HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >

Discussion

Food Network Blurb..EAT LESS MEAT

LOCKED DISCUSSION

I kid you not.

I looked up during a commercial and saw it as a "eating green tip" and it flashed by...I had to look it up on their website.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/lf_hl...

12. Eat less meat.
It takes much more energy, water and resources to produce a pound of meat, than a pound of grain or produce.

Am I weird to be a little shocked by this? I have friends that are vegans and vegetarians, but they are friendly ones. I have come across my fair share of what I would call "militant" vegetarians lately...people who have an agenda to abolish the world of meateaters...while I think it would be odd...and a money losing strategy for the food network to support such a position, it surprised me to see it there.

Free range, grass fed meats are plentiful around here, and don't have to cost an arm and a leg..same with chicken, even pork can be raised with minimal grain (nuts, whey, etc) now.

  1. I don't see how this blurb is "militant vegetarian."

    1. Well, eating commercially produced beef is hard to defend from an environmental standpoint. Unfortunately in the recent prevalence of chatty "how to be green" features on tv and in magazines, etc., they don't seem to have the space or inclination to explain that grass-fed meat, chicken, fish, etc. are all viable alternatives to commercial beef.
      So they tend to default to knee-jerk "go vegetarian" messages. I have a problem with the trendy "green" movement for this and other related reasons. For instance, even if you and everyone you know never ate a McDonald's hamburger again, it wouldn't do a darn thing to combat global warming unless McDonald's or the ranchers or someone actually changes the way they raise beef or the amount they encourage people to eat.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Chowpatty

        To be fair to their brief list blurb and make the original post seem a little silly:

        13. Or be meat mindful.
        Look for beef products labeled "grass-fed." They’re better for you — less cholesterol, more nutrients and good for the planet.

      2. Somebody wanna explain to me how "eat LESS meat" somehow got twisted in your minds to mean "eat NO meat"?

        1 Reply
        1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

          I agree. I don't think statement is inflammatory at all. Nobody is telling you to give up your meat and be a vegetarian. If you guys think this is over the line, you haven't seen the PETA demonstrators throwing red paint on women wearing fur coats.

          That said, I would have expected more of this from a network like Discovery-Health as opposed to Food Network. Guess the whole "green" thing is becoming more mainstream. And I'm thankful that it is.

        2. Of course, there's the next item on the list:
          13. Or be meat mindful.
          Look for beef products labeled "grass-fed." They’re better for you — less cholesterol, more nutrients and good for the planet.

          1. I'm not sure what the big fuss is. most people do eat well above the requisite amount of meat on a daily basis, and most Americans eat more meat than is prevalent in other educated cultures. The old standard was 15 lbs of grain for 1 lb of meat which is a pretty crazy difference. I don't know, I don't see the "militant" message behind it. Eating less meat doesn't mean don't have the occassional T-bone.

            18 Replies
            1. re: Icantread

              I think my post was misunderstood.

              I'm not neccessarilly saying that statement is out and out militant, but leaning in a direction I find distasteful.

              I would find number 13 just fine, and so much more educational. As I said in my OP, Grass fed beef is abundantly available, as are other versions of meat that isn't commercially raised. It's high in Omega 3 fatty acids, which most people aren't aware off. And many farmers who free range their animals use the waste either on their farm, and organic farmers normally leave a field fallow for a year, so animals normally use that field for grazing that season.

              Living in an area that's active in organic farming, land preservation, and world pollution issues, the message I saw flashed on the screen was not only incorrect and ill researched, but had that PETA tone to it to me.

              How many millions of people believe everything they see on a tv screen. I realize it's sad and I have no responsibility for people who can't think for themselves, but I'd hate for people to now think all meat is bad, because 'Food Network Said so'.

              1. re: sommrluv

                I think they would think that if they completely overreacted and misunderstood. I think it was in the first or second grade that I was first taught the concepts of "less" and "more," so as long as the Food Network audience has hit that level of education, I'm pretty sure they can figure it out for themselves.

                1. re: sommrluv

                  "Ill researched"? How can you say that? While you may be eating "green" meat, that accounts for only a tiny, tiny fraction of the meat consumed in this country. There's no way that grass-fed meat could be produced on the kind of scale that the meat most Americans eat is produced, and it's more expensive. I eat mostly sustainably raised meat, but if *only* ate sustainably raised meat guess what: I'd have to eat less of it, because of the cost. In other words: eat less meat. Not only that, but a lot of grass-fed meat is grazed on rainforest land that was cleared using slash-and-burn, which is terrible for the environment.

