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Old 12-30-2008, 10:28 PM   #61
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There was a very good summary published 2 years ago in the Proceedings of the Nutrition Society which basically looked at all the major empirical studies regarding vegetarians. The interesting findings were as follows:

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Vegetarian and vegan diets can vary widely, but the empirical evidence largely relates to the nutritional content and health effects of the average diet of well-educated vegetarians living in Western countries, together with some information on vegetarians in non-Western countries.

...

Cohort studies of vegetarians have shown a moderate reduction in mortality from IHD but little difference in other major causes of death or all-cause mortality in comparison with health-conscious non-vegetarians from the same population. Studies of cancer have not shown clear differences in cancer rates between vegetarians and non-vegetarians.
Recent German study actually found that non-vegetarians who have healthy habits and excercise a lot actually had LOWER mortality rates than vegetarians. And again, they found that there was no lower mortality rate among vegetarians.

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Both vegetarians and nonvegetarian health-conscious persons in this study have reduced mortality compared with the general population. Within the study, low prevalence of smoking and moderate or high level of physical activity but not strictly vegetarian diet was associated with reduced overall mortality. The nonsignificant reduction in mortality from ischemic heart diseases in vegetarians compared with health-conscious persons could be explained in part by avoidance of meat intake.
I never did much research in this area but even upon a brief look at the medical journals, it seems that the consensus is NOT that vegetarianism has been shown to reduce mortality in perhaps any way, much less a significant way. At least when the studies are done well.

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Old 12-30-2008, 10:37 PM   #62
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I read recently that it takes 60 gallons of water to grow one pound of potatoes. To grow one pound of meat, a 16 oz steak, it takes 12,000 gallons of water.

Commercial livestock are so pumped full of chemicals that you probably won't have to worry about heart disease in middle age since you are more likely than ever before to develop cancer in your 20s or 30s.

Much of the produce in my local large-chain supermarket comes thousands of miles (and gallons of fuel) from South America.

Buying local, community-based organic produce and meat is not only more healthy, it's eco-friendly and develops a locally sustainable economy.
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Old 12-30-2008, 10:45 PM   #63
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You live in Canada, do you actually have to worry about water use?

My views line up with Norman Borlaug (a man who has saved billions of lives by pioneering the green revolution), organic food is a luxury which rich westerners can enjoy while ignoring the benefits of fertilizers, pesticides and genetically modified organisms.
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Reason: What do you think of organic farming? A lot of people claim it's better for human health and the environment.

Borlaug: That's ridiculous. This shouldn't even be a debate. Even if you could use all the organic material that you have--the animal manures, the human waste, the plant residues--and get them back on the soil, you couldn't feed more than 4 billion people. In addition, if all agriculture were organic, you would have to increase cropland area dramatically, spreading out into marginal areas and cutting down millions of acres of forests.

At the present time, approximately 80 million tons of nitrogen nutrients are utilized each year. If you tried to produce this nitrogen organically, you would require an additional 5 or 6 billion head of cattle to supply the manure. How much wild land would you have to sacrifice just to produce the forage for these cows? There's a lot of nonsense going on here.

If people want to believe that the organic food has better nutritive value, it's up to them to make that foolish decision. But there's absolutely no research that shows that organic foods provide better nutrition. As far as plants are concerned, they can't tell whether that nitrate ion comes from artificial chemicals or from decomposed organic matter. If some consumers believe that it's better from the point of view of their health to have organic food, God bless them. Let them buy it. Let them pay a bit more. It's a free society. But don't tell the world that we can feed the present population without chemical fertilizer. That's when this misinformation becomes destructive.
http://www.reason.com/news/show/27665.html

The green movement attacking GMO often reveals that they are just as dogmatic and anti-scientific as the most hardened religious fanatic, mass production of crops with high yields can feed more people with less land and resource wastage.
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Old 12-30-2008, 11:01 PM   #64
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A very interesting article about research into a unique community in the US. Definitely gave me food for thought.

The Mystery of the Rosetan People

It seemed like a virtual fountain of youth, with a heart attack mortality rate roughly half the rate of every surrounding community. Same water, same neighborhood, same occupational mix, same income level ranges, same races. So what was the difference and why?

Well, you had to ask the Rosetans for the answer, and the next question you ask should be, Who are the Rosetans?


