Sunday, October 14, 2007

Another one in the eye for meat-eaters

I was very pleased to read through the "11 Foods Men Should Eat Every Day" article on MSN's Health & Fitness section. Not only did it contain a lot of things I myself ingest, but there wasn't one reference to poultry or mammal meat.
Aside from fish, the list was refreshingly vegetarian. In fact, some of the 11 foods weren't even food, per se. The 11 things essential to male health, according to the article, are:

11. Milk or Vitamin D-fortified orange juice (for calcium and Vitamin D).
10. Coffee (reduces risk of liver cancer and helps to move the bowels).
9. Red wine (contains anti-oxidants and resveratrol which are anti-ageing and heart-friendly).
8. Eight glasses of liquid (moves bowels, hydrates, keeps skin healthy).
7. Fish (low-fat protein, omega-3 fats).
6. Baby aspirin (can reduce arterial ageing by 36 percent).
5. Nuts, especially walnuts and almonds (heart-healthy omega-3 fats).
4. Tomato sauce / tomatoes (heart-friendly, reduces arterial ageing, may fight cancer).
3. Folate (decreases arterial ageing, blood pressure and cancer rate).
2. Fiber (good for bowels and proper digestive function).
1. Fruits and vegetables (rich in minerals and vitamins, good for bowels).

See? No hamburgers, no steak, no poultry. Everything on that list, aside from the fish, is suitable for vegetarians. And I eat most everything on that list, including the fish—because I (unlike Squirrel) am a vegetarian who eats fish and other seafood: a pescetarian, in other words. So, although I like to say that I am a vegetarian, I know I'm technically not. But I don't eat turkey or chicken, I don't eat pork or bacon, I don't eat beef or lamb. I don't want any bird or mammal flesh. So at least I share disgust with true vegetarians, like my wife, over red or white meat. That stuff really does make me sick. (I feel I should mention that I don't eat lobsters because, although they are seafood, I am appalled by the way they are treated. So lobster, like pork, lamb, beef or chicken, is off my dietary list.)
In fact, I would even argue about needing fish. Walnuts, almonds and avocadoes provide lots of omega-3 fats and you can even get healthy margarine like Flora Lite that has omega-3 fats mixed in. The truth is, I still eat fish because I love it and am just not ready to give it up yet. Maybe someday soon I will, and then I can be an honest vegetarian. I hope so.
I just eat lots of nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables and drink milk, fruit juice, and several thousand mugfuls of water at work. I quaff coffee at night and red wine (or Guinness, the black liquid aspirin) in the morning, and have fish and/or seafood two to three times a week—and I am as healthy as I can be. I run 21 miles a week. If I was weak, do you think I'd weigh 170 pounds of solid muscle—I stand 5'5"—and be able to run an average of 3 miles every day?
Great list, "Dr. Oz." I don't know if this was conscious veggie-thinking (or pesce-thinking) on your part, but thanks nevertheless for doing your little part to expose the fallacy of "needing" meat.


kristen said...

Yeah, I'll still eat meat. I love me a nice juicy steak. I don't do seafood though; Yech! A lot of B vitamins come from meat, so if one abstains completely from it, I would think they'd have to take supplements.

I have a hard time believing that coffee is good for you. There is so much caffeine dumped into just one cup.

Good for you for being healthy. I wish I had your stamina to do all that running and exercising.

Anonymous said...

Kristen, I haven't eaten meat since 1985 and I don't take any vitamins. B vitamins exist in plenty of other foods, such as yeast extract, which I eat a lot of (the low salt variety).

Nightdragon said...

Kristen, meet Squirrel: that's who "anonymous" is. And she's right. Nuts and vegetables are loaded with B-vitamins and certain vegetables contain plenty of iron as well. And carrots aren't short on Vitamin A. So I don't need to get any of those things from a "nice juicy (disgusting) steak." Freedom of choice and all that, but I wouldn't be caught dead tucking into a slab of dead muscle. Ick!!!

Nightdragon said...

Nothing wrong with caffeine, K. In moderate doses, as with alcohol, it's actually healthy. Caffeine in small everday amounts helps to protect the liver against risk of cancer. And I've also heard that it can protect against hair loss (which explains why I've still got boyish hair at nearly 38!)

It's not at all hard to exercise. People look at it as a chore, but for me running is anything but. Whenever I run, it's like flying, and stepping away from the world for a while (even if it's the world's surfacing I'm pounding with my feet!) Besides, you get a lovely, completely natural high after a run, which makes it completely worth it!

kristen said...

Hey, if you guys don't want to eat meat, that just means there's plenty more for the rest of us ;-)

I can't run because of a lot of reasons: bad knees, not enough lung capacity, chest pains. It'd be nice if I could, because I think I might actually enjoy it....or at least get that 'high' you're talking about.

Nightdragon said...

Oh well, then, K. Your life to live, your arteries to clog ...