Meat oh Meat, what will you cost?

In continuation of my mulling after watching Cowspiracy….I thought about a friend on Facebook’s comment that swinging to the side of environmentalists to reduce meat production and consumption would negatively impact the economy. The claim started some not-very-researched thoughts going in my brain which I will unload here. YES, if everyone ate less meat then the meat/dairy industry would suffer. BUT, if everyone continued to eat as they do, and more and more of the world start to eat as Americans do, which is happening, then:

  • The obesity epidemic would explode. In Canada it is already estimated to be costing health care some $6+ billion dollars. That’s not including loss in work productivity if workers are on medical leave getting heart bypasses, or suffering from weight related mental health issues, slower in productivity because you just don’t move as quickly carrying the extra weight, as well as all the costs of outfitting workplaces, hospital and emergency room equipment to handle the extra large patients that are becoming more common.
  • Health worker injuries are increasing too as they hurt themselves trying to move large patients.
  • Health insurance gets more costly and companies have to pay more which trickles down to increased costs for consumers.
  • Check out this infographic from Forbes on what the obesity epidemic will cost.
  • I wonder if that’s why more North American companies are hiring foreign workers…they’re healthier, smaller, more nimble, you can fit more into a smaller area increasing productivity per square foot and they’re less of a burden from a health cost perspective.
  • Meanwhile, pollution would continue to increase exponentially thanks to noxious bio-gases released into our air (150 billion gallons of methane per DAY and that’s just from cows) and this sixth mass extinction we’re in could see us into a complete global ecosystem collapse.
  • There could be actual climate wars where population areas with bad climates might want to invade another with better climate (air/water). Didn’t the Syrian crisis start in a similar manner? Climate change drought drove people into already crowded cities, straining everything within, including emotions, and then a trigger set everything off. War always costs more than intended.
  • Then you’d have even more desertification of land due to animal over grazing. Fresh waters will be even more scarce. Oceans become more dead. Air quality will decrease. Cities will become more crowded. Welfare burden would increase. There won’t be enough jobs fast enough. Civil tensions will increase. Population health continues to decrease….and it all just looks more and more bleak from there.

In fact, the only people I can see benefiting would be plus-size home and fashion industry, health insurance companies, diabetes associations, pharmaceuticals and weapons manufacturing. Oh and the meat industries…but only for a short while before the whole system faces a collapse. I’m probably missing others but I don’t think it’s going to be the common public who will benefit economically. I really don’t think the national or global economy will benefit in the long term.

Am I a crazy pessimist? Are there other perspectives I need to consider as to why agribusiness shouldn’t be reigned in to healthier sustainable levels? (Though “sustainable” is something like 2oz of meat per person per WEEK.) 

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Meat oh Meat, Why Must I Love Thee?

I recently watched Cowspiracy, a documentary by Kip Andersen whose most recent cut is directed by Leonardo DiCaprio. It blew me away. The case against animal protein has been around for a while. While I’d acknowledge the merits to what they were saying, I’d rationalize and find other justifications to keep eating meat. I know the benefits of eating vegetables over meat…and I don’t consider myself a heavy meat eater anyways. I try to keep to serving sizes as recommended by Health Canada even though I know the recommendations by WHO is actually lower. I also acknowledge there are some awfully inhumane animal processing practices out there, because how else are you going to produce so much meat so cheaply and quickly? So I try to by organic or free range or grass fed where possible (read: convenient). I generally don’t have moral issues with eating animal products. I feel that domestic animals are for human use and consumption, so long as we treat the animal with respect and not take it for granted. Kind of like in Avatar where they thank the animal for giving its life for their food. Plus I’m Cantonese and we take pride in our diversity of food and flavors and ability to use the whole animal whether it is from above ground, on the ground, below ground or in the sea. There is very little wasted. 

But this documentary…wow. Scientists predict fishless oceans by 2048…that’s in my lifetime. I do not want that kind of world for us or Nessness. The numbers behind how much agribusiness negatively and devastatingly impacts our planet just astounds me. It’s not as though you could fudge the numbers and round up and sway the argument in its favor. And it IS very curious that none of our local champions of environment care organizations mentions how eating animal products have a direct impact on our environment. Could it really be that the massive and enormously wealthy animal lobbyist groups have bought everyone out? 

Each day, a person who eats a vegan diet saves 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 sq ft of forested land, 20 lbs CO2 equivalent, and one animal’s life. – Cowspiracy

If enough of us change from our meat-centered life-styles, these are some real numbers that can actually help the health of the planet more than recycling or conserving water and electricity in your home. But going from meat lover to vegan? Or to vegetarian? Or even in just cutting red meat? I’m struggling. Why didn’t I watch this AFTER I made some ox-tail stew or osso buco or rack of lamb or prime rib roast??? 

I’m working it out…struggling. I might not even be “that bad” in meat consumption (much less than 9oz a day which is the American daily average.) But one thing is certain, I have to change. Question is how? Follow our journey as we try to figure this out.

