Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What DOESN'T Kill Me?

And that is a question.

The latest nutritional brouhaha getting sensationalized is one called “Red Meat Consumption and Mortality.”  It is an observational study (no lab rats or mice were harmed) following 120,000 men and women. The findings of this study (Cue the dramatic music)  claim eating red meat WILL kill you.

My response, via Olympia Dukakis in her Oscar winning role in “Moonstruck”: “Cosmo, I want you to know, no matter what you do, you’re going to die, same as everybody else.”

Pretty much.  One day, your heart will say, “Th-th-th-that’s all, Folks” and stop. Not a goddamned thing either you or I or Sir Richard Branson or the Queen or the Pope or the Dalai Lama can do to change that. Man is mortal. Since nobody knows what happens after that (if anything), organized religion has been using the threat of an unpleasant afterlife as the chief means of keeping the troops in line, but I digress.

Red meat on the hoof can kill you if you get caught in a stampede or you try bull riding for the first time and you really, really suck at it. They didn’t study those possibilities.

First of all, who funded this study? Here’s your first lesson in Skepticism 101: who paid for it? The poultry lobby? Alaska Fishermen (Hey, they had Ben Stein shilling for them a few years ago. He’s a bigger whore than Rush Limbaugh)? Blue Diamond Almond Cooperative? The Incredible, Edible Egg? Environmentalists? Militant vegans?  In the words of Deep Throat (Mark Felt, although I suspect it was really someone else higher up in the Nixon Administration and he was just convenient to use): “Follow the money.”

Let’s be honest with ourselves here: News is a means of product placement and marketing disguised as a disinterested third party merely providing information.  When you’ve got Brian Williams talking about the KFC Double Down on the Nightly News, someone from the KFC publicity department PLACED that story to be covered. Advertising is as omnipresent as air.

Secondly, well, we’ve been seeing a lot of food recalls for contaminated  eggs, spinach, tomatoes, etc. E coli and salmonella will kill you, too. So will botulism from improperly canned food (That was a whole “All In the Family” episode). And mercury from seafood, as well as the parasites you can pick up from sushi. None of those foods are red meat.

I am pulling my information from the following source: Mark’s Daily Apple (

Disclosure: Mark’s Daily Apple is focused on the Paleo (or Caveman) Diet and as such, recommends against eating grain. His take on the study was how many of the participants were including fast food hamburgers on buns because (Paleo theory) grains are not good for you and should not be eaten (For the record, I don’t miss them from my diet. Veggies and fruits have carbohydrates a go-go).

The study was conducted via questionnaires that people filled out (get this) ONCE EVERY FOUR YEARS.  ARE YOU MOTHER EFFIN’ KIDDING ME?  There are days I can’t remember what I had for breakfast 4 hours ago, let alone how much steak I had at Claim Jumper in 2008 (None. Logan’s Roadhouse, on the other hand…)

Ay yi yi yi yi yi….

If you have seen “The Secret” (yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, but I find it valuable and positivity is an effective coping mechanism for me. Suck it), you will have seen Neale Donald Walsh talk about doing things that give you joy, including “If you experience joy eating a salami sandwich, then do that.”

This is a quality of life issue. The self-inflicted misery of never eating your favorite foods will make life seem like it lasts forever. (Of course, if you like onion rings and they give your heartburn, that’s different. Eat the onion rings, but shut the fuck up about the heartburn. Or double down on the Tums).

If we were to listen to all the competing voices (and, mes amis, they ARE competing. They are fighting for your attention and your trust because they all want YOUR DOLLARS (or pounds, francs, Euros, guilders, yen, baht…)), we would be left with nothing to eat or drink because every food, every beverage has detractors. In fact, there’s a series of books titled, “Eat This, Not That.” And no, I haven’t cracked the cover on any of them.

I enjoy beef. And lamb. And pork. And bison (although I feel guilty about it because I like buffaloes as living, breathing critters). My last meal (and according to this dumbass study, it will be the cause of it) will be “Half a cow, medium rare.”  When I have passed on eating these foods because someone well-intended told me not to, I was not a happy camper (and my iron levels started to droop).

So take your questionable, quadrennial questionnaire and use it to light the charcoal. Beef. It’s what’s for dinner.

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