The Rosetans are inhabitants of Roseto, Pennsylvania, a pretty but remarkably modest village nestled in Eastern Pennsylvania. Back in 1962, in a scene out of the movie Outbreak, investigators descended on Roseto with the full equipment of scientific investigators...with the blessings of the Federal and State governments. Roseto was a starkly healthier place to live, and no one could guess why. It was up to these researchers to figure out why, and they stayed for several years.


Pouring over death certificates from 1955 until 1965, the investigators concluded that the reason was unusually clear for science. Just to make sure, the Rosetans were compared with neighboring communities, including the aptly named "Nazareth" and "Bangor" towns. The confirmations just kept on showing up in everything the researchers did. And the conclusions have had tremendous implications since they were confirmed in 1992.


What made Rosetans die less from heart disease than identical towns elsewhere? Family ties. Another observation: they had traditional and cohesive family and community relationships. It turns out that Roseto was peopled by strongly knit Italian American families who did everything right and lived right and consequently lived longer.


In short, Rosetans were nourished by people.


In all ways, this happy result was exactly the opposite expectation of well-proven health laws. The Rosetans broke the following long-life rules, and did so with a noticeable relish: and they lived to tell the tale.


They smoked old-style Italian stogie cigars, malodorous and remarkably pungent little nips of a cigar guaranteed to give a nicotine fix of unbelievably strong potency. These were not filtered or adulterated in any way.


Both sexes drank wine with seeming abandon, a beverage which the 1963 era dietician would find almost prehistoric in health value. In fact, wine was consumed in preference to all-American soft drinks and even milk.


Forget the cushy office job, Rosetan men worked in such toxic environs as the nearby slate quarries. Working there was notoriously dangerous, not merely hazardous, with "industrial accidents" and gruesome illnesses caused by inhaling gases, dusts and other niceties.
And forget the Mediterranean diets of olive oil, light salads and fat-free foods. No, Rosetans fried their sausages and meatballs in.....lard. They ate salami, hard and soft cheeses all brimming with cholesterol.


Nor were the Rosetans left to their own devices, as Rosetans actually suffered from anti-ethnic discrimination, replacing the formerly English and Welsh miners who didn't like or care for the new immigrants. It should be noted that while not directly affected, the notorious and violent "Molly McGuires" murdered and looted immigrants and mining facilities just a few miles away form Roseto.


And they left others alone. There was no crime rate and few applications for social assistance (then called Relief). That's not a typo...there was a zero crime rate (meaning no reported crimes) and no files for any emergency relief.

Part of the bargain: Rosetans, regardless of income and education, expressed themselves in a family-centered social life. There was a total absence of ostentation among the wealthy, meaning that those who had more money didn't flaunt it. There was nearly exclusive patronage of local businesses, even with nearby bigger shops and stores in other towns. The Italians intermarried in Roseto, from regional cities in Italy. Families were close knit, self-supportive and independent, but also relied...in bad times...on the greater community for well-defined assistance and friendly help.


No one was alone in Roseto. No one seemed too unhappy or too stressed out. And the proof was a heart attack death rate almost half of everyone else around them. Wealthier towns suffered from heart disease though their medical facilities, diet and occupations were either better or at least equal than available in Roseto.


Each house studied contained three families, or three generations. The elderly were neither institutionalized nor marginalized, but were "installed" as informal judges and arbitrators in everyday life and commerce.


In 1963, these investigators made a prescient observation: they believed that as Rosetans became more Americanized (meaning less close, less modest and less interdependent), they would also become less healthy. The wearing off of the now famous "Roseto" effect would be apparent within a generation.
The Roseto Effect - ~ Ice Cream 4 Your Soul ~
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Old 12-30-2008, 11:15 PM   #65
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You live in Canada, do you actually have to worry about water use?

My views line up with Norman Borlaug (a man who has saved billions of lives by pioneering the green revolution), organic food is a luxury which rich westerners can enjoy while ignoring the benefits of fertilizers, pesticides and genetically modified organisms.
I absolutely agree with you here.
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Old 12-30-2008, 11:19 PM   #66
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We're agreeing too much, somebody has to become unreasonable here!

Flip a coin to determine who has to believe in ghosts?
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Old 12-30-2008, 11:22 PM   #67
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In short, Rosetans were nourished by people.
I read about Roseto in Outliers a month or two ago - a very engaging book - we are all products of our communities and ancestral heritage, for better or worse.
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Old 12-30-2008, 11:24 PM   #68
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We're agreeing too much, somebody has to become unreasonable here!

Flip a coin to determine who has to believe in ghosts?
I'll take ghosts if you take the virgin birth.