Week 30.5

Week30.jpg

I forgot to update but here it is, my Week 30 bump! I seem to be carrying pretty low….guesses from most people are that we have a boy. We’ll see in about 10 weeks! (omg…only 10 weeks to go)

Actually, on that note, my doctor advised that because I’m insulin dependent, there will likely be additional stress/complications if I don’t deliver soon after week 37. So if that doesn’t happen naturally, they will look at inducing before week 40. I’m all for minimizing complications, but the thought of being induced makes me a little nervous too. On the other hand, then we’ll know exactly which day Baby will come. I have another ultrasound in a couple weeks which will provide more information about what’s going to happen. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, controlling sugars has become more routine. As the placenta grows, it produces more hormone that makes me more resistant to insulin, so my injection dosage is slowly creeping up. I’ve also discovered that going for Shanghai food is a bit torturous considering how nearly everything is carb based. But it’s SO GOOD. Last time, I ate one shiao long bau, 1/3 cup Shanghai noodles, half a bun of some sort and that exceeded my carb quota already. Veggies and meat are free for all’s but usually you have to eat the meat with rice or something because there’s so much sauce (which is heavy on the sugar too). And then there’s dishes made with glutinous rice. Oh man. Needless to say I was still hungry afterwards.

Just a couple more months.
(omg it could be as early as just 7 more weeks!)

Battle with Sugar

We went on a little babymoon last week….to Houston and New Orleans. I know, it’s not what most think of when you think of a babymoon, but we’ve always wanted to see the deep South and there’s a next to no chance of us bringing kids to the French Quarter. It was also a great way to see and catch up with my dear friend Dahn (miss you!)….thank you for housing us and doing all the driving!!

Blackened and Fried alligator

Blackened and Fried alligator

I had a list of things I wanted to eat when we were in New Orleans:

  • catfish
  • crawfish
  • alligator
  • beniet
  • gumbo
  • fried green tomatoes
  • fried pickles

And tried them all we did. My favorites are blackened alligator and cajun-seasoned boiled crawfish. (My Mom is reading this and is probably tisk-tisking me for eating exotic meats and shellfish

Cajun seasoned crawfish

Cajun seasoned crawfish

while pregnant. The Chinese have a very long list of forbidden foods during pregnancy…but just a “little bit” can’t hurt can it?? For the record, I restrained from eating any oysters though they were really cheap and I totally wanted to.)

The biggest battle was with managing my blood sugar in gestational diabetes. All the breads were made with refined white flour. (No sprouted or whole grain products anywhere.) I kept to my restricted carb servings per meal and we were walking daily but still my blood sugar was really high. It was so discouraging each time I checked my sugars. Around day two of the trip I started to connect corn products to particularly high readings. If I ate corn chips…or cornmeal battered fried stuff…my sugar would take FOREVER to come back down. While I could avoid corn chips, the battered stuff was harder to avoid. Finding a decent salad was difficult too. Many vegetarian options were loaded with sugary carbs (i.e. white rice, breads) so that wasn’t a viable option either. I ended up increasing my insulin doses…which helped…but it was hard to be surrounded by all the food I wanted to try and had to hold myself back to just a couple bites. And I

Icing sugar coated beniets

Icing sugar coated beniets

skipped all desserts entirely. Man! For someone who really likes to eat….this was a tough battle. I felt I tried really hard with minimal results. And then I would worry for Baby thinking about all that sugar passing to him/her.

Skywalker reminded me that we really can only control so much. Trust is still in God and not in all the things I try to do…though doing them is still a good and wise thing. Three days in New Orleans compared to the three months left in pregnancy isn’t going to make massive impacts…but I should probably pick up the exercise now that I’m back home. I’m also SO happy to be eating green vegetables again!

Tragic

(Image not mine)I am very very very sad to share that the Chinese doctor I’m seeing for my thyroid condition has advised I cannot eat seafood for ONE YEAR.

One year!!!

That’s no sushi. No sashimi. No seaweed. No crab or lobster or shrimp. No KING crab. No mussles or oysters or clams or scallops. No abalone. No squid or octopus or jelly fish. No sea bass or ling cod or salmon or tuna. NO. SEA. FOOD.

Bwwwaaaaaaa!!!

It’s a total first world problem…but hey, if I lived by the sea and seafood was the predominate food source this could be a real problem. Wait…I DO live by the sea! Bwwwaaaaaa!!!

Pulled-together rationale: Seafood contains iodine. It is especially high in seaweed. Iodine is essential to the thyroid for making thyroid hormones which regulate metabolism amongst a whole host of other processes in our bodies. Most North Americans have the problem of an underactive thyroid hence our table salt is iodized to reduce hypothyroidism in the population. Having Graves Disease means my thyroid is already on the hyperactive side so I need to greatly reduce iodine intake to reduce thyroid hormone production. Yes that  means I don’t use regular table salt and I try to make most sauces and dressings from scratch so I can monitor its salt content. I can’t escape eating iodine, but by cutting seafood out, I greatly reduce the intake.

On a more positive note…at least this restriction isn’t forever. And if it can help me go into remission…I’m going to do it.

It still sucks a$$ not being able to eat seafood though.