Posted by: nickgerlich | November 5, 2007

Meating of the Minds

The headline last week reported that a recent study once again has linked fat with cancer in humans, and that processed meat is a big player in all this. As if this were something we haven’t heard a thousand times before.

MeatNaturally, the conclusions of the study are that we should strive for a BMY (Body Mass Index) between 18.5 and 24.9, limit ourslelves to not more than 18 ounces of beef each week, eat more fruit, eliminate entirely processed meats such as bacon, ham, sausage, and lunchmeat, exercise more, drink less alcohol, and curtail our consumption of salt. In other words, we should probably hang out at restaurants like Sweet Tomatoes

While I do not deny these recommendations, I do find it interesting to contrast the reactions given to this dietary caution, with those given to the Chinese toys covered in lead-based paint. In the case of the latter, about 75% of Americans have vowed to swear off Chinese-made toys this Christmas. In the case of the former, only the various meat industries are bickering, trying to cast doubt on the findings, but mostly just pointing fingers at one another. Consumers, though, predictably couldn’t care less, even though they are putting this processed food directly into their stomachs.

In other words, let’s all jump on the We Hate China train, and hope they serve us some bacon and bologna sandwiches along the way.

Why is it that consumers find it so easy to bash an entire country, but can’t seem to digest any information about their diets? Probably because it is easier to boycott goods from one nation (in spite of the fact that 80% of the toys sold in the US are imported from China), than it is to give up our entrenched dietary practices, lifestyles, and habits.

Which basically means that we’d really rather depend on the miracles of modern medicine to help dig us out of the hole we’ve fallen into, than actually be proactive.

I won’t deny that processed foods are handy and convenient. They’re portable and pervasive. But to change our diet and activity patterns would require some concentration, not to mention discomfort. Boycotting Chinese toys is easy, and there’s no pain in it for us.

The American Institute for Cancer Research reports that 39% of Americans say that cancer is their top health concern, but that one in two persons say it is highly unlikely they can do anything personally to prevent it.

No, the Chinese aren’t killing us with their toys. We’re killing ourselves. And the next time we start pointing fingers, we should be sure we’re standing in front of a mirror.

Dr “Pass The Veggies, Please” Gerlich


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