                  And I don't see how a reasonable person could get a "PETA tone" from "green tip" to "eat less meat." For one thing, PETA advocates eating NO meat, and for another, PETA has absolutely no interest in being "green" or the environment. As far as I can tell, PETA doesn't even like animals -- they think your dog is better off dead than sleeping on your couch, a position I'm pretty sure my dog would not agree with.

                  The fact is that the average American eats waaaaaay more meat than is healthy, not only for the planet, but for them, and it doesn't hurt anyone to be gently reminded of that fact.

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    Actually, I disagree with you. If the majority of people wander out of cities they would find most people in rural communities raising grass fed animals for extremely reasonable prices. And it can be economically sustained, and purchased by almost anyone, as well.

                    Now more people are also raising animals like goat, emu, and bison to accomodate people who have immigrated (goatmeat) and a popular trend among diners.

                    I'll give you another example...long before Peta by court order was ruled to acknowledge the websites they own, I have a cousin who while doing research for a thesis for a college paper stumbled across many of their sites.

                    The conclusion is while she still eats other meats, she believes the consumption of beef in all forms causes alzheimers. This is an educated woman, with a masters degree from a top university, whose paper was graded well and sources were noted as credible. And continually harasses us to death while eating beef.

                    All because of 'something she read on the internet'.

                    People stopped eating eggs because eggs were bad, now eggs are good, now eggs are bad..etc. The majority of americans listen to what the little box tells them..whether it's a tv or computer. And they teach their children the same. It bothers me, and that's my right.

                    I'm a firm believer in the four ounce portion. I just think the phrasing Food Network used is bad, and they should stress the importance of free range and not factory farmed food.

                    1. re: sommrluv

                      I noticed you didn't address the supply question. Price is a function of supply and demand. The supply of sustainably raised meat is limited -- and it will remain limited -- factory farming was invented for a reason, which is that it allows for higher production at lower costs. If the demand increases, and the supply can't meet it, the price increases. You may be able to buy all the sustainably raised meat your heart desires, but that is not true of 99 percent of Americans.

                      1. re: sommrluv

                        Like in numbers 1, 3, 4, 13 and 15 in the list you linked to in the OP?

                        You've picked out one item from a list and decided to take issue with it; but the list provides a more comprehensive set of suggestions that, taken as a whole, aren't really nearly so militant as you suggest the "blurb" to be.

                        1. re: sommrluv

                          Of course it's your right. And it's my right to think you're overreacting.

                          1. re: sommrluv

                            Four ounce portion? That sure sounds like "less meat" to most Americans!

                            1. re: kenito799

                              The USDA recommends that a single serving of meat should be about 3 ounces. About the size of a deck of cards. They also recommend that one not eat more than 5.5 ounces of meat per day.

                              Except at breakfast in a steak and eggs plate, I can't recall the last time I saw a steak on a menu that was less than 7 ounces. Sounds like less might be in order for many.

                              1. re: ccbweb

                                Every time I see that "deck of cards" analogy, I think of my father's playing card collection, which inclues some teeeeeny tiny cards and some whonkin' big ones as well.

                                And yes, I realize that they mean a standard deck, the kind everybody is familiar with. I just think it's funny.

                                1. re: jlafler

                                  I am reminded of that old game show "Card Sharks" where they had these HUGE cards.....bigger than a cafeteria tray.

                        2. re: sommrluv

                          I don't think this is going to give anybody the message that "all meat is bad," but even if it did, why should you care?

                          1. re: jlafler

                            Why shouldn't I? If lots of people get bad propaganda and spread it around, I think it's an issue.

                            It's not a belief system, it's a quote that a few years from not could potentially affect what's being put in my mouth.

                            1. re: sommrluv

                              If other people eat less meat, won't that mean more for you? Less demand should make the prices lower, too. And isn't your "eat as much meat as you want" propaganda just as bad and "ill researched"?

                          2. re: sommrluv

                            are you a rancher, or have some direct benefit from people eating meat? It seems to be factual that meat is higher on the food chain, so takes more energy to produce, and therefore, a larger impact on the environment. This is true whether it is grain fed, grass fed, raised sustainably, etc. So eating less high on the food chain is easier on the environment. Again, seems like a pretty straigthforward, factual point Foodnetwork was saying. BTW I ate a wonderful, grass fed, locally raised burger today.

                            1. re: karenfinan

                              aww, someone removed my comment that says this thread keeps coming up like bad chilli. hmmm.

                              It still holds true.

                              No, I was a psychologist, and now I own my own unrelated business, which produces no meat or food related items, nor am I related to anyone who sells meat, or have any direct benefit, other than meat on my plate, from people eating meat.

