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Mark Sisson's Take on the Ethics of Eating Meat

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Mr. Sisson makes some good points in this response to the essay contest by the NY Times... that contest has asked people to respond as to "why it is ethical to eat meat". The whole thing seems fishy to me, and sure sounds like they are asking meat-eaters to defend and justify themselves.

Anyway.... here is the blog post on Mark's Daily Apple. Have to say his thoughts make a lot of sense to me.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSDESERTRODENT 4/10/2012 12:01PM

    Very interesting!!!
I'm more of a flexitarian. We eat meat around 2 days a week and that in small (think about 3oz or so) each time.
Thanks for posting!

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JUSTBIRDY 4/10/2012 11:04AM

    thanks, I wrote about this issue on my other blog. As a farmer, I see another side of vegetarian food, that is for sure.

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ANIDUCK 4/5/2012 5:45PM

    Great article; Mark's writing is so right on! He really hits the issue on the head showing the hypocrisy in the vegan/vegetarian diet mantras; the ones that do it for "ethical" reasons. of course, some do it for health reasons and that's a whole different discussion completely.
Thanks for posting!

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WOUBBIE 4/5/2012 11:25AM

    What a stupid contest. Life is competitive, not cooperative - living things eat other living things. Even plants compete. And we can't exactly live on rocks and water.

If we don't like the way things are we can only take it up with the Almighty and register a complaint.

Ethics in this matter only concern stewardship and apparently that's the one thing the contest forbids you to write about. *eyeroll*

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SUPERMOUSE35 4/5/2012 1:11AM

    Interesting, thanks for posting the link.

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Gaining weight (it's a good thing!)

Monday, February 20, 2012

I'm not in weight loss mode anymore... I got to within a few pounds of my goal (woohoo!) then found out I'm pregnant. That was 2-3 months back, and now I'm 19 weeks and starting to show. Also starting to gain some weight, up about 4-5 lbs total.

Still hanging out on SP to track my food, as BabyFit has an inferior tracker, with fewer foods in the DB. Also I don't have my paleo/primal support there!

Hope everyone is doing well and reaching their goals!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANIDUCK 2/21/2012 8:19PM


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IGNAZIA 2/21/2012 9:44AM

    Congratulations! And awesome to be half way there and only 4-5 lbs up.!

What are your favorite paleo baby/pregnancy resources?

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JENG829 2/21/2012 12:24AM

    Thanks, everyone, for your kind words. I love the folks on SP!

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AUNTWILLIE 2/20/2012 10:07PM

    Wonderful! Just think how healthy your Paleo baby will be! emoticon

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WOUBBIE 2/20/2012 9:41PM


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JUSTBIRDY 2/20/2012 8:58PM


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Bread hates me

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I was so excited to try Biaggi's gluten free pizza last night. I ordered their sausage pizza and a salad ... Delicious! When I picked it up, they said that since the salad came with bread, they put some gluten free bread in the bag too. Yay right? Well they didn't tell me that they also put the regular flatbread in there. I ate the wrong one.

My fault... I should have been more careful. I realized my mistake today when I ate another piece of bread with the leftover salad for lunch. Immediate foggy feeling, then stomach cramps and anxiety.

Guess I need to stick with my primal way of eating... I had been feeling so great, but since I'm in the process of moving, I've been eating some junk & thought this would be safe.

Worst part is that I had been off my allergy medicine for a full week. Just a little background... I have had dermographism (basically i can write on my skin- any scratch swells up and gets bright red) since I was about 12, and it got progressively worse when I was eating a vegetarian, grain-based diet. It got so bad that about 12 years ago, I had to start taking Claritin every day just to keep the unbearable itchiness away and to keep from always looking puffy and swollen.

After cleaning up my diet more & avoiding wheat (and some vitamins/herbs to heal my gut), I was able to stop the medicine for a full week. Previous attempts only lasted 2 or 3 days before I finally gave up. I was so hopeful this time. Now I'm debating whether to take a pill just to stop scratching.

Did I mention the foggy brain? Oh yeah, I did. This makes life feel hard again... Energy levels plummeted and I'm grumpy and frazzled. Guess that's understandable What with the itchy skin, bathroom trips & general ill feeling.

Sorry for the rant and complaints... It's just frustrating to have progressed so far only to have it ruined by bread.

Bread hates me... Anyway, back to my plan. I'm determined to turn this around!


When people notice

Friday, August 19, 2011

Sometimes I don't know how to take things... like when someone makes a comment like "oh you're losing weight" or "you look so much thinner!" I know these are supposed to make me feel better, but sometimes I think "Geez I must have looked really bad before!" Especially because I'm not yet at my goal.

