Seems like we cannot eat this way in a world of 7 billion people


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Initial post: Feb 27, 2011 2:17:38 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 27, 2011 4:43:38 PM PST
Man living off game (mammoths, fowl, rabbits, antelopes and deer and so on) and little else seems like it was feasible when game roamed the earth and large stretches of it were unoccupied or not overpopulated by man.

Now that there are 7 billion of us and growing on this planet, and not nearly enough meat available for us to eat the way we evolved, it seems like such a high-meat diet is both a) not possible, and b) not good for the planet, a point that Taubes touches on early in the audiobook but does not return to.

So if that's the case, what's the best course to live low-carb and ecologically minded as well? My opinion might be something like lots of nuts, as much meat as one can live with conscientiously, lots of leafy greens, some fruit?

(I recently purchased "The Primal Blueprint" but haven't yet tackled that, perhaps the answers for weight maintenance and low-carb living are in there?)

Thanks. I've been wrestling with this issue since completing the audiobook.

Posted on Mar 3, 2011 12:55:28 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 3, 2011 1:00:57 PM PST
Eli says:
We, as a species, probably can't, which is probably why the government continues to promote grain based diets. The corporations that lobby them make money selling you junk food and then make more money selling you healthcare for chronic incurable conditions. It's a win win for them. Too bad for the masses. I'll continue to enjoy my steak and veggies (and my slim physique) for as long as I can.

I can conscientiously eat my fill of range fed meat and wild caught fish without guilt. By doing so I minimize my burden on the health care system and ensure that I will be around as long as possible to teach others the right way. Besides as taubes often points out it is really difficult to consume even 2000 calories a day when it is all fat protein and green veggies. You just arent hungry enough. Its carbs that allow people to over consume.

Posted on Mar 15, 2011 2:35:49 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 15, 2011 2:39:47 PM PDT
Secret Santa says:
David, that's a fine point you make. Let's take a look at what you suggest: Eating those things we have evolved to eat for optimum health (assuming one agrees with Taubes) is less and less practicable in a world overpopulated by man. But keep in mind that another thing we've evolved to require is clean water. Another is clean air. Another, sunlight. And now there is plenty of evidence that we need access to a living, dynamic natural environment on a regular basis just to remain mentally balanced.

In other words, we have evolved to require nature, in all her aspects. But, due to rampant overpopulation, there isn't much nature left for the 7 (and counting) billion people on Earth; a lot less nature, a lot more people drawing from the dwindling "supply." That leaves us with a couple choices: We can either try to live without real food, clean air and water, sunlight and any interaction with nature, or we can initiate a sober discussion on human overpopulation. I happen to know a best-selling nutrition author who, while she recommends traditional foods, including wild foods and grass fed beef, publicly denies the reality of human overpopulation. As you alluded to, there's a serious disconnect there.

The book Deep Nutrition, by Catherine Shanahan, suggests that our society--which still, by the way, celebrates families with 10 or 20 children (having eight just might get you a reality show)--has made a decision to choose quantity over quality. We're not nearly as healthy as we once were (check the CDC statistics on the precipitous increase in nearly all children diseases and disorders). This explosion in childhood (and adult) illness, she argues, is the result of genetic damage passed down and accumulated with each succeeding generation.

The nutrition/health discussion is inseparable from the environmental discussion. Can we, as you ask, choose to populate the planet with 7, 8, or 12 billion people when it is capable of sustaining, in the long term, perhaps a tenth that number, while at the same time all enjoy those foods that Taubes and Shanahan and others recommend for optimum physiologic and genetic health? The answer is no.

Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food
Food Rules: A Doctor's Guide to Healthy Eating

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 15, 2011 11:43:18 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 15, 2011 11:44:47 PM PDT
Thanks for the thoughtful response.

Clearly, this is the answer for both the problems of overpopulation and not enough food:

Soylent Green

Posted on Mar 22, 2011 2:04:47 AM PDT
Jered Morgan says:
Not according to Joel Salatin, who I just saw speak this weekend. Grain agriculture is extremely inefficient and destroys soil. The most effiecient, that he knows about (and he knows lots of stuff) is a from of grass based, management intensive, multi-speciated, animal integrated, nature mimicking farming that he practices. He says that all carbon would be sequestered that has been emitted since the beginning of the industrial revolution if all the beef production in the US was practiced this way. He also says we are just scratching the surface of the planet's carrying cpacity. He may be a lunatic, I don't know, but that's what he says. And he's basically the national leader of the grass fed, local food movement. Go figure.

Posted on Apr 27, 2011 8:46:11 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 27, 2011 8:46:35 PM PDT
I think the original poster would be very interested in reading The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability . The author goes in depth on that very subject. It's a really good read too!

In reply to an earlier post on May 9, 2011 7:32:14 AM PDT
"The book Deep Nutrition, by Catherine Shanahan, suggests that our society--which still, by the way, celebrates families with 10 or 20 children (having eight just might get you a reality show)--has made a decision to choose quantity over quality."

This is one of the most ludicrous statements I have ever seen made in a serious discussion. Almost all population growth in America is traceable to immigration and the number of kids that immigrants have a generation later. Whites, blacks, and East Asians who have been in America for a couple of generations or more have birth rates at or below replacement level. Meanwhile, parents in the middle class and upper class are spending lots of time and money per child and only have 1-2 children. We are choosing quantity over quality? Statistics don't lie on this one.

Why did a family get a reality show because they had eight children? Hint: The TV producers choose the unusual because it is more interesting. A century ago, eight kids would not have been noteworthy.

The rest of your points are not a problem to me, but this one statement (not yours, you just quoted it) is beyond ridiculous.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 2, 2012 1:27:20 PM PST
J. Yoon says:
Ah, um, a quick thought is bugs. A lot of them are high in protein and we don't have to worry about running out. You might say yikes, but when I was a school kid in Korea, I can attest that 40% of our (any Korean school kid's) protein came from boiled silk worms and occassional roasted frog legs or grass hopper. They were delicious and our favorite snack. It all depends on the seasoning and cooking style! Our prehistoric ancestors probably ate plenty of bugs too. Hopefully they were at least able to roast them on fire. :-)

Posted on Apr 7, 2012 4:10:39 PM PDT
J. K. Grace says:
I just started hearing radio broadcast "opinion" citing census stats. bemoaning the increase of older people and reduction in family sizes. "Oh, dear" went the narrative, "there won't be enough workers to support the rest of society, in USA and Europe." What they're not saying is reduced birth rate can only be a good thing for the planet, and fewer workers suggests higher wages. And who's unhappy with that?? Also lower unemployment, so less demand on the public fisc for assistance to the poor. Here, that adds up to higher individual contributions to income taxes and payroll tax (soc. sec. tax). One worker making $24 hourly more than replaces three at $8 hourly for tax contributions. Yes? The only constituency worried about lower birth rates is agribusiness and employers/CEOs who think everybody else must make low incomes so they can earn astronomical ones. But, lower demand on food supplies can only be good for the environment, and, ultimately, the food supply.

Posted on Apr 12, 2012 12:30:11 PM PDT
BullWorth says:
We can produce plenty of meat for everybody. Chickens can be grown in stacks as high as we like. Fish too, in aquaculture. Beef in pens. Livestock wastes in combo with chemical fertilizer can double grain production, to provide the extra livestock feed needed.

Yes we will face a shortage of rangeland but we can more than make up for that through intensive industrial scale meat production.
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Total posts:  10
Initial post:  Feb 27, 2011
Latest post:  Apr 12, 2012

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Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It
Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It by Gary Taubes (Hardcover - December 28, 2010)
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