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Is meat losing its allure?

Mark Bittman's latest blog entry - http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/...
is another of his exhortations to eat less meat. Along with other writers, notably Michael Pollan ("Eat food, mostly plants, not too much), the proponents of "less meat-tarianism" seem to be growing in number. Concerns about factory farming, extensive use of antibiotics and health issues, such as dietary cholesterol, have led many people to reduce or eliminate the meat component of their diets.

Are 'Hounds buying into this way of thinking or does tasty food trump everything else?

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  1. Meat lost its allure for me decades ago. I didn't have to give up "tasty food" when I gave up meat, because I do not find meat to be tasty. When the exhortations to give up cheese begin, though (if they ever do), I will have some soul-searching to do.

    1. I think it's losing its allure but I don't want to go veg yet. I have decided, no more grocery store meat if I can. Starting in July when the next season starts I"m joining a meat CSA.

      My one friend is going what he calls "Vealgan"...he plans to be veg at home but if he is out and want s meat or something is especially good looking he plans to eat it anyway. I will not convince my SO to go veg or "vealgan" though.

      3 Replies
      1. re: melpy

        that's the worst way to go because you have no control over the meat origin.

        1. re: fara

          I'm not really supporting the decision. This is why I preferred to find a meat CSA. While they aren't certified organic because they don't own the land they farm. That's the way they practice farming. Looking forward to trying it.

          1. re: fara

            Agreed in principle. I could also be a vealgan who usually tries to order meat dishes at restaurants where the source is known. I think it's a good step either way, especially for people who do not eat out often, because at least you're not eating the crappy stuff all the time. The more I avoid factory farmed meat, the more the thought of eating it is unappetizing, so nowadays I usually either order a fish dish(because I don't make fish a lot at home) or get the veggie option. Hope that makes sense...I haven't had any coffee yet this morning :)

        2. I've come to recognize that an Aristotelian prescription of moderation is a comfortable guide. Thus, in all things food and drink, I tend to purchase and consume less, but generally compromise with better quality. Tastier meat, fruit, vegetables, beer, wine, etc. Yes, I suppose I eat less beef when I split a rib eye with my wife, but it's dry-aged and prime. Ultimately, economic factors play a greater part than sociological or environmental ones.

          Occasional gluttony is no vice, when balanced with occasional deprivation.

          To be clear, meat is very alluring.

          2 Replies
          1. re: MGZ

            +1. Moderation in all things, including moderation has been my philosophy for many, many years. Eating a well balanced diet is the healthiest thing, but many in Western society have little self-control. We have many choices here to live a more healthy way of life without completely eliminating certain tasty foods.

            1. re: MGZ

              "Occasional gluttony is no vice, when balanced with occasional deprivation."


            2. The amount of meat we eat, per person, has not changed much in decades. The amount of carbs we get in our diet, is another issue.

              None of this, though, has any bearing on how much you should get.

              1. But there are still plenty of threads about low carb, no grain, or paleo diets - i.e. ones where meat, in one form or another, is a big part. Insects are a good source of protein, but haven't attracted a lot of attention yet.

                1 Reply
                1. re: paulj

                  Not if you follow hipster food movements--bacon (house smoked, natch) bacon, beef cheeks and pork belly in everything, offal, diy butchering, and odes to slaughter-my-own-pigs-as-personal journey, etc. But I may be wrong.

                2. Factory farm meat/poultry/eggs/dairy has lost its allure for me. It took a while, but now I have established relationships with a local free range egg source, true free range, small producer, a cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt and butter specialty dairy farmer, has 18 "Jersey Girls" in her total herd. A pastured pork and beef guy who raises about 8 pigs and a couple of Black Angus steers a year, and a poultry grower, heirloom turkeys, for Thanks giving, (Bourbon Reds), and meat chickens,Guinea Hens, Rabbits all nicely dressed, fresh or frozen.

                  The downside, yes there are downsides, it takes more time, effort, gas, and in all cases the products are at least 2 to 3 times more than supermarket prices. The benefits are the obvious superior taste and knowing all of your meat/dairy is humanely raised.

                  Since we are fortunate to live on the Gulf Coast of Florida, a steady supply of fresh fish is no problem too.

                  1. There have been various points in history where "eating less meat" was viewed as a positive health step, notably the latter part of the 19th Century which marked the advent of breakfast cereals as a step in avoiding meat and eggs for breakfast.

                    The reasoning may be new-er but the sentiment is the same (and, like every other food trend, cyclical).