                              Eat less meat, eat more foie gras maybe? Hmmmmm....

                              1. re: sommrluv

                                >> eat more foie gras maybe?

                                Ice cream. Donuts. Who needs meat when you have these two?

                                Who listens to anything the media has to advise anyway? Seriously.

                              2. re: karenfinan

                                nutrition wise, it takes less meat to feed humans the same protein than grain. higher on the food chain = higher protein.

                          3. I'd much rather see them post one of Chris Constentino's blogs about the horror's of Cheap meat on their website and support it.

                            1. Frankly, if someone watching that is undereducated enough to be watching Food Network and not know about grass-fed/Organic/Humane meat then perhaps telling them to eat less meat is a good thing.
                              Many of the chefs and "chefs" on Food Network will say something like, "We're using a beautiful, free-range chicken..." when they are making something. People, especially people who proclaim to be "foodies," should know by now the importance of finding out where your food comes from. If they can't be bothered to educate themselves about that, then maybe it wouldn't be so bad if they consumed less commercially produced (ie environmentally hazardous) meat.

                              I too am finding this whole new "green" trend to bit a bit odd and disturbing. It's like the corporations are telling us, "Go ahead, consume. Just make sure you consume this new, more expensive product of ours so you can save the environment." I'm not sure it's really encouraging people to think critically about our lives and finding a way to compromise between middle class American life and true environmental preservation.
                              I do see food and environmentalism as becoming a bigger issue in the coming years given the shortages around the world and the increase in middle class societies in other countries.

                              1. I was watching Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello this morning, and he did a show that included him hoisting an enormous prime rib from which he cooked the biggest steaks I've ever seen. They broke for commercials and showed the Eat Less Meat blurb. Bad timing I guess, but it made me giggle.

                                1. i, for one, am "seeing red" about "green"!

                                  look at all the magazines! now, this food network propaganda. they just get worse and worse.

                                  1. I'll consider it.
                                    NOT!!

                                    "Leaves more meat for the rest of us meat eaters"
                                    Dennis Leary

                                    DT

                                    1. i looked at fn's sources and found the origins of their "eat less meat" admonition.
                                      http://www.plentymag.com/blogs/ecoeat...

                                      reading the article and it's cited impetus (bittman in nyt), i think i can identify a couple of agendas. and being "green" is definitely one. also "wealth guilt."

                                      12 Replies
                                      1. re: alkapal

                                        Interesting article.

                                        I hadn't thought to look for the sources.

                                        Green is in, apparently. Again, I'd much rather them educate consumers on what is grain versus grass fed, etc.

                                        Not just tell people to eat less meat. Most people don't even see number 13 on that list until they go online.

                                        I guess it's interesting to me, too that the statement is "eat less meat", not eat less beef, eat less factory farmed meat, etc. There are LOTS of meats, one could vary their diet greatly, eating a normal portion size, and never worry about depleting the supply of natural raised animals. There are some great books about what you could do with just one acre of land, without harmful effects to the environment. You could be completely self sufficient.

                                        The public believe what they see on TV. Most people actually think Pork is a white meat.

                                        1. re: sommrluv

                                          pork isn't the "new" white meat? like orange is the new black!

                                          1. re: alkapal

                                            Well Looky!

                                            http://www.chow.com/stories/11022

                                            I'm not against the way this is presented, completely. I have an economical bent, so telling people they need to spend more to keep the environment nice doesn't ring true to me.

                                            However, if you visit your states websites, most states have a link to csa, farms, small butchers, halal butchers, kosher butchers, etc etc.

                                            I purchase my organic, grass fed beef by the 1/4, half, or whole for $2.12 hanging weight, plus .25 lb butching costs. Cheaper than the grocery store. My butcher also sells the same beef, lamb, pork, venison, etc, as well as a full range of offal, can order emu, carries bison occassion, etc for reasonable prices, very comparable to your local Supermarket, and Much cheaper than a WF.

                                            1/4 of beef lasts the two of us two years or more, and that's taking into account parties, pot lucks, taking people meals, packing lunches, etc. We also do a whole pig on the year we don't get a beef done. And obviously we eat other meats.

                                            I have meat/protein everyday, personally, but I have to have a varied diet because I have a rare disease that causes me to not be able to digest certain foods and need more protein, but I don't think that means other people shouldn't be allowed to eat meat every day either.

                                            1. re: sommrluv

                                              So if you originally had a problem with the FN's Eat less meat comment, do you have a problem with Chow as well -- because I see the same statement in #6 of the chow story you linked to.