Today I got such a statement from the boyfriend. As I was walking around in a state of half-dress and grogginess getting ready for work, he said, "You are smaller! Look at your waist!". He meant this in a good way, but my first reaction was immediately to take it as a criticism... We really are our worst critics!

Things that ran through my mind:
* I must have looked like a real cow!
* I could look a lot better than I do, just look at that flab on my thighs!
* I still have a LONG LONG way to go.
* Wait, didn't I have a waist before?

He must have thought I was crazy as I stood there in one spot with my brain working overtime. I think he was nervous that he had said something wrong.

Finally I said, "I better look smaller... I've been working really hard!" He responded that yes, he's noticed. Then I said, "Thanks."

Note to self: Next time, just say THANK YOU.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BELFASTBIKER 2/4/2012 5:24PM

    You made me think.

When someone compliments me, I immediately disparage my achievements by telling them I've so far to go still.

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ALIHIKES 8/19/2011 10:37PM

    You really handled that well, and I understand the ambivalence! emoticon

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KEEP_GOING247 8/19/2011 9:49PM

    I feel the same way. I always try to brush it off by making a counter negative comment about myself instead. You're right. Next time I will just say thank you. After all, i worked for it. emoticon

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ANIDUCK 8/19/2011 8:34PM

    Words of wisdom; thanks for posting this as most of us need to hear it.

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BARBIE779 8/19/2011 7:43PM

    I have a hard time taking compliments too. Congrats on your loss.

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Why I will continue to eat red meat

Thursday, August 11, 2011

You may have seen the recent headlines that say "EATING RED MEAT WILL CAUSE TYPE 2 DIABETES!". It screams at you on the screen. The burger-lovers are worried, and vegetarians are quickly bookmarking the webpages. But me? I'm just shrugging my shoulders. So here's why I'm not concerned:

1. I know how I felt without red meat.
I went without a single bite for 10 years, and when I added it back in I felt GREAT. Much of the time I was vegetarian, I craved beef. Not fish or eggs or chicken, BEEF. That tells me something.

2. My blood sugar was very unstable when I relied on non-animal sources for protein.
The authors of the study suggest eating low-fat dairy, whole grains, and nuts/seeds instead of red meat for protein. For years, I was on a blood sugar roller coaster when I tried to rely on beans, whole grains, and nuts/seeds for protein. No thanks, been there done that. It's not for me.

3. Red meat is the single best source of carnitine, which is shown to reduce triglycerides.
My family has a history of high triglycerides, and I'd like to continue to fight that battle with every advantage. All of my cholesterol levels have improved since I began eating meat again.

4. The biggest correlation the study saw was with processed red meats with sodium & nitrates.
If they do a study that differentiates food quality (processed meat without nitrates) and other foods eaten (account for carb levels, oils used, soda consumption), then I will pay more attention.

5. The study itself is observational.
Unfortunately there are too many variables to convince me. Even paleo studies have this fault, and it is unfortunate. I would love it if Denise Minger dug into the statistics and gave it a real analysis.

I read through the study, and it persuaded me to do my own observational study. Not scientific at all, and just for fun. I asked a few coworkers if they had red meat this week and found out what and how much. They think I'm weird, so they just laughed. I didn't judge, just took a note. Most times it was a hamburger or hot dog with fries and soda, 1 beef burrito and 1 person who had steak tacos. Ok, so always a processed starch with their red meat. Most of the time a junk food meal. Interesting.

Then at lunchtime, I went to the cafeteria and looked around at who bought what. My totally non-scientific observations as I sat there were: The people getting red meat were (1) always eating it with a processed bread product: hamburger, roast beef sandwich, beef taco w/flour tortillas; and (2) often with a side of french fries or potato chips. Yes, there were some people eating chicken sandwiches with fries too, so we will keep them as a variable. But the people who did not have bread or fried food? Those folks had salad, but no red meat in sight (lots of chicken though). I did not see anyonebuying red meat without a starch or fried food with it.

That makes me wonder three things:
* Do most people eat red meat on/with bread or with fries? Is that a factor?
* Do most salads have chicken? I know this is the case in restaurants, where most likely there is a grilled chicken salad, but what about at home - do people ever put red meat on a salad?
* Am I the only freak who asks for a hamburger patty on lettuce or beef burrito minus the tortilla & beans?