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: ferret

                      Ferret, that is actually a really fascinating time in (food) history. Especially when you consider what role religion played in the process. It becomes especially fascinating when you think about how "religious" some people can be about the issues today.

                      1. re: DougRisk

                        I'm also currently in the middle of a non-fiction book of life in the mid-1930's. One of the individuals, in his early 60's, has a physical and his doctor recommends "eating less meat."

                        The "meat/no meat" thing ebbs and flows.

                      2. re: ferret

                        Though there were 'more meat' advocates at the time as well, such as Dr Salisbury.

                        1. re: ferret

                          Yes, the "advent" (apt word choice as you will see) of breakfast cereal was connected to the Seventh Day Adventist Church which advocated (and still does) preparing for the second coming of Christ through getting the mind, body and soul ready - whole grains were seen as healthy hence the invention of corn flakes (Dr. Kellogg a SDA) and graham crackers( Dr. Graham also a SDA). And yes, I agree trends are cyclical. I personally like everything so I don't think I eat to much of anything. Whenever anyone "gets religion" (as in the case of Bittman) they want everyone else to convert as well.

                        2. I find, as I vine ripen, that I enjoy other foods and flavors more, thus I do eat meat but, less of it per week. I really enjoy pairing food, artisen cheeses, salumi's or other dry cured meats, crusty breads, roasted veggies etc. with craft beers and good wine.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: cstr

                            Wow..pretty soon cstr, you'll be asking where the vegan patty melts are in SD.. ; )

                            37 years of not eating red meat...ok..I do crave a double double from In and Out once a year and I do eat fish and chicken.

                            I have no issues with others eating meat like my meat loving husband..it's just not for me.

                            1. re: Beach Chick

                              I was (unintentionally) off meat all last week (Saturday through this past Sunday) - just how things played out. By Sunday I was already strategizing on maximizing my meat intake over the next couple of days.

                              I certainly don't eat it daily, but I could never see removing it from my diet altogether.

                              1. re: Beach Chick

                                Get the backhoe out if start craving vegan PM's, put me in the ground. Fessup BC, you do occassionally indulge in a beefy PM from the Studio, right?

                                1. re: cstr

                                  LOL..damn you cstr..alright. ...alright...
                                  I've had a PM at Studio Diner and it kicked some serious ass on goodness...I did have to slather it with gobbs of thousand and after I ate half of it, I realized, I couldn't do it anymore...visions of my pet steer came into my head and I had to back away..

                                  The garden burger patty melt all gussied up with grilled onions, extra cheese on rye is out frigging standing..listen to your baby girl and go this weekend and make it for the family..served with a salad..Yum!
                                  Grill the garden burger first with the onions and then assemble like a grilled cheese sandwich.

                                  Report back without the backhoe..
                                  ; )

                            2. There are several studies that charted and tracked men in Germany immediately after WWII, there was a marked reduction in Heart Disease among adults The post war diet of the late 1940s through mid 1950s, in Germany, was missing the traditional pork based products, sausages, roasts and pork offal, etc. instead the population was forced through necessity to consume more vegetables, grains and plants. Gradually as West Germany prospered, during the "German Industrial Miracle" of the 1960s, the levels of heart disease returned to pre-war levels.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: ospreycove

                                I find that summary to be highly questionable (not blaming you, just your source). That's a fairly small window to jump to such conclusions -- and results.

                                1. re: ospreycove

                                  it could also be the fact that people were near starving in post WWII Europe. I have read that this accounts for some of the health benefits in that generation.

                                  1. re: fara

                                    fara, exactly, that was the point, when diets are drastically changed to reflect the food/nutrition available, not the prefered foods of the culture: that is when noticable and measurable differences occur.

                                2. Factory-farmed meat truly sucks, but if you go to the average supermarket--no, not Whole Foods or Trader Joe's and that ilk, more like a Wal-Mart SuperCenter--you'll see that people aren't filling up their carts with whole chickens and sirloin steaks. They get their meat in frozen chicken nuggets, Hormel "entrees," TV dinners, Banquet breakfast sausages, etc. If "fresh meat" is bought it's almost always ground beef to go into Hamburger Helper or something like that. These people couldn't care less how their meat was raised--all they want is something they can throw in the microwave or oven in between picking the kids up from day care and when "Dancing With The Stars" comes on. And I can guarantee that none of them know or care who Mark Bittman and Michael Pollan are.