                                              1. re: Miss Needle

                                                Not only that, it was 6th in a list of 10 (60% of the way down), rather than 12th in a list of 15 (80% of the way down). I wonder if radical anti-meat propagandists have infiltrated Chowhound....

                                                  1. re: Miss Needle

                                                    I'm sorry you didn't read my post. Oh well, Not so nice an observation ;) LOL

                                                    The two notations besides the comments are worlds apart...while I don't like the blanket admonition, I do believe the audience is different, and commentary is presented in an entirely different way.

                                                    1. re: sommrluv

                                                      Part of your issue, then, is who is reading the information? How do we know who is reading the information?

                                                      The information on the Food Network list is entirely factually accurate. The end result of both items on both lists (presuming people heed it) is that people will eat less meat. Further, the Food Network doesn't claim that one need spend more; only that eating less meat means less world-wide resources expended.

                                              2. re: sommrluv

                                                "I purchase my organic, grass fed beef by the 1/4, half, or whole for $2.12 hanging weight, plus .25 lb butching costs. Cheaper than the grocery store. "
                                                ~~~~~~~~~~~
                                                However, the majority cannot purchase meat in that manner. Essentially, "in bulk", even from a CSA or direct from a farm. From a storage issue, few people have a chest freezer or additional space to store that much meat.

                                                And not everyone has access to a real "butcher". So what works for you may not work for 85-90% of the country.

                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                  wondering where I would keep a 1/4 steer and a whole hog in a studio apartment....

                                                    1. re: kenito799

                                                      I've lived in studio apartments...you can easily fit a chest freezer if you were truly dedicated...cover it with a tablecloth, etc.

                                                      They are exceptionally economical on electric.

                                          2. I don't see why there is an issue at all. They're not telling everyone to be green. They're just giving tips for people who might want to do it so those of you who don't, just ignore it. Eating meat, whether it is grass fed, free range, etc. costs more environmentally than eating plants. Grass fed is a better option than factory farmed but eating plants is better than that. And, as people have pointed out, #13 is exactly what you're suggesting. Similarly, you could take offense with Michael Pollan's mantra in In Defense of Food for "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." He also doesn't say "Mostly grassfed animals."

                                            1. "is your burger green?" chow asks. why no, it's red!

                                              1. oh, look at chow's latest "green" endeavor: http://www.chow.com/stories/10870

                                                1. No offense intended, but I think you need a chill pill.

                                                  There is no scientist I have ever read or have heard about who doesn't recognize that production of animals for food takes more resources than that for plants. It's a very straight forward assessment that starts with the recognition that animals (or the animals they eat) *eat plants*. Grass fed may or may not take fewer resources, and it almost certainly is healthier (to start with, omega 3s vs. omega 6s), but even that takes more resources.

                                                  As far as militants are concerned, the shear number of militant meat eaters far, far, out number militant vegetarians -- it's just that we are so surrounded by our meat eating culture that we are used to them.

                                                  Name *one* vegetarian show on the FN. (Individual dishes , occasionally -- and even then they still often don't get it.) Now name all the shows on chili, barbeque, ribs, etc.,etc., etc. Count the number of times we hear people expound on the glories of bacon, or add chicken stock to otherwise vegetarian dishes, etc., etc.

                                                  Note I am *not* either defending or attacking vegetarianism, just putting it into perspective. Relax. We're in no danger of losing meat.

                                                  10 Replies
                                                  1. re: Richard 16

                                                    EXACTLY, Richard 16!. Word-parsing aside, the phrase "eat less meat" is reasonable advice no matter how you choose to interpret it. And believe me, this is coming from a devoted omnivore. I could never give up the pig. But cutting back on portions and paying far closer attention to sources has made a huge difference in my physical health.

                                                    I am interested in the earlier point raised about the green trend just being another marketing excuse. I agree that the trendygreen programs and promoters need to emphasize the ugly fact that most of our problems stem from one thing: CONSUMER CULTURE and capitalism run amok. Our "non-negotiable" american lifestyle is unsustainable and deadly. Hard to make a fast dollar off that message, though! :)

                                                    That said, I do think that any in-roads that can be made into the public consciousness is ultimately good, no matter how scattershot the trendygreen systems and messages may be. My co-worker, who has always been a typical American consumer, has signed up for a CSA because of the info she's gotten through green-related marketing and programming, which has highlighted the dangers of factory food for she and her family. It DOES reach people who haven't paid any attention in the past. It's a slow, small chipping at the edifice of ignorance and habit. The more information that people get, the more it sinks in. Slowly but surely. Inch by inch, etc.