Ah well... I will keep to what works for me, and hope others will keep to what works for them, whether it includes red meat or not!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LAURIEANNIE1 8/31/2011 9:37AM

    Years ago I read a little bit about food combining, not any of the many books out there now. At that time I had very bad heart burn and thought that if I separated my protein from my starch it would get better, it did. The article said the typical meal eaten out is steak, baked potato, salad, and texas toast (or some type of bread). We started eating steak and green salad - minus any and all croutons. In no time flat my heartburn went away. I have family members who buy so much anti acid that they keep the drug store afloat. I tried to get all of them to eat this way, to no avail. I think my younger brother tried it for a while, but after being told by about everyone that you NEED whole grains, he reverted and went back to taking the whatever they take. As for me, I will not go back.

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JUSTBIRDY 8/30/2011 4:38PM

    When I was a vegetarian I mostly craved braunschweiger. Now I know it was probably for the choline and other things you don't get on a vegetarian diet.

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DANSAPPHI 8/13/2011 3:23PM

    I think a great point you make, though I don't know if you were trying to make it specifically is that this works for you, and if it does, and hasn't been proven to be scary harmful, why not? I was a vegetarian briefly, and even now I don't eat a lot of meat, but I do so and do it mindfully. I had a health issue earlier this year that scared me away from most meat and eggs, but it's resolved now, and after some "testing of the waters" I've found what my body can take and what it can't. I still prefer fish/seafood, but I also agree, I never crave chicken or pork, but sometimes I want red meat.

I do eat red meat without carbs, I'm Korean and I like a dish called bulgogi. Thin strips of beef marinated and cooked, then you wrap it in romaine lettuce leaves. It is served with rice, but I either take very little or none at all.

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ANIDUCK 8/12/2011 6:52PM

    I love your observation that most people eat red meat (or any meat for that matter) with grains...with starchy carbs often of the fried kind. This points out the fact that so many so-called research outcomes are skewed because of unfocused observations. You know, like the whole saturated fat outcome that showed that ALL sat. fats are bad. How many of those fats studied were hydrogenated liquid oils??? Or the vitamin E scare. Oh my, was that a farce! Too little vitamin E administered to people with chronic illnesses and the vitamin E used in the study wasn"t full spectrum vitamin E anyway!

These "reports" and "findings" just go on and on

Thanks for this blog; well said

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JENG829 8/12/2011 11:03AM

    @VETTRANGER - I agree, best to do some research and not jump on every bandwagon that comes along. Sounds like your family has a great balanced diet!

@MGO09190 - steak on a salad is delish! I agree about the prices though. Only things on sale lately are chicken legs & porkchops. Guess it's good to mix it up!

@RUBYEMMA775 - I hope you find the way of eating that works for you. I know my "study" was certainly not scientific, but it does help to stop and take a look around us sometimes! Then we can see what we are eating & how it affects us with more clarity.

@CAVEMOM - you and me both... Here's to eating good, nourishing food and being healthy ((raises glass))

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CAVEMOM 8/11/2011 6:22PM

    Eating a very low-fat, vegetarian diet got me in this mess; no way would I go back because of sensationalism headlines. Headlines sell papers, rarely the truth.


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RUBYEMMA775 8/11/2011 4:01PM

    I like your personal study of what people eat way better than those "studies" out there. Much easier to read and makes you think about how a person's body really reacts to red meat.
I was considering the vegetarian lifestyle but I wanted to be sure it would be right for me. I have to get off the chicken bit because it makes me nauseous. I was told that my blood type makes me respond better to fish in moderation and red meat.
I think your hamburger on lettuce might be my first experiment to see how I do with it. I love most vegetarian dishes that I have tried, but I feel like I would miss meat too much to completely give it up. I liked this blog!!!

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MGO09190 8/11/2011 3:46PM

    I think is has a lot to do with the things you mentioned, like HOW people eat their red meat and with WHAT. If people are only eating it when it's been processed, cooked in oil, or with a side of greasy carbs then obviously there'll be some health problems... Personally, I would love to eat more red mean but it's just so much cheaper to eat chicken, especially when chicken is on sale... I can count on one hand the number of times I've eaten red meat in the past few months.

**incidentally, I loooooove steak on my salad :D

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VETTRANGER 8/11/2011 3:42PM

    You're on the right track. Humans are omnivorous. There are too many people out there who want to change humans from what they are. Many have their own agenda that have nothing to do with how healthy or happy the rest of us are.

We eat red meat, chicken, fish, and pork every week. We control the portions. When you buy good meats the calories aren't that bad. And yes, on days when we don't have much its hard to get my protein up to the number.

We buy frozen french fries and bake them. Even those aren't a calorie disaster (100 calories or so for a reasonable serving).

It is more important to be knowledgable and in control than to just follow the latest news articles ... you got it in one.

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