                                  18 Replies
                                  1. re: MandalayVA

                                    I'm more interested in the views / habits of "Hounds than the Wal Mart demographic. The boards are full of posts concerned with maximum eating pleasure as well as posts concerned with health, sustainability and eco friendliness. I'm curious how people reconcile those values, not to say they are mutually exclusive, but sometimes conflict.

                                    1. re: Rmis32

                                      Oh, please. To paraphrase the immortal words of George Carlin, the earth can shake humanity off like a bad cold if it wants to regardless of what we eat or don't eat. Lessening meat consumption is trendy because people have bought into the fallacy that it's unhealthy. It's not. It's the stuff that's eaten with the meat--the breadings, the pasta, the fries, the bread--that's the danger.

                                      As long as you're eating real unprocessed food, you'll be fine, bottom line. Stay away from restaurants with the Sysco truck pulled up in the back. Learn to cook instead of eating out every meal. Things will be copacetic--and delicious.

                                      1. re: MandalayVA

                                        MandalayVA: Agree completely. Basic sense, moderation, diversity--no secrets here. Heirloom foods are fine and nice and better that they're here than not, but one make a pleasurable, healthful, and maybe even memorable diet from good quality "conventional" products--at much more democratic prices. For me, not choosing to eat meat is an ethical decision : what's the proper treatment of other sentient beings. Like pigs and cattle.

                                        1. re: MandalayVA

                                          MandalayVa.....I am sure you know the value of a restaurant that truly cares about what it serves, i.e "Hen of The Woods in Vt. The Inn at Little Washington, Va. etc. Where we live as in most areas with a vibrant downtown there are about 75 to 100 restaurants in Sarasota County, I have found exactly 3 that I feel good about eating their food.

                                          s a matter of fact, at one, Bologna Cafe, the owner said to us "I am very happpy that you trust me to serve you the best food possible". They make everything by hand, only use raw ingredients of the highest quality. Again, there is a downside based on the cost of the dishes, we pick our times when we go there.

                                          1. re: MandalayVA

                                            "Lessening meat consumption is trendy because people have bought into the fallacy that it's unhealthy. It's not."
                                            That's a problematic statement in the context of the American diet. While meat itself is not unhealthy (as in 'it shouldn't be eaten') the traditional American diet is unbalanced in term of how much meat it contains and is in fact unhealthy as such. The 12 ounce steak may be fine as an occasional indulgence, but featuring a huge chunk of meat as the centerpiece of every dinner and most lunches does not make for a balanced diet.

                                            There's no health fallacy unless you're interpreting everyone who advocates ingesting less meat as saying that meat is inherently unhealthy. That's not the point. Many Americans (myself included at times) just eat proportionally too much of it. Less meat and more vegetables would in fact be healthier for the majority of Americans.

                                            "As long as you're eating real unprocessed food, you'll be fine, bottom line."
                                            Generally speaking, less processed foods tend to be healthier than heavily processed ones, but that's still a heuristic far to simplistic to provide much useful dietary guidance. There are a million and one ways to destroy your health eating only unprocessed foods, from malnutrition to morbid obesity to food poisoning. An intelligently chosen, well proportioned, varied diet is the way to go.

                                            1. re: MandalayVA

                                              You could say the same thing about people buying into the non-fallacy (according to you and a variety of scientist) that breadings, pasta, fries, and bread are The Danger.

                                              It's moderation. Moderation. Portion size. Variety. A balanced diet that includes protein, vegetables, fruits, and yeah, some carbs. Won't kill ya unless your metabolism/body chemistry isn't already fucked up. Which I understand is the case with many people who choose low-carb. I just don't understand how you get there without having totally overindulged on those 'dangerous' carbs.

                                              I love meat. I love pasta. In fact, I could eat pasta 3-4 times a week. But even with a reasonable portion size, adding veggies & meat or fish or whatevs, this would not be a well-balanced diet.

                                              I do eat meat about 2-3 times a week, and generally try to get 'happy' meat.

                                              1. re: linguafood

                                                I agree, Lingua, As far as "Happy Meat" goes. One can readily agree that unprocessed, non-factory raised, non-growth hormone stimulated, and not packaged with preservative chemicals, meat animals cannot be a bad thing. I, for what it is worth, like to think of the pork chop that I am eating is the result of a humanely raised, pastured, freely fed, animal from a clean chemical free environment; vs. a creature that is restricted to a feces filled cage where it is too tight to turn around,in a building with unbreathable air, lights on 24 hours a day, being fed chemical laden feed designed to produce maximum weight gain. I guess that is why some prefer to "know the source of one's food".