                                                    1. re: dingey

                                                      I agree. I've been impressed with the number of shoppers I've seen who've brought their own bags, asked for no bags leaving the store, being conscious of where their food was coming from, packing school lunches with less waste, etc. Even if it is a marketing trend, it's raising awareness and that's a good thing. Well, except I didn't get my local farm raised eggs at the farmers market because they sold out with half an hour of the farmers market opening and I couldn't get a share of a CSA because they sold out too quickly. It was never an issue before.

                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                        GAAH! I never thought about organo-blocking backlash.

                                                        "DANGIT! The organictourists swiped my eggs!"

                                                        I also wanted to address the point that somebody made about the grassfed beef/CSA etc. options not being available to everybody. I think there's more options available than there are people aware of the options. Until my interest was piqued in CSAs two years ago because a friend was a member, I never knew that there were four in the area of my small city that were fully active and looking for more members. I also JUST found a local butcher, who's actually been there for 20 odd years. I had just never bothered to stop and see what they had, assuming it was just a packaged meat place......all local. I'd encourage anybody to look a little harder in their yellow pages, or ask your favorite restaurants if they have any local suppliers (CSA farmers or local butchers, cheesemakers, etc.) that they use that also work in smaller quantities. You might be surprised at the answer!

                                                        In terms of being able to AFFORD what's available, well...that's a valid point. I don't know how to address that. It's true that it's more expensive than buying crap food, but you also wind up eating less because it provides better fuel to the body. But, yes. I was there for many many years, living on a package of hot dogs and a sack of potatos each week because that's what I could afford. And it SUCKS! I think, though, that the more people support the alternatives, the more alternatives there will BE because they're viable now, which may eventually make things more affordable for everyone. Also, there seems to be a rise in interest in community gardening and things like that, which provide low or no-cost options for the working poor.

                                                        Blahblahblah. Sorry for rambling so.

                                                        1. re: dingey

                                                          I basically agree with you, and I think the issue isn't "not everybody has access to or can afford sustainably produced meat, so there's no point in promoting it" but "over time, these things may become more available and affordable, but it won't happen overnight -- so in the mean time, eat less meat, especially if you don't have access to the "good" stuff."

                                                          The analogy I like to use is public transportation: on an individual basis, people can choose to take public transportation to work, but if half the car commuters in an urban area got up tomorrow morning and decided to take public transport, the system would collapse. So, given the existing transport system, how do you change over to a sustainable model? It's not simply a matter of individual choices, even though individual choices are important, but of public policy, infrastructure, taxation, subsidy, etc. Same with food production: individual choices of what to buy matter, but all by themselves they won't change the larger system.

                                                          1. re: dingey

                                                            "I agree that the trendygreen programs and promoters need to emphasize the ugly fact that most of our problems stem from one thing: CONSUMER CULTURE and capitalism run amok. Our "non-negotiable" american lifestyle is unsustainable and deadly. Hard to make a fast dollar off that message, though! :)"

                                                            and

                                                            "I also wanted to address the point that somebody made about the grassfed beef/CSA etc. options not being available to everybody. I think there's more options available than there are people aware of the options."

                                                            well, dingey, is the consumer culture and capitalism good or bad?

                                                          2. re: chowser

                                                            That's the hilarious thing about this whole thread, far as I'm concerned: since I buy my meat from local farms, I'm getting better meat for less money than all the people mocking the whole organic/CSA/green concept are. So they can keep sniggering all they want, I'll just be over here with my dry-aged rib roast and thick-cut applewood smoked bacon, thanks.

                                                            1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                              I feel there is a whole reading comprehension issue here. Not with all of the posters here, just some.

                                                              I've stated several times that you CAN buy GOOD grass fed meat raised locally in small quantities cheaply, if you look.

                                                              You don't need to buy a quarter/half beef , but I do, because that's the best value...I imagine some people might seem like a larger output of cash, but you need to spend money to save it. And sometimes have some room in your freezer as well.

                                                              The same with CSA's, etc.

                                                              If you are familiar with animal husbandry and farming, as I am, you would know that raising an animal in this fashion does NOT take more resources, but can be done on the fallow field that year of an organic farmer, on rotated fields, some dairy farmers raise hybrid breeds of cattle, and after they ween off the calf, put them on grass feed.

                                                              4-H sells beef cattle every year to raise money...as well as pigs lambs, etc.

                                                              Many people here raise pigs in the famed, coveted style of the iberico...in a wooded lot on nuts and acorns, on the whey of their cheesemaking farm, with maybe some additives, depending upon what they are getting. Have you ever HAD a pig like this? Raised one? It's not using a lot of resources.

