Final Review of The Glycemic Load Diet: Meat!

potatoesWhile I don’t agree with this book’s author at all about potatoes or pasta, and I have my own ideas about bread and what has happened to it in more recent times, chapters 21 – 23 of The Glycemic Load Diet are totally down my alley!  This doctor spells out the types of fats found in red meat, pork and fish, and reveals that only half the fats found in red meat are saturated.  The remainder are split between unsaturated and mono-saturated fats.  Pork gets a similar mention in this book, with lower but still substantial nutritional content for potassium, iron and the B vitamins.  Fish of course, is everyone’s favourite, particularly for those leaning more toward plant-based diets who still want their meat but believed the current ongoing diatribe against red meat.

Animal rights activists have jumped on the no-meat bandwagon due to various meat farm practices.  PETA has been particularly bad spreading misinformation about this, that too many people swallow as fact without doing any fact checking of their own.  In Canada for example, most of the apparent animal-raising practices are far more humane than some of the legitimately-proven practices PETA has railed against in the US.  Unfortunately, due to the nature of the Internet, most people assume such accusations are aimed at the practices within their own countries, often forgetting that many of these accusations are US-only.  If and whenever animal farm abuses have been found in Canada, there has always been swift rebuke, even leading to fines, shutdowns or jail time for those farmers who don’t maintain their farms according to national code.  Two situations in recent years involving a pig farm out east and a chicken farm in the Lower Mainland here in BC, actually saw employees walk off the job when abuses came to light.  Canadians can be assured that our standards for raising animals for food are much higher than many places around the world.  A person simply has to do their own due diligence to see this. Unfortunately, this doesn’t stop people from holding demonstrations outside pig roast and rib-fests.  But it sure does make those who take part in such demonstrations look rather foolish and hood-winked.

As with various foods around the world, both wild and in the grocery store, meat is best enjoyed in moderation and not as the key focal point of every meal.  Soups, stews, chili’s, tacos, wraps, sandwiches, burgers, steaks, kebobs, etc, not to mention the wide range of pastas, pizzas, pitas and other ways of serving meat often include it with vegetables, rices, potatoes, noodle variations, and breads of many types.  The northern European diet was often nicknamed “meat and potatoes”, and for good reason.  That description often fit many of the dishes served at mealtimes.  If you are of northern European or eastern European descent, chances are high that such a diet will do you more good than someone of Mediterranean, central American, Oriental or Middle Eastern descent. Remember to always consider your heritage when deciding on any sort of dietary change to your daily eating habits.  Remember what I said about the accessibility of nutritional elements in the potatoe versus much of the vegetarian fare out there today.

Songdove Books - Gift of a Candy Sleigh
Songdove Books – Gift of a Candy Sleigh

Eating too much of a good thing always has consequences.  The Glycemic Load Diet loves to say that sugar itself only has a glycemic index of 28, so this doctor encourages people not to give up their candy, only eat till their body says enough.  Unfortunately, today’s culture doesn’t know when “enough” is when it comes to sugar intake.  The taste of sugar trips the pleasure centre of the brain long before it trips any glycemic hormones in the small intestine.  Too much sugar in our diets is what causes a large number of problems ranging from some position on the diabetic stick to large fat deposits and more.  His push for using artificial sweeteners also bothers me, particularly with findings in recent years linking aspertame in any of it’s various forms and names, to breast cancer in both men and women, not to mention it’s so-far largely undocumented (officially that is) propensity to cause numbness in one’s extremities.  So cutting out potatoes but encouraging candy and artificial sweeteners doesn’t rank this doctor’s opinions too high on my “to be recommended list”.  He is however, ranked higher than those that push a vegetarian/vegan-only food lifestyle.