                                              2. re: MandalayVA

                                                Low carb is as much of a diet fad as vegan is.

                                                1. re: rasputina

                                                  Read a diet book published before, say, 1960. My mom seemed to have all those books and the advice in them was the same--"cut out starches and sugar." Low-carb WAS the diet until Ancel Keys, George McGovern and Big Agro jumped on the low-fat "healthy whole grains" bandwagon based on shoddy science and cherry-picked data. Now people stuff themselves with grains and sugars (but no evil fat) and wonder why they're fat and hungry all the time.

                                                  1. re: MandalayVA

                                                    Or look at a restaurant menu from those years; diet platters always consisted of cottage cheese with a burger patty.

                                                    1. re: MandalayVA

                                                      That description is unfair to the 'whole grains' proponents. Yes, many 'low fat' products are higher in sugar than their 'full fat' counterparts. But that's not what the doctors were advocating.

                                                      Next time you have colonoscopy, ask the doctor what diet he recommends.

                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                        Doctors are the last people one should ask about nutrition, sorry.

                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                          PaulJ, whether you are agreeing or disagreeing with what Mandalay and MCF had just said, your reply does not speak to that.

                                                          A Modern doctor may recommend one or another thing for a colonoscopy (today), but that does not speak to what a doctor may have said 60 years ago for losing weight (i.e. cutting body fat).

                                                          1. re: DougRisk

                                                            I wasn't thinking so much about weight loss as diet that is good for colon health.

                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                              For both goals, subbing veggies for grains would be most effective.

                                                        2. re: MandalayVA

                                                          Low carb diets still persist, but I agree that the Med diet fad ended up doing little except giving folks the OK to eat huge bowls of pasta, with bread and oil and sa little mesclun for color. If they were true to the Med diet, they'd have modest portions of lentils and greens and olives ands some animal proteins and some whole wheat pane di casa, not much sugar, and wine. No snacks, no gallon of popcorn. Low/no fat does not mean low calorie. It's all about balance and variety and portion size.

                                                    2. re: Rmis32

                                                      No conflict here. The values of others aren't mine. And, I'd bet a lot on most being complete hypocrites and only following fads when it comes to all the green stuff or when it's just convenient; after all, most just HAVE to tell the world about what they're doing, instead of just doing it quietly.

                                                      For me, to survive is to do so at the expense of others. Getting a place in college, a job a promotion, etc. is all done at the expense of another. Eating something means someone else misses out. Breathing means something loses its chance. I don't know how much energy I'll consume in my lifetime, but, even when only counting food energy, it's tons, more than any herd of cattle. The only way to "do no harm" is to not exist. No, thanks.

                                                      On meat, no, it hasn't lost its allure. At the same time, I recognize that it's everything else that really makes/breaks a good meal/dish. Meat only brings umami (I guess you can throw in salt there). That leaves everything else to bring bitter, sweet and sour to create something wonderful instead of something just average/nice.

                                                      1. re: Rmis32

                                                        can i fit in both?
                                                        i shop at walmart...but i dont load up on processed foods there either...the occasional boston market meal or stouffers mac and cheese not with standing...
                                                        i have tried hormel pork roasts...and yes once in a great while HH...
                                                        but i dont buy meat from walmart...

                                                    3. Ideally, I'd like to make meat something special, only a few times/month...preferably grass fed beef for home cooking, save the grain fed unhealthy stuff for my occasional steak house outings. Great when its just my wife and me. In reality, not so easy to do when my kids are home.

                                                      1. Great question Rmis32. My friend had me watch Healing Cancer From Inside Out by Mike Anderson http://www.amazon.com/Healing-Cancer-...
                                                        That movie gave me a lot to think about. What I think is right for me ideally is to eat meat once or twice a week and that's it. Whether I can follow this in practice is another thing. Basically I'd rather eat meat now and then than take supplements. Right now I'm eating meat about every other day. That movie knocked my socks off.

                                                        1. I have been eating less meat than I grew up eating, which is not at all to say that I avoid it. Though for me, the environmental and health effects are not really the motivating factor (they are considerations though). I've just gotten more interested in the cooking of Asian cultures, where often meat is used as a component of the dish rather than its centerpiece. That style of cooking is simply more interesting to me at this point.

