Zedd, Maren Morris, Grey - The Middle (Lyric Video)



Can't We Meat in the Middle?

Steak, pork chops, chicken, you name it—I eat and enjoy it all. But maintaining this state of blissful, delicious abandon hasn't been easy, not when this country is in the midst of a meatless boom. A 2008Vegetarian Timesstudy estimated that the vegan and vegetarian population of the U.S. (most of whom are women under the age of 35, like me) could grow to nearly six times its current size, reaching around 12 million.

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Hardly a day goes by that you don't hear some celeb gushing about how her meat-free diet is the secret to her (pick one) amazing weight loss/glowing skin/endless energy. Vegetarianism also holds out the promises of lower cholesterol levels, a smaller carbon footprint, a reduced risk for chronic diseases, and a longer life span. A recentNutrition Journalstudy even found that a veggie diet can improve your mood. It's enough to make you wonder whether a cheeseburgerless existence really is a smarter, more ethical one. Beyond health, the gnawing question is can you be compassionate and a carnivore? Here's the rare side of the story.

Sacred Cows
Americans have long had high regard for cows in steak form; beef, after all, is what you order for special-occasion meals, symbolic as it is of wealth and prestige (with a price tag to match). But it's the concern about what happens to the animal before it hits our plates that has people feeling more than a little conflicted.

In the past decade, films likeFast Food NationandFood, Inc.exposed some of the less-than-savory techniques used to raise and process animals for consumption. Faced with graphic images of overcrowded feedlots and deplorable living conditions, more consumers swore off eating anything that had previously had a pulse.

Understandable? Certainly. But this backlash against meat, while nobly intentioned, could also be somewhat misguided. Andrew Gunther, program director for Animal Welfare Approved (AWA), a nonprofit that audits and certifies farms raising animals humanely, points out that on its own, vegetarianism isn't an end to animal suffering. "Most eggs and dairy products come from animals that are known to be raised under extremely poor conditions," he says. OK, so you can go vegan. Or you can simply support a system that raises animals in a sustainable, ethical way.

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This idea is at the heart of what trips up a lot of people: How can it be ethical to eat meat when it ultimately means an animal has died? "'Slaughtered humanely' is an oxymoron," acknowledges Jonathan Lewis, founder of Pastoral Plate, a California-based meat-buying collective. He makes a point of visiting the farms and processing facilities that supply the meat he purchases, and he says the processes he has witnessed "are not barbaric. The people who do it care, and the animals never even know what happened. Violence and cruelty are at the other end of the spectrum."

It's ironic that all this meat-eating guilt comes at a time when we're more distanced from our food sources than ever. It's difficult to imagine that the pioneer women who raised chickens in their backyards ever had any qualms about wringing a neck for Sunday supper, or that Native Americans hesitated to bring down a bison.

"For thousands of years, animals have provided nourishment for humans and other animals. Something like 85 or 90 percent of the world consumes animal protein of some sort. And if that's your choice, there is no need for the process to be inhumane," says Kathi Brock, senior director of the farm animal program at the American Humane Association, a national animal welfare watchdog group.

RELATED:How To Read Meat Labels

Becoming a Compassionate Carnivore
Too often, though, people see eating meat as part of the problem, not as a potential solution. "In survey after survey, consumers vote in favor of better animal welfare," says Brock. "But when it comes to paying more for meat that's produced in a sustainable, ethical way, there is a disconnect." She sees this as an education issue, and an economic one, and points out how attitudes toward organic food have come a long way thanks to more widespread information on its relevant health benefits. Humanely raised beef, pork, and chicken can have those same benefits: "It's goodness in and goodness out," she says. "Often, meat, dairy, and eggs are going to taste better, be safer and more nutritious, and have a higher quality when the animals they come from have been treated well."

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But how do you know if they have been treated well? "There's this whole movement to get to know your farmer, to go visit the farm. That's totally unrealistic in some cases," says Gunther. This is what prompted him to create the Animal Welfare Approval seal as a shortcut for consumers to know whether meat or dairy products come from animals that have been raised humanely. Currently, the AWA is working with 1,400 farms nationwide, and its seals can be found on products in every state. Other third-party animal welfare certifications include Certified Humane and the American Humane Association.

If your local supermarket doesn't carry meat with any of those seals, you need to find your store's butcher or meat department manager and start asking some key questions yourself: Were antibiotics routinely used? Were any hormones added? Was the animal pasture-raised in a natural outdoor environment, or confined to a cage most of its life? You may find that smaller stores, farmers' markets, and CSA (community-supported agriculture) programs tend to be more knowledgeable about where the meat they're selling comes from, but that doesn't mean you should give up asking at your local chain supermarket.

"Retailers will react to people asking for this information," says Gunther. "The growth of farmers applying for the AWA seal has been explosive. If you increase the demand, they will inevitably increase the supply. We can change the world using the market."

Your Body on Beef
Still, no matter how virtuous a life or how gentle a death a pig or cow has had, there's still the question of whether eating it is any good for you. No one is ever going to mistake beef or bacon for health food, but animal protein is a top source of nutrients that people—and especially women of childbearing age—need. These nutrients include zinc, magnesium, B vitamins, and iron, which women are notoriously deficient in. Lately, even red meat has begun to shed its artery-clogging reputation as researchers start to question saturated fat's link to heart disease.

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Humans are omnivores, as food politico and author Michael Pollan famously pointed out. "Our bodies can't turn grass into a viable protein the way herbivores like cows can," says Gunther. "Meat proteins are part of a balanced diet." Giving them up entirely just to improve your health could be "throwing out the baby with the bathwater." Yes, there are legitimate concerns about antibiotic overuse, nitrates, andE. coli, to name a few. But more than supporting a meatless lifestyle, says Marion Nestle, Ph.D., M.P.H., author ofWhy Calories Count: From Science to Politics, "these are good reasons for buying local and organic and avoiding processed meats. Vegetables are just as likely to be contaminated withE. colias meats are these days."

And what if you can't find (or afford) organic? Consuming less meat—having smaller portions or eating it fewer times a week—is always an option, and one that's endorsed by health professionals. "There is a big difference in the health effect of a three-ounce serving compared with a 21-ounce steak," says Nestle. "As with all things dietary, moderation is a good idea." In fact, a recent study in theArchives of Internal Medicinefound that eating red meat two or three times a week rather than once a day can even reduce your risk for premature death. Both the study authors and the USDA recommend varying the sources of your protein and favoring lean, nonprocessed options—that means chicken breasts and pork chops instead of nuggets and bacon. With beef, the leanest (nonground) options haveroundorloinin the name.

If the guiding principle of eating meat is quality over quantity, then we're already on the right track. According to Agriculture Department data, Americans are eating less meat overall than we were five years ago, which could be a step toward finding that balance all the experts keep talking about. Because yes, you can get the protein you need from plant-based sources like beans. But you have to admit, a meatball is one heck of a delivery system: easy, satisfying, and tasty. Pastoral Plate has a few customers who are lapsed (or reformed, depending on how you look at it) vegetarians. "They just needed protein," says Lewis.

Need it, want it, crave it—forget the hang-ups and the judgment and the guilt, and just eat it if you want to. "People have lost touch with what their food is," says Lewis. "Eating cows and pigs and chickens that are raised on farms where the animals are healthy is healthy for you." So make sure that the next cut of meat you eat is worth every bite. And savor it.






Video: Zedd, Grey - The Middle (Lyrics) ft. Maren Morris

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Date: 12.12.2018, 19:53 / Views: 83342