I have just finished reading the language of the land by James Stephenson. I was planning on writing a post about it and his observations not only their life but also in a more specific piece on their physical activities. While diet is now slowly being viewed through the lens of evolutionary biology the exercise that goes with it is often not. Or more importantly weird flights of fancy about how HG people (and by implication our ancestors) “work” and how we should exercise. See for example “born to run”.
As I was reading the book I did began to think about vegetarianism and how, well strange it is to me I ma coming more and more to think of it a symptom of a civilisation in total confusion. I was talking to my wife about animal rights and wrongs after I had killed two non-laying chickens. I could not come up with an argument “for” eating animals not because there isn’t one simply because the question has lost all meaning for me like it’s an esoteric question of manners or a tale from some old religion (the true date of Easter for example).
Then came the aggravating news headline “red meat kills you“unequivocal, totally assured drop one portion of red meat a week and you will live for ever apparently. I left it, “who cares” but I couldn’t leave it slowly they circled drawing in on the smell of my flesh.
John Landis is right.
The werewolf was the beast within that so scared medieval man closer, perhaps, to a beast worshipping northern tradition. The Victorians had the bloodsucking nobility in the vampire and the fear of sex. We have the mindless brain eating zombie shuffling round the shopping centre in joyless consumption.
The zombies descend on me “no Neal! Red meat kills you don’t eat it.” Overweight, grossly overweight, sallow sun fearing skin their tired eyes bagged with the dark rings of vitamin deficiency. The breeders approach with their child (for god’s sake wear a hat it’s MARCH!) being pushed in a chair a biscuit in one hand and a fruit juice in the other. “Cast aside thy sinful meat” they moan in one voice. Zombies endlessly repeating the last thing they heard.
Biology makes no sense unless in the light of evolution I say, there a re countless societies who eat loads of red meat and not only aren’t dead but are in fine health I say, the study is simply an observation I say, Correlation is not causation (which sounds weaker every time I say it) I say. The data is horribly flawed I say. It is no good the newspaper has told cold facts reported by SCIENTISTS no less, am I a doctor, AM I?????
Well the best critique of the study is here by the very attractive, young non-scientist Denise Minger. A woman described by DR Colon Campbell as “bubbly and spirited”. If you must have a doctors opinion here is John Briffa
This isn’t science it’s politics and worse it is a proselytising morality politics that is not only harming us but is distracting the unwell from the real causes of their health problems.
Dr Ornish of course was one of the peer reviewers his claim to be able to reverse heart disease has been tested as has his diet plan neither were effective and his diet was especially bad. His diet is essentially vegan though allows supplementation with fish pills. There is a lot going for his intervention in that he eliminates all sugar processed foods and adds meditation with lot’s of vegetables . He obviously has a good PR team and managed to save Bill Clinton as he stopped “Carry on Clinton” from eating boxes of donuts we can’t really say that it anything but stopping him from eating utter shit that stopped him being a fat porker with a dicky heart. When President he didn’t even attend the Arnie run governmental “healthy eating campaign”.
The atkins, yes atkins diet, has been shown again and again in ward trials to have really good benefits in terms of weight loss and coronary disease. Against unbelievable hostility, in a presentation at Stanford University “who wins at loosing” atkins is openly jeered! Imagine the fuss if the Atkins diet had done as “well” as Dr Ornish’s diet in its ward trial.
However a culture has been created or rather perpetuated in which meat, specifically red meat, has to be constantly defended from people who don’t want you to eat it. In the medieval period red meat was associated with carnality the beast. It was considered sinful in that regard. Consumption of red meat was often used by angered populations as a grievance against wealthy monks. The consumption of red meat went from being universal to jealously guarded privilege of the wealthy very quickly in some parts of the world. In the Mycenaean civilisation while the majority toiled on grains and figs with some fish the wealthy of the palaces ate a hugely carnivorous diet resulting in a 10cm difference in height and much better health outcomes. If you want to know about nutrition ask an archaeologist.
Abstention from meat or sex being a sure fire way to not only be different but” better” than those mere earthly types who cannot control themselves. The Buddha appalled his followers by eating out of a golden bowl he should have been better, poorer more humble, and contrary to what is often said The Buddha also ate meat. He didn’t need to be better than anyone or justify a privileged place in society.
John Harvey Kellog you know the eccentric played by Anthony Hopkins, ho ho you know the funny health farm guy? You know? He severely restricted meat intake as he was obsessed with onanism and carnality. When he wasn’t performing genital mutilations with acid he was inventing disgusting health promoting (or rather libido reducing) cereals….oooh Yummy. You know the ones you give to your kids hopefully with semi skimmed milk, but as it tastes like dreary grey water cardboard you’ll have to add some sugar to it.
A vegan of my acquaintance was horrified that I give my daughter scrambled eggs for breakfast and I mean horrified. She was polite enough not to say anything but It was there in her eyes and in the roll of her chins.
This rather meandering rant exposes my truth of the anti (red) meat argument, some ,but not all, newspapers reported this study as being proof that red meat kills you stone effing dead. We live in a society where this report will be splashed all over the newspapers but a report from he same organisation is not. Where is the proof? Where is it? Everyone knows red meat is unhealthy where is the proof??? Where you find studies they are like this one really horrendously manipulated. I look for reasons why would they do this, vegetarianism doesn’t answer it fully chickens are after all, alive. To me it is a continuation of a perverse morality, a denial of our humanity and even our carnality (what do you think carnal actually means)?
A society where red meat consumption being so unhealthy has been dropping since the 1980s with no discernable health outcomes apart from the fattest, most diabetic population the world has ever seen. A society that thrives on self hate that deep down in its very core loathes itself utterly. A society that wants to believe that it is wrong and incompatible to be human on this earth. That we must be controlled and in a state of denial for our own good.
When was the last time you saw someone who looked really healthy, really happy?