                                                          oes tastiness trump all? I'm certainly not gonna start eating bland food that I don't enjoy. But there are plenty of food traditions that make absolutely delicious, flavor-packed foods using less meat and more veggies than the traditional American diet I grew up eating. So for me, there's no downside.

                                                          1. Well, Bittman is not necessarily the best example: he's just trying to novate his brand, which I don't think is as successful as his prior incarnations (he began to lose his way when he became more of a gourmand-tourist: it's the same appeal to the upper-middle/upper-class segment of the market that PBS did years ago in much of its programming, and others are doing it too).

                                                            I think if people are in general eating less meat these days, it's because of the economy. But I am not sure that's happening on a vast scale.

                                                            I am much more concerned about finding ways to get people to learn basic approaches to prepare and cook less processed foods - I think the loss of folk knowledge of cooking (consider how many Americans rely on prepared foods and the microwave, and for whom the oven and broiler is rarely used compared to the past) is *far* more serious a threat to our well-being than whether to eat less meat or to eat more locally. Because a dramatic reduction in cooking skills in the home means people will perforce be relying more and more on prepared foods, and not much by way of, say, the street food culture of East and Southeast Asia.

                                                            I think an increasing number of food writers appeal to the neuroses of their own cultural class, and are missing out on things that are even more portentous.

                                                            8 Replies
                                                              1. re: Karl S

                                                                How old is folk knowledge of the oven and broiler? As old as the modern stove?

                                                                1. re: paulj

                                                                  The knowledge of baking, broiling, frying, roasting, et cet. is older than the particular devices (I've seen home cooks in the desolate village where my grandmother grew up in the late 19th century handle all those things with their hearth - this was a 2-window cottage that was built by my great-great uncle....). The problems is an increasing number of people in America are less and less conversant in how to do those things with the devices they have.

                                                                  (Mind you, I am aware that, in urbanized areas in the past several hundred years, bread baking was largely outsourced. So I am not idealizing the past. Yet, what we have today makes us particularly vulnerable to what sells rather than what is good for us.)

                                                                  1. re: Karl S

                                                                    Karl, maybe the next step in this loss of skills is "Soylent Green". Since today, most people are clueless about the sources of their food, methods used to process it, and additives incorporated in its final presentation.

                                                                    1. re: ospreycove

                                                                      2022 is only 11 years away.........

                                                                      1. re: ospreycove

                                                                        Wow ospreycove, you took that to a dark place! He he a hound after my own heart. Great movie btw.

                                                                        1. re: givemecarbs

                                                                          givemecarbs.....That movie is one of the Classic B Movies of all times!!!!...LOL

                                                                  2. re: Karl S

                                                                    Great insights Karl. There is a great thread, A decline in home cooking? in Not About Food
                                                                    I haven't checked in on it for awhile but there are some helpful suggestions and also to my surprise one of my fellow hounds argued fairly strongly against home cooking for her and her daughters at least. Hearing opposing views and sticking up for my own was a good mental workout for me. Thanks for mentioning the lackobuxs syndrome, I know eating less meat has been saving me quite a bit of time and money.

                                                                  3. For me, meat can never and will never lose its allure. Sure, I get sugar/carb cravings and don't dream of steak. But I am so anemic that if I don't regularly consume meat, all the iron pills and peanutbutter and eggs in the world won't save me.

                                                                    Secondly, no, I just think the demand for QUALITY meat will, hopefully, spring up. There's already been a lot of pressure on factory farms with films like Fast Food Nation, Food INC, and the like. Places like Panera bread have made money off of schlepping their antibiotic-free chicken. I feel that if the American economy could stop bleeding people would put their money towards meat that isn't laden with hormones and other issues.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: sugarflowers

                                                                      Sugarflowers, good point. I used to go out to dinner on a weekly basis with this one large group and I couldn't help but notice that the men all got steaks and the women all got chicken. I used to think, come on, you gals are bleeding monthly, if anyone could use the red meat it's you girls. But the older I get the less I know.

                                                                    2. Meat eater her, except for veal, poor little calves.

                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                      1. re: hueyishere

                                                                        Except for free range calves -- they're out there.

                                                                        1. re: hueyishere

                                                                          With all due respect, what is the difference between a baby cow and a full-grown cow? Cuteness? C'mon, that is, dare I say, bull.

                                                                          1. re: wordong

                                                                            I don't really know much about veal production, but I know that the old standby objection to it wasn't about the age of the animal, but that it was kept from moving during its short life in order to increase the tenderness of the meat.