                                                              Please keep in mind so many of these new, green tips, farmers have been using for centuries...compost, conserving rain, I can go on forever.

                                                              My only point was the uneducated consumer, seeing the tagline on television with no explanation, believing everything they see in the box. People accept what they are told. Having worked in the field of the human mind for a few years, people are way more suggestible that you either know, or want to admit.

                                                              1. re: sommrluv

                                                                "Having worked in the field of the human mind for a few years, people are way more suggestible that you either know, or want to admit."

                                                                You are absolutely correct. People have an amazing ability to rationalize and justify almost anything, including how much more it takes to raise a cow than to produce grain. They will go to great lengths to prove that the cow that they bought was raised resource-free and ignore not only the impossiblity of that point, but also that the vast majority of meat produced in this country takes larges amounts of resources and places a strain on the environment.

                                                                It is almost as if these people are so afraid of their meat being taken away that they lash out without thought and characterize anyone who doesn't agree with them as crazy, militant, tofu-lovin' vegans.

                                                                1. re: sommrluv

                                                                  Speaking of reading comprehension: bringing a pound of meat to market requires more resources than a pound of grain, or a pound of vegetables.

                                                                  Why do you think there's an agenda behind that statement? It's a simple fact. Do you think there's an agenda behind gravity, too?

                                                                  1. re: sommrluv

                                                                    Do you know what percentage of the meat raised and sold in the U.S. is raised using the methods you describe vs. factory farming? I don't, so this is not a rhetorical question. I suspect it's something less than 20% (possibly a lot less), but I would be happy to be proven wrong.

                                                                    My point, above, is that individual choice is really a red herring. Individual choice has a slow and limited effect on farming practices. If we want everyone to be able to eat the kind of meat you're talking about -- and eat as much of it as they now do of factory-raised meat -- that's going to require a massive change in infrastructure and public policy.

                                                          3. I think it's obvious by now (both generally and in the above posts) that the key to environmentally-friendly foodie satisfaction is to eat less meat (not none) for a variety of reasons (humaneness, transport costs, nutrition/portions, etc.).

                                                            One thing that hasn't been mentioned, though, is the other part of the cow-environment puzzle. That is, that cows are one of the biggest contributors worldwide of greenhouse gases, specifically methane from their digestive processes. Really, the thought alone of cow "air" (really no nice way of saying this....) significantly contributing to the ruin of our atmosphere is enough for me to reduce the amount of meat I eat...

                                                            14 Replies
                                                            1. re: porceluna

                                                              cow farts ruining our atmosphere? evidence, please?

                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                LOL! The preceding poster's comment (the one responded to by alkapal) made me laugh, but alkapal's translation made me crack up! Much more succinct.

                                                                And my biggest question is why is it *just* cow farts? Horses and pigs fart too. I gotta believe elephants and rhinos fart way worse than cows do! Sheesh - when I was growing up, my father alone contributed to about 1/4 of the greenhouse gases in my neighborhood, for crying out loud!

                                                                So why is it just poor Bossie that is being blamed for raising the temperature of the earth? ;-)

                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                  I have found that tofu, and beans, the staples of the vegetarian diet are gassy foods. What are we to eat in order to not contribute to our planets impending doom.???

                                                                  1. re: swsidejim

                                                                    eat nothing. let your corpse decompose naturally.

                                                                  2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                    I think that cows produce methane, a greenhouse gas, while people and other animals do not...but not 100% sure on that

                                                                    1. re: glazebrookgirl

                                                                      "In the main, [human] flatulence is made up of five gases -- nitrogen and oxygen, which are swallowed while talking, chewing or drinking fizzy beverages, and carbon dioxide, hydrogen and methane, which are produced in the gastrointestinal tract during digestion of food."

                                                                      per: http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews...

                                                                      oh, goodness alive: "it is a lesser known fact that humans actually come in third pace, behind cows and pigs, in regards to damaging gas emissions." http://www.ecollo.com/post/2008/04/Si...

                                                                      you have to read this, cause it has a product that puts people farts to good, productive use! win-win!

                                                                      what a neat line of research!!!!

                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                        OMGoodness - who would have EVER thought that farts would be a topic of conversation on CH. The things you learn. <vbg>

                                                                      2. re: glazebrookgirl

                                                                        just to clear it up, I believe it's the belching process that releases the methane.

                                                                    2. re: alkapal

                                                                      http://www.epa.gov/rlep/faq.html
                                                                      http://jas.fass.org/cgi/content/abstr...

