What's my Beef?

May 14, 2012

Torah Kachur

I am a pathetic vegetarian - I eat chicken and fish (sushi is delicious) and I have been known to eat a steak once a decade and then have meat sweats for 3 days after.  I'm not militant, I don't expect everyone to drop their steak knife and pick up their trowel.


But I will say this:  Read this and give me a good explanation for still eating beef, that doesn't include the words delicious, tasty, yummy or any derivatives.


Beef comes from cows and cows are not the best animals on the planet (sorry for just offending all Hindus).  Cows stink because they fart a lot.  They have symbiotic associations with bacteria in their rumen that allow them to actually digest the fibrous plants they eat that contain a lot of cellulose.  These small organisms, specifically called methanogenic Archaea, produce methane - an exceptional greenhouse gas that has almost 25 times the effect on climate change than an equivalent concentration of CO2.   Cows stink, what else?



Beef cattle uses almost ten times more water to produce than the same amount of meat from goats or chicken.  Water conservation is going to be the new catchword like "climate change" and in fact should be a catch phrase already.  We can add that to our repetoire of catch phrases like "may the odds be forever in your favor" or "totally tubular".  Except water scarcity causes wars, water security affects billions of people worldwide.  Wasting of water means converting it into unusable or inefficient forms, like toxic waste pollution, ocean garbage patches and sewage filled with flushed drugs and lots of goldfish.


Not to mention, beef is terrible for your health - it clogs arteries, causes cancer and increases your risk of dying of chronic diseases.  And not just some 'statistically significant' number, regular beef eating increases your chance of dying earlier than that pretentious, vegetarian, ecoholic by 13%.  That's 11 years longer just by cutting out beef from your diet.


As if that wasn't enough - it's barbeque season when we char our Chicago-style steaks to be nice and blackened to seal in all the blood and flavour juices.  Charring our food releases heterocyclic amines when the constituents of meat protein, amino acids, burn.  These heterocyclic amines have been linked to causing DNA mutations - which means cancer.  Plus, blackening our sirloins causes release of sodium nitrites which can be converted to nitrosamines in the acid of our stomach.   Nitrosamines are also potent carcinogens.  Still salivating for a steak?


Beef is yummy, I get that.  I live in Alberta where bumper stickers like the one below are commonplace.




But, maybe it is time to reconsider a diet filled with rump roast, prime rib and top sirloin.  We can give the Earth a fighting chance, our hearts a way to beat a little bit longer and we can try to avoid cancer.


That's just my beef.



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