                                                                            I believe there is now 'free-raised veal' available for people who objected on these grounds.

                                                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                              If you're looking at veal at the market and it's really white, it's caged, inhumanely raised meat (very tender, though). If the veal is pink, though, it's pastured, humanely raised meat. Not so tender, but still delicious.

                                                                              1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                pik Agree, pastured veal is very tasty and not raised in dark barn/warehouses in tight no movement pens.

                                                                        2. I'm a fan of all meats, but am cognizant of my total consumption.

                                                                          As such, I've not so much reduced the number of times I eat meat, but do try to enjoy it in simpler forms and simpler portions. In other words, it need not be the focus.

                                                                          For example, instead of buying a giant steak to grill and eat at one sitting, I'll buy a certain cut that can be sliced thin and used for multiple dishes over the next few days. Or instead of a meal with 3 pieces of chicken, I'm happy with some chicken mixed in with a burrito that's also packed with other stuff.

                                                                          Upon reflection, this isn't so much driven by meat-related decisions, but a desire to enjoy food in smaller, variety-filled portions.

                                                                          21 Replies
                                                                          1. re: tastyjon

                                                                            I think the anti-meat trend is dying out now that carbs are turning out to be more dangerous than previously thought.

                                                                            1. re: david t.

                                                                              Anything in moderation is OK. The thing is over doing anything. Corn can Kill you if you eat too much...I Just think we want a villain and someone too blame other than ourselves.

                                                                              1. re: chris2269

                                                                                Cyanide is not ok in moderation. Sugar (cane or HFCS) or trans fats, while not especially harmful in moderation, do you no apparent good (well, sugar is good for you if you're starving or hypoglycemic or a serious athlete... it also tastes good, which has some value).

                                                                                Consider that people who follow dietary science aren't looking for a scapegoat or whipping boy but are just looking for information to help guide them to make intelligent well informed choices about how they nurture themselves.

                                                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                  ...iinsert food here...and your right education about anything is a great idea. Also blaming anything you have control over is a cheap way out. So lets say meat is bad ...one step further red meat is really bad...you do realize that's an inanimate object no one (at least I hope ) is not forcing you to ea it.. So pick something butter the dreaded corn syrup substitute again all things you have control over...ok off to eat really unhealthy Mexican food here in so cal.

                                                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                    Agree radiation..Mercury whatever is not healthy but comparing a steak to cyanide wow you going to stand by that ...more power to you

                                                                                    1. re: chris2269

                                                                                      You mistake me. I've eaten steak this week. I don't find meat unhealthy in moderation (heck, fish is probably very healthy in appropriate amounts).

                                                                                      Cyanide was just an example against what I see as a more general negative attitude toward nutrition science, favoring heuristics and rules of thumb that are often incorrect. Not trying to single you out - I see that attitude a lot round here.

                                                                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                        Trust me I do not take it personal. In fact if someone challenges me I actually kind of like it. So no disrespect from this end.

                                                                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                          Small amounts of cyanide are in some common foods, suggesting that it is in fact ok in moderation. Spinach, almonds, etc. are not lethal. As for radiation, if you're living in 21st Century America, you are, and have been, exposed to small doses of it on a daily basis . The same is true of mercury.

                                                                                          1. re: MGZ

                                                                                            Okay. I rescind the above example.

                                                                                            I humbly submit the Ebola virus for continued consideration.


                                                                                            1. re: MGZ

                                                                                              In addition, Cyanide is produced from Cassava, which feeds roughly 700 million people worldwide. Heck, you can find Cassava aka Yuca at any grocery store now a days.

                                                                                              1. re: wordong

                                                                                                Though what you find in the grocery is the small 'sweet' variety, with a relatively low level of cyanide.

                                                                                                1. re: paulj

                                                                                                  Not at my local Asian market. 1 1/2 feet to 2 feet long.

                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                          Moderation is the process of eliminating or lessening extremes. It is used to ensure normality throughout the medium on which it is being conducted.

                                                                                          Sorry I had to post that. :)

                                                                                          My personal definition would be do not indulge in any thing to the point it gets in the way. Anyway that's mine what is yours?

                                                                                          1. re: chris2269

                                                                                            What difference does it make? My point was that what it adds up to is purely subjective or individual. Hence it has no meaning. Everyone just thinks it's what they do that's so much wiser than what everyone else does. :-)

                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                              Well, morals and ethics vary depending on individual and situation but they have meaning. Moderation, imo, is stopping before it affects your health, long term. It also depends on the individual and the situation. My cousin used to smoke 1-2 cigarettes a year, when he'd go to jazz bars (actually about half a cigarette). I don't think that caused any long term damage to his body. That's moderation.