Look, I think we can all agree that there are some GMOs that do present problems in terms of competition with native species that is not necessarily in the best long term interest of the ecosystem. But, agricultural advances in GMOs have been extraordinary and that is always overlooked while Westerners shopping at Whole Foods scream about Frankenfoods.

Organic agriculture & livestock is not a sustainable method of living, unless you would like about 35-40% of the world population to drop dead overnight.
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Old 12-30-2008, 11:54 PM   #69
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Oh quit the ridiculous jabs you two, honestly...to be so quick to attack on assumptions is beneath both of you.

Recognizing the benefits of organic eating - and yes, it is a luxury, as most of our western lifestyle is when compared to the rest of the world - does not ignore the necessity of biotech for feeding an overpopluated developing world.
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Old 12-31-2008, 12:02 AM   #70
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If one holds the view that there are significant benefits to eating organic food, then it seems to me that the logical conclusion would be that we should extend such benefits to the global populace in the interest of general health and safety.
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Old 12-31-2008, 12:16 AM   #71
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Yes, but not at the expense of the necessary, affordable volumes of food to avoid famine across various regions of the world.
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Old 12-31-2008, 01:21 AM   #72
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In short, Rosetans were nourished by people.
Soylent Green?

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Old 12-31-2008, 02:21 AM   #73
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Soylent Green?

Weird...I was just reading a thread about that film on another forum.
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Old 12-31-2008, 06:33 AM   #74
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For all of this carnivorous propaganda I made a choice to cut back my input of red meat and chicken a few months ago, and I have to a degree, but not as much as I would prefer - but I'm damn not going to guilt myself over that, repeated small steps that are sustained over time get better results than leaping into anything like an impulsive moron.

The main reasons are pure self-interest, which matters more to me than the brutal death of dumb lumbering hunks of meat (cows) or hormone infused dinosaurs (chickens).

Self-interested reasons are as follows:
- Reduce my long-term risk of heart disease; decreased saturated fats and other nasty things which can kill you over time.
- Reduce my risk of cancer; much less cured meat for instance, although I'm not going to stop using prosciutto in my pasta dishes, because 20 grams of it every couple of weeks isn't going to kill anyone.
- Loose fat; 8 months of sedentary lab work, thesis writing, and a lot of junk food adds up; simple solution has been reducing my portion size, substituting fruit for chips and not snacking - which surprisingly enough works and I've been loosing about a kilogram a fortnight over the last 2 months, at that rate I should be back to my unfit but good looking state in a short enough while. The single biggest thing idea I am entertaining is getting hold of a standing desk which would increase my metabolic rate.
- Improve my brain; replacing a hunk of cow with fresh fish equals more Omega 3 fatty acids, which may have an association with improved brain performance, it's one of the reasons that I am looking to quit alcohol and take up a drug which doesn't cause as much brain damage, possibly pure heroin - that ironic statement reflects the harm that excessive alcohol causes to brain function compared with the minimal damage of uncut opioids.

Reasons I can use to make it seem like I care about the world, which can be used in conversations to make vegetarian girls think better of me, which ultimately leads to sex, because everything is ultimately self-interest:
- Reduced water consumption; the amount of water used for beef production is massive, and Australia is a country where that actually matters, from an ethical standpoint I can't justify eating beef for most meals when I have the option of fish or poultry.
- Carbon emissions; between deleterious land use and methane from livestock our hunger for meat leaves a huge impact on global climate, I have a suspicion that if we can replace the processed meat products in our hamburgers and sausages with meat grown in vats we can have a bigger impact on global ecology than switching to electric cars and wind power.
- Animal liberation; although we have made livestock exceptionally stupid, guarantee their survival, provide for their offspring and usually kill them humanely (it could be worse) they are our relatives, they have brains and can feel pain. I have trouble rationalising industrial meat production with certain obligations towards other animals, I can see where meat is justifiable, but it is an issue which deserves debate, especially as in vitro meat comes to the fore.

So given all that wank, I would love to know some good vegetarian dishes, and fish recipes too, from the committed vegetarians, vegans and pescetarians of FYM.

I aim to get down to 1 or 2 beef or chicken meals a week (probably a solid burger, chicken parma, or steak) with seafood and vegetarian dishes other days. I also get stuck for good lunch ideas, leftovers bore me.
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Old 12-31-2008, 08:14 AM   #75
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how about skipping lunch altogether. I find that works well toward my ultimate goal of feeling like a walking corpse around 12-2pm most days.
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