Connect The Dots

Today, I'm going to play "Connect the Dots" between some recent articles in the media. Or perhaps you'd prefer, "Follow the Bouncing Ball." I'll begin with Dot Number One, a study from the 1950's (don't even go there - we've been ignoring the evidence for decades) which completed 7 years of follow-up on the diets of a large cohort of male employees of the Chicago Western Electric Company. The study had highly significant findings: that "animal protein intake was associated with being overweight and obese, but vegetable protein was the opposite — inversely associated with being overweight."

Dot Number Two is a study recently profiled in USA Today which suggests that half of US adults will be obese by 2030. And the UK is right there with them, in case you were wondering, and hey Canada and other western nations, no use hiding behind the curtains. You're in this up to your necks. And we're not just talking a little thick around the middle, let's watch the extra biscuit with our elevenses. We're talking about a clinical term denoting morbid weight gain. Obese. Half. Yikes.

Dot Number Three is the study we've spoken about before from the UK which showed that if people there ate 58% less meat, it would save 32,000 premature deaths a year in the UK alone. I don't know what else to say about this. Just eat half the meat, save lives. Okay.

Dot Number Four is our growing global appetite for meat. The United Nations predicts that the number of farm animals in the world will double by 2050. Except it can't. The number of farm animals in Europe today require vegetation from an area seven times the size of Europe to feed all those cows, pigs and birds. There just isn't enough arable land in the world to feed twice that many animals, let alone the growing human population I mentioned in passing last week. (Okay, I did drone on a little bit about it, but this kind of stuff gets me worked up.)

So now let's connect the dots. Animal protein makes us fat, we're getting way fatter on average anyway and this leads to copious amounts of premature death. We're growing, our appetite for meat is growing... the only thing that isn't growing is our planet. Unless we start putting Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations on Mars, we have to reduce our consumption of this thing we call meat. Which is in our best interests anyway, as it turns out. 

Just in case you thought that the reasons for Meatless Mondays were growing foggier and more obscure and that we were lacking motivational fire for MM and the golden 15% reduction in meat consumption it will mean to the world. If the one recipe a week I've been posting isn't enough, the Humane Society of the United States is now offering to e-mail you a free weekly meatless recipe. I won't be offended, really. 

This week's recipe is a classic french dish and one for which Julia Child was famous. Knopf Doubleday have been kind enough to post her original recipe online, if you wanted to compare notes with someone famous. This one is fairly simple and quick and one I mentioned not liking as a child (along with Goulash), but which I really enjoy now. Hope you'll feel the same way.