                                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                                There is a point where moderation is exceeded for all substances ingested by the human body and observable, detrimental effects are experienced. Although what is permissible moderation may vary from one individual to another, the consequences of excess are observable and not meaningless. Moreover, time, basic body function, and the ability to introduce new substances to the body permit regaining equilibrium. This also illustrates an objective element.

                                                                                                While it is true that psychologically we may rely upon our own "rightness" to our detriment, there is almost always a right and wrong answer to a question. Thus, whether or not we have enough data to fully determine what is the "right" diet, it seems reasonable to take what data we do have, process it through our own accumulated experiences, as well as our intellectual analysis, and conclude what we deem best for ourselves.

                                                                                                1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                  You seem to be proving my point.

                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                    Supplementing it, perhaps. The only disagreement I maintain is that moderation is not "purely" subjective.

                                                                                            2. re: mcf

                                                                                              Has your own conception of moderation changed over the years? When I was growing up, we ate meat for dinner about 5 times per week and half the time for lunch. Now, I eat meat, mostly chicken, 2-3 times weekly for dinner and rarely for lunch. I try not to bring sweets into my home, reserving them as treats, when I am out.

                                                                                              I wonder if 'Hound attitudes have something to do with their age. As I get older, I am more motivated to maintain healthy habits. When I was younger, I took good health for granted.

                                                                                              1. re: Rmis32

                                                                                                I don't think in terms of moderation, I sought and switched to what is best for me, and it's a dietary extreme. I resisted it at first, but have adapted over the years, becoming more extreme for health and enjoyment. I have moderated the deleterious effects of diet on my health, with much more than moderate changes in diet composition.

                                                                                      2. My husband has eaten no red meat or red meat products for over 30 years. And frankly, neither he nor I have missed much, If I feel a need for a steak, I enjoy it when we dine out or when he dines out with friends.

                                                                                        1. In Aspen, CO -
                                                                                          Meatless Mondays Catch On, Even With Carnivores
                                                                                          A new nationwide pro-veggie effort, however — aimed at persuading people to go meatless at least one day a week — has been embraced here more than in any other city in America. At least 20 institutions and restaurants, including Syzygy, are offering vegetarian choices on Mondays under a plan announced this month.

                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Rmis32

                                                                                            I have no qualms about eating meat but it certainly doesn't follow that I have meat every single day and at every meal. From a marketing perspective I get a "meatless Monday" but are there actually people out there who have to have meat every day?

                                                                                            1. re: ferret

                                                                                              The Man comes from Midwestern stock and they like to have meat every day. He's good about one meatless dinner a week but finds them less satisfying.

                                                                                              I like meat with my meals, too, but I take a much smaller portion. Seems to me if we just increased our vegetable portions and decreased the meat portions with each meal, we'd probably achieve the same effect on our overall health.

                                                                                              1. re: ferret

                                                                                                <*raises hand*> I have to center my diet around protein and fat for health reasons. For me, given my preferences and needs, that makes animal proteins, meat, fish, poultry especially important. I also buy only wild fish and grass fed/finished beef.

                                                                                                If you look at my plate, it's covered with carbs in the form of non starchy, colorful and fibrous veggies and greens, but 85% of my daily calories come from fat and protein.

                                                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                                                  But as you acknowledge, not every meal needs to be red meat. You can get protein from any number of sources and I doubt that you're drawn to red meat every single day.

                                                                                                  1. re: ferret

                                                                                                    Red meat is not specified in this topic. I eat animal protein of some sort at every meal.
                                                                                                    I don't enjoy eating the same thing at every meal any more than the next person. This week's dinners have included lamb, beef, chicken, pork, eggs, fish and cheeses, frex.

                                                                                                  2. re: mcf

                                                                                                    Putting it into proportion as calories go, though, the big volume of a diet can be made of non starchy vegetables but because calorical-wise they're so much less dense than meats/fats, the % of total calories will be small. I'm not speaking for your diet since I don't know your proportions but I'll have a huge salad w/ a lot of vegetables, some sort of meat protein that's not huge and dressing where the salad overwhelms the rest volume-wise. But, calorically, it doesn't compare to the rest.