                                                                      An individual cow doesn't produce _that_ much methane, but with more than a billion large animals (cows and other ruminants) it adds up. I'm trying to find the paper I read recently that methane and nitrous oxide (not just from "farts" but also from decomposing manure) from cattle actually has more of an effect on greenhouse gas emissions that transportation vehicles worldwide.

                                                                      1. re: ccbweb

                                                                        the proportion of methane in the realm of so-called "greenhouse gases" is tiny. and, on top of that, the level of "greenhouse gases" in the atmosphere is similarly tiny. if people think cow farts work more than the sun in natural warming and cooling cycles, that bespeaks an agenda of making people conform to a concept that is simply not scientifically based.

                                                                        what about people's protein needs? does that ever figure in? nasa scientists have now documented global cooling. what does that mean? i believe that we cannot control the earth. i also believe we should feed people at the least possible cost. i also believe there are always smarter ways to address environmental waste, etc., but don't believe that we must diminish our protein inputs because of some bogus "global warming" arguments.

                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                          I got confused: which concept isn't scientifically based? (I'm totally serious, no snark here.)

                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                            pal, sorry, but you're seriously mis-informed.

                                                                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                              sorry sam, don't think so. the volume level of cow anything in the atmosphere is ridiculously small.

                                                                          2. re: ccbweb

                                                                            From burps, not farts--and lots. Methane is 10x more damaging by volume than CO2.

                                                                      2. This is ridiculous! The FN's "Eat less meat" statement was not only factually acurate, but also, needed. They are not saying we should shut down every meat counter in the land, or that we should have a meat tax, or that alternative meat sources are non-existent! They are simply saying: eat less meat.

                                                                        The funny part is we should all eat less meat! I LOVE steak, and I HEART bacon, but, I should still eat less meat because its better for me, my budget, and that big ole planet we all live in.

                                                                        Whether its hip, or trendy, or whether its a "money losing strategy" for the FN is besides the point! I applaude them for using their huge soapbox to pass on a factually correct statement that has no downside!

                                                                        Sommrluv, Alkapal: You are using very strong words such as "militant" and "propaganda". Why? I honestly would like to know why it bothers you so much? Are you being personally affected in some way by this? From your posts I can gleen no rationale for your positions!

                                                                        In any event, this is a very interesting discussion!

                                                                        1. It silly to react so defensively to this. The fact is, producing meat uses far more energy than producing crops. The amount of soybeans we use to feed ONLY the cows consumed in the US could feed every hungry mouth around the world. 10 calories of meat takes 1,000 calories of energy to produce. Meat production is wasteful, it's a fact. If, as a meat-eater, you take this to be "proganda" or an "agenda," you are in denial. It's not about abolishing a world of meat-eaters...it's about saving the world we have, for everyone.

                                                                          Rach

                                                                          www.pecanandmatzoh.blogspot.com

                                                                          1. I think what frustrates me most about new contributers, and why I keep referring them back to the thread, and not continuing to engage in this debate, is because they are not fully reading the thread.

                                                                            Rach stated about the soybeans produced to feed cows...the statement made by the FN is eat less meat, not eat less factory meat, or eat less unsustainably raised meat, or be aware of your meat choices.

                                                                            I have stated several times about how the statement made me 'a little shocked'. I didn't react defensively, I didn't pen a red letter to the FN telling them I'm boycotting sponsers, etc.

                                                                            I have also stated that I like the way Chowhound made comments about the 'is your beef green' article, when compared to the FN blurb.

                                                                            I'm a trained psychologist, the fact of the matter is, people believe what they see in a box. They see pictures on food cartons and dog food packages and feed their children and pets crap everyday based on commercials and printed propaganda. I think if they are going to run a blurb, they should run a correct one, that is my point.

                                                                            Obviously, factory farming has a client, and fills a need. It's distasteful, it's cruel, it provides a substandard unhealthy product, and it's not the best way to produce meat. But those like Dan Barber, who think it can be abolished, I don't think that is possible.

                                                                            However, sustainably raised meat on a proper diet is available, it's healthy, creates a minor strain on the environment, and a cow is eating a diet that it should be for it's unique digestives systems (many studies show cows shouldn't eat grains like corn or soy) it produces little or not methane.

                                                                            I'm surprised and dissapointed that only a few people can understand this message.

                                                                            Also, the secondary point is, like the foie gras and cooking oil bans in certain cities, (though foie is now free to fry in Chicago!) the possibility of certain foods being banned or restricted isn't a pipe dream. It comes from propaganda, half-truths, etc,

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: sommrluv

                                                                              Does it occur to you, as a trained psychologist, that people might understand what you're saying and disagree with it?

