulations on the 36 pounds that you’ve lost. That’s amazing. It’s so crazy how easy it is to put on weight and how hard it is to lose weight.

    Keep up the great work on the healthy eating. Just make sure that you treat yourself every once in a while.

    As for my weight loss, I gained about 15 pounds since Ray & I met, so I want to lose that. Plus, I’m a recovering food addict (on the wagon for 17 years), so a few pounds make me more paranoid than most people.

    Take care, my friend.

    Peeps

    Reply

  8. […] And, since we’re talking about our eating habits, you might find my March 3, 2012 blog informative:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/03/03/our-eating-habits-are-killing-us/ […]

    Reply

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