                                                                                                    What I rarely do is have a restaurant portion steak, a huge baked potato and a small salad, or whatever wink to a vegetable the restaurant serves. This is where meat is less important to me.

                                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                                      "Putting it into proportion as calories go, though, the big volume of a diet can be made of non starchy vegetables but because calorical-wise they're so much less dense than meats/fats, the % of total calories will be small."

                                                                                                      Exactly. This time of year, most of our dinners consist of dinner plate sized mixed greens salads topped with grilled proteins, maybe some avocado, nuts, cheese, and I also have warm or cold grilled veggies on hand. So huge salad, ample but not huge protein serving.

                                                                                              2. I don't think meat is losing it's allure at all. I think people are becoming more educated about meat and are becoming more concerned about the provenance of the meat they want to buy. However, I don't think a lot of people are ready to find a farmer and drop $600 a shot on a side of beef because $600 is quite a bit to throw down at once. It is indeed worth it considering you won't buy meat again for almost a year and you really paid $2 per pound.
                                                                                                On the other hand I think people have a tendency to spend as little as possible in the grocery store, which makes no sense to me. If you're going to cook for yourself and/or for others why would you not buy the best possible ingredients? I'm a firm supporter of quality over quantity and I think that mind set is starting to grow regarding meats.

                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: HeBrew

                                                                                                  I don't get that spend as little as possible at the grocery store mentality either HeBrew if I have money to spend. Glad to hear of the new mind set. It's good to know how to be extremely frugal when necessary (see wisebread one of my fave sites) but people tend to get entrenched I guess.

                                                                                                  1. re: givemecarbs

                                                                                                    I agree, completely, why seek out the "cheapest" food....You are eating it!!!!!! Another reason to know your food source.

                                                                                                  2. re: HeBrew

                                                                                                    I generally eat 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 pounds of meat a day and it can get really expensive, I went to a Whole Foods a couple of weeks ago and was astonished by the prices.

                                                                                                    1. re: redfish62

                                                                                                      I'm amazed you can eat that much. My range is from a quarter pound to maybe two-thirds on most weekdays.

                                                                                                      Do you plan things out (say, pork for breakfast, poultry for lunch, etc.) or is it just random as it goes?

                                                                                                      1. re: ediblover

                                                                                                        It's not that much spread over a day, especially when you're replacing large starch servings with it.

                                                                                                        1. re: ediblover

                                                                                                          I plan out all of my meals well in advance, generally I am after a certain amount of protein and a certain amount of starch depending on the day's physical activity and what I will be doing the next morning.

                                                                                                          If the meat is very lean I can get away with less poundage ... I shoot for 180-200 grams or so of protein per day. I have some whey protein for breakfast which helps.

                                                                                                          Try not to eat the same thing two days in a row so it will generally go fish, poultry, beef, fish, poultry, beef.

                                                                                                    2. The thing that I find curious about meat is how many people feel guilty about eating it, like it is something that should be avoided.

                                                                                                      I eat animal flesh like it was going out of style, and I eat all kinds of it.

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: redfish62

                                                                                                        I am 100% unapologetic about eating meat with just about every meal. I am not going to get into a big philosophical discussion about why I choose to feel that way- I only flip the big bird to those who say I shouldn't.

                                                                                                      2. am "buying into this line of thinking" AND still very interested in tasty food - it MAY not be a choice between becoming vegan and having a porterhouse every night for dinner

                                                                                                        1. I just did a fast search and beef sales seams pretty stable. If you scroll down to the U.S. Meat and Livestock Trade, 2002-2010 the drop off between 2004 and 2006 is nuts. Mad Cow? not sure


                                                                                                          I know just numbers and I am holding back getting into the whole political thing about eating meat.

                                                                                                          I do eat meat but I never tell anyone I do ... never really comes into my mind yet I find people who do not or only eat fish or chicken seem to bring that up to me a lot. My friend did just the other night. Out at dinner and I ordered beef and he ordered chicken and said " I don't eat red anymore" love him but who cares I wasn't wondering why you ordered chicken,.


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                                                                                                          1. re: chris2269

                                                                                                            Factory raised chickens are an interesting item, not exactly enjoying their lives in 24 hour a day artificial light ,being fed the by-products of their cousins, in shoulder to shoulder squalid "grow houses" before they are hung,, alive, upside down on the track to the automatic head slicer and blood drainer. Some of my friends question why I am willing to pay 2-3X more for a pastured naturally raised and humanely killed bird. Same goes for Pork and Beef that I buy direct from the small time producers.