                                                                              "People believe what they see in a box" is a gross generalization. Obviously, you didn't believe the "Eat Less Meat" message, even when you saw it on the box. What makes you special? Could it be that there's some variation in the way that people respond to messages that they see in the media? That people don't believe *everything* they're told is so obvious as to be a truism. They may decide what to believe and not to believe for irrational reasons, but that doesn't mean that all statements, from all sources, are evaluated in the same way. And again, you keep talking as if there's no difference between "eat less meat" and "don't eat any meat."

                                                                              As for the issue of sustainable meat being "available," I notice that you didn't respond to my question about just what proportion of meat raised in this country is raised sustainably. Obviously, it's significantly less than 100%, so what does it mean to say that it's "available," especially if people continue to eat as much meat as they are now eating?

                                                                              And finally, as people have pointed out ad nauseum, the FN *did* bring up the issue of how meat is raised. So again, I really don't understand your beef. As it were.

                                                                              1. re: sommrluv

                                                                                It would be nice if the solution were to eat less factory meat, or to be more aware of your meat choices. The majority of the country and the world, however, can not afford to eat "sustainable" meat (which is an oxymoron, interestingly. Nothing about eating meat at the rates that we do is inherently sustainable. We sustain it, and poorly at that.). It is also the transportation of food products that contributes significantly to negative environmental effects. "Sustainable" meat is not locally available to urban populations and thus must be tranported, increasing the cost and emissions produced. The key is really to change the way we view our diets as a society. Were meat less relied upon and widely consumed, the impact of producing it would be subsequently greatly reduced.

                                                                                1. re: sommrluv

                                                                                  "I'm a trained psychologist, the fact of the matter is, people believe what they see in a box. "

                                                                                  Even the box that grass fed is better than plants. As people have pointed out, not only has Food TV advocated grass fed, but while grass fed is better than factory grain fed, it still comes at a greater cost than plants. "Minor" strain, as Sam pointed out below, isn't that minor.

                                                                                  http://www.foodrevolution.org/grassfe...

                                                                                2. I've been waiting to see the tone of the replies. With some exceptions, few were globally oriented. Livestock account for almost one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions—from fuel for transport, fertilizer for feed, processing, decomposing manure, and methane burps from cattle, Beef production has been a major factor in Amazon deforestation—for pasture, and for soybeans and corn for feed. A cow can burp 130 gallons of methane a day—equal to more than 2,600 gallons of CO2. Reduce meat eating by Americans by a fifth would be like all going from Camry to Prius while losing weight and getting healthier.

                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                      Thanks for that, Sam. When you come down to it, most Americans eat far more meat than is recommended and cutting back would be good thing, from a personal standpoint, as well as a global one. Grass fed (which Food TV does address as a benefit) is better than factory grain fed but still comes at a greater cost than plants. Food TV has never advocated going vegetarian yet many have read it as such. An analogy in my mind would be a suggestion to do volunteer work to help the community; some taking that to mean give up all worldly possessions and saying just in response, they're going to charge people in need even more, just to get even.

                                                                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                        well said.

                                                                                        as others have also said...people do eat far more of it than they need (then again i'm sure i eat more of certain things than i need...)....not just because of portion sizes or the fact that it's eaten at every meal.....but protein does come from other sources. Unless you are a strict meat and potatoes eater, and say indulge in dairy, beans, nuts etc, by the time you get to the supper meal, you may not even need 2 ounces, never mind 4.

                                                                                        But i can appreciate the fact that people love the stuff, it's not for me. Because i don't eat meat (with the exception of the very rare piece of fish), i DO have to eat protein for the most part at every meal to ensure that by the time i get to days end, i've totalled up what my daily requirement is. A meat eater, does not need to, because of the protein grams in one piece of meat

                                                                                        There are a lot of people out there who appear to believe that any meat just miraculously pop up in the supermarket in a styro container..well not really...but they don't want to think of the ewww factor of where it came from. Maybe reminders such as the FN's wouldn't go astray with some people.

                                                                                        The way i look at it, it can't hurt...i have no more issue with this, than food guide recommendations to eat more vegetables, or reminders to do the three R's.

                                                                                        Like it or lump it.....we're living in a world right now that is being affected by what we are doing in a negative manner. If we want future generations to actually HAVE land to feed livestock off of (aka not under water from melting ice caps)....you bet we're going to have to make some changes.

                                                                                      2. well summrlov, you won't like this either, Mark Bitten very eloquently telling us we need to eat a LOT less meat http://bitten.blogs.nytimes.com/
                                                                                        for both our health and the planet's health