Some who argue against humans eating meat will try to point to the teeth in the human mouth as being unsuitable to eating meat.  I’m not sure when the last time it was that they looked at their own mouths in the mirror, but their incisors and canines are precisely suited to the tearing and shredding action necessary to break up meat.  We have shredders in front, and grinders in back (our molars).  When you look into the mouth of a herbivore, even the so-called incisors up front have a thicker, broader striking surface intended for the grabbing and grinding of plant matter rather than meat.  Any critter that is suited to being an omnivore will have both types of teeth, while critters that only eat meat such as dogs or cats, will have fewer molars and more rippers. Herbivores will have more molars than rippers.

The human gut also contains the necessary enzymes to break down meat and access the nutritional components most easily made available to us through meat, such as iron, zinc, and B12.  It should be noted in the Scriptures, that dairy is also a human food, whether from calf or goat.  Goat’s milk gets direct reference in Scripture and scientists have found that it’s molecular make up most closely resembles that of human milk.  So when a person discovers they can’t digest cow’s milk due to a missing enzyme their body stopped creating, or some other reason, goat’s milk is often a good substitute.  The mere fact that enzymes exist in our digestive system to break down meat is proof that when God gave meat to Noah after the flood, He accounted for our needs to process it.  This is something that even Christian nutritionists and dietitians overlook.  Sin has crept into our bodies since the fall of Adam and Eve, and this means sometimes a person will be born with these necessary enzymes missing.  We now have enzyme preparations that can be bought over the counter, or purchased via prescription to aid in such people being able to eat our full God-given range of foods.

Others, thanks to sin again, find themselves allergic to meat and meat byproducts.  I am one of those people with regards to poultry.  When I was 20 years old and living on my own, I thought one day that I’d under-cooked my chicken roast.  I had a nasty reaction and vowed to try again with other chicken pieces the next day.  I deliberately overcooked them, only to have the same nasty reaction.  My reaction began in my mouth, then went down my throat into my bronchials.  This is known as a respiratory reaction and it can be fatal.  At first, I thought it was to the meat itself, but in a strange “Russian roulette” sort of way.  Sometimes I reacted, sometimes I didn’t, and I had to stay away from mayonnaise, eggs, and anything with those ingredients in them.  It would be more than a decade later when I’d discover it wasn’t the eggs, chicken or turkey I was allergic to at all, it was what they were feeding them.  I have since learned that I can eat these birds if they are NOT fed any kind of pellet mixture.  Grain-fed and pasture fed birds are fine.  I can’t trust “free-range” labels because discussions with breeders often reveal that this simply means the birds get exercise every day and are still fed pellets.  Hormone-free and antibiotic-free labels still don’t mean I can eat them.  There are two labels I can seem to eat now when it comes to eggs, and I am SO glad I can, because I’d come to miss my omelets, scrambled eggs, potatoe salad, etc.

Thanksgiving Dinner 2012
Songdove Books Thanksgiving Dinner 2012

The big issue that animal rights activists should be going after rather than the slaughter of animals for food, is how those animals are fed.  Here in Canada, added hormones are banned.  More and more fast food places in Canada proudly announce hormone-free and antibiotic-free meat.  A&W was doing this before it became cool to do it.  It raised their burger prices I remember, but they were the first place in town to make such claims over 15 years ago.  Canada’s beef is sought worldwide because of it’s quality.  Canadians have far less to worry about with regards to ethical sourcing of their meat.  Our biggest issue is actually our fish farms, and those farms DO use antibiotics because fish farms breed viral issues found quite sparingly in the wild.  When a fish farm’s fences break and the farm fish escape, there is an understandable panic, both with the release of high levels of these viruses as well as the danger of antibiotic-fed fish breeding with other fish.  Add to that concerns over what the Fukushima disaster is doing with Cesium leaks in the Pacific, and Canadians have some valid concerns about our fish supply in stores.  I grew up with free fish in the family freezer, so just having to pay for it is always a bit of a shock to the system.

Meat is not the horrible thing many claim it is.  As with every other food out there, eat in moderation to get the best benefit.