Monday, June 16, 2014

Red meat: So delicious but so many reasons not to eat it

Coming via Matt Yglesias, the Environmental Working Group put together the following chart, which tallies up the amount of CO2 emissions associated with producing a kilogram of various types of food:

Whether it's for health, moral, or environmental reasons, it appears eating less lamb and beef is a responsible thing to do. Interesting how the benefits can come along so many different axes. The jury is still out, however, on how my family's love of California Burger will change as a result.

Note: when reading part of Thoreau's Walden recently, I came across this related passage (page 164):
It is hard to provide and cook so simple and clean a diet as will not offend the imagination; but this, I think, is to be fed when we feed the body; they should both sit down at the same table. Yet perhaps this may be done. The fruits eaten temperately need not make us ashamed of our appetites, nor interrupt the worthiest pursuits. But put an extra condiment into your dish, and it will poison you. It is not worth the while to live by rich cookery. Most men would feel shame if caught preparing with their own hands precisely such a dinner, whether of animal or vegetable food, as is every day prepared for them by others. Yet till this is otherwise we are not civilized, and, if gentlemen and ladies, are not true men and women. This certainly suggests what change is to be made. It may be vain to ask why the imagination will not be reconciled to flesh and fat. I am satisfied that it is not. Is it not a reproach that man is a carnivorous animal? True, he can and does live, in a great measure, by preying on other animals; but this is a miserable way—as any one who will go to snaring rabbits, or slaughtering lambs, may learn—and he will be regarded as a benefactor of his race who shall teach man to confine himself to a more innocent and wholesome diet. Whatever my own practice may be, I have no doubt that it is a part of the destiny of the human race, in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals, as surely as the savage tribes have left off eating each other when they came in contact with the more civilized.

1 comment:

  1. It's interesting to me that lamb is the highest! I would have never suspected that.