Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Do These People Have No Shame?

Apparently not...

"I'm sick and tired of a bunch of despicable Republicans who will not debate real policy, who won't take responsibility for their own mistakes, standing up and trying to make other people the butt of those mistakes," (Kerry) said. "It disgusts me that a bunch of these Republican hacks who've never worn the uniform of our country are willing to lie about those who did."

Give em' hill John, better late than never I suppose...

Meanwhile,103 Of Our Children Died In Iraq This Month When will this madness end?


Kos just posted about this:

Man, there are times when this stuff is more ridiculous than anything a fiction writer or satirist could ever dream up.

So John Kerry mangles a sentence in a public appearance, and the right-wing smear machine and its traditional media enablers are apoplectic. I mean, John Kerry is a, um, junior senator not running for reelection! And he's, um, a war hero who hates the troops! And um, we hate him because he's John Kerry!

Trust me, I haven't been the first to pile on Kerry when warranted, and I won't be the last, but what a load of bullshit this is. And showing that he has learned from his Swiftboating days, Kerry hit back hard:

"If anyone thinks a veteran would criticize the more than 140,000 heroes serving in Iraq and not the president who got us stuck there, they're crazy. This is the classic G.O.P. playbook. I'm sick and tired of these despicable Republican attacks that always seem to come from those who never can be found to serve in war, but love to attack those who did.

I'm not going to be lectured by a stuffed suit White House mouthpiece standing behind a podium, or doughy Rush Limbaugh, who no doubt today will take a break from belittling Michael J. Fox's Parkinson's disease to start lying about me just as they have lied about Iraq . It disgusts me that these Republican hacks, who have never worn the uniform of our country lie and distort so blatantly and carelessly about those who have.

The people who owe our troops an apology are George W. Bush and Dick Cheney who misled America into war and have given us a Katrina foreign policy that has betrayed our ideals, killed and maimed our soldiers, and widened the terrorist threat instead of defeating it. These Republicans are afraid to debate veterans who live and breathe the concerns of our troops, not the empty slogans of an Administration that sent our brave troops to war without body armor.

Bottom line, these Republicans want to debate straw men because they're afraid to debate real men. And this time it won't work because we're going to stay in their face with the truth and deny them even a sliver of light for their distortions. No Democrat will be bullied by an administration that has a cut and run policy in Afghanistan and a stand still and lose strategy in Iraq ."

Kerry has nothing to apologize for. The people who have turned their backs on the troops do. And even though this ridiculousness will lead the evening news, fact is, we should embrace the opportunity to remind Americans how Republicans rally to the "troops" defense only when it suits their own cynical political ends.

Like John McCain, who said indignantly today:

"I go out to Walter Reed quite often and see these brave young soldiers who have served and sacrificed so much. Many of them have lost limbs, as you know. And it's a very sad thing to see. But at the same time it's very uplifting.

Sure. Uplifting. Except he said this at a campaign appearance with Pete Roskam, who is running against Democrat Tammy Duckworth -- an Iraq war vet who lost both her legs in combat.

I don't think he intended to be ironic.

Kerry responded perfectly. Perhaps not in a way that the DC wise men would approve, those Gang of 500 fools who have enabled this administration's disasters at home and abroad.

Perhaps not in a way that will appease the 101st Fighting Keyboardists and their acolytes who would rather talk tough than actually show genuine courage by enlisting in the armed forces.

And sure, not in a way that will appease Republicans hoping to find anything to desperately detract from their crappy policies, crappy candidates, and lie- and hate-filled campaigns.

Yeah, those people won't be happy with Kerry's response.

But in this case, Kerry responded the right way. Not by bowing to the full blast of the right wing noise machine, but by standing up to it on behalf of our troops, our nation, and the truth.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Less Than 2 Weeks Left: Support Your Local Democrats

You know what? I'm not looking to become Mr. Low Carb and I want to expand more on what interests me as a person rather than staying focused on zero carb.

That being said, I think it's very important to exercise your right to vote here in the USA. With an unaccountable president and GOP congress it's imperative that balance be restored this election. Too much is at stake with the Republican bozos running the show.

Good news continues to pour out of Dailykos, but I'm not counting any chickens before hatching, especially with the well documented efforts of Republicans to undermine the electoral process.

Anyway, stop by Dailykos and check out what's going on.

The Obesity Epidemic: Why The "Personal Responsibilty" Mantra Doesn't Cut It

The Obesity Epidemic: Why the "personal responsibilty" mantra doesn't cut it

I wanted to expand on a previous post in regards to the "personal responsibilty" mantra and that position taken by some people.

The personal responsibility mantra that is popular among culturally conservative mindsets. This idea stems from what are regarded as the social or cultural conservatives that advocates a mind-set that focuses blame on the individual rather than focusing on the broader public, social and economic issues. This is the popular mantra for issues like discrimination, social programs and public assistance, the economic disparity between the social elites and the middle and working classes, even successful programs like Social Security and Medicare. We all should be "personally responsible" for what we do. All you need to do is channel the spirt of "rugged individualism" and you're on the path to success!

It's also a handy dandy Social Darwinist justification for racism as well as economic exploitation. Racism, economic exploitation is about oppression and conquest, ripping people off, taken advantage of others because of economic and social status. If average blacks and Hispanics earned only about half as much as whites; if more than a third of all blacks and a quarter of all Hispanics lived below the poverty line; if the economic gap between whites and non-whites was growing, that just proved that there was a racial component in the social-Darwinian selection process, showing that minorities "deserved" their poverty and lower social status because they were "less fit.". This justification works as well for poor white folks.

Why is it important to invert this cause and effect, that poverty and racism is a result of the individual instead of the real cause of poverty and racism, the fairness of the distribution of profit across society and the access and allocation of all resources is never addressed. The reason should be obvious. There's a handful of social elites who reap handsomely from this arrangement, much to the distress of billions of people across the world. It's much better to create a mentality in which each person behaves individually. The powerful will win. The poor will get smashed. There won't be any solidarity, collective action, mutual support
or information sharing or any of these things that might lead to justice.

This has been one of the key mantras among conservatives for decades as a justification to dismantle the social systems that came out of the depression and civil and political rights struggles during the 20th century. The problem is that with the ascendency of the conservative movement that generally started with Ronald Reagan it's a philosophy and mindset that has been deeply ingrained into our culture in America. The idea of "rugged individualism" is a very deep cultural model and myth. Problem with that is conservatives tend to see this as the answer to many problems that may or may not be individually related, but are really social problems.

Proclaiming that obesity is a "personal responsibility" issue is one of those moments. For the scientific and physiologically challenged, nobody wakes up and decides that they want to be moribidly obese. Morbid obesity is a metabolic disease. It's like having any other metabolic disorder. Would the "personal responsibilty" proponents tell Type 1 diabetics that they're that way because of their lack of "personal responsibility"? They would look like total idiots. Of course, to the person espousing the personal responsibility mantra they think they're being tough and giving you the truth. You know, that whole "though love" thing. In the end, it's their own ignorance that is exposed.

No doubt that the ability to change this rests with the individual. The consumption of carby food is like alcoholism-the impetus for change must come from within. It can't be enforced on people.

Wise Witch Gets In On The Action

In response the growing number of carnivores set up their own forum, the Active No-Carber's forum, where they reprinted The Bear's posts.

Rob is one of the big voices in the world of No-Carb. He's a frequent poster on Jimmy's blog. Jimmy is unimpressed by the idea of No-Carb. Rob and Jimmy are always disagreeing with each other.


Jimmy's failed interview with The Bear is the funniest thing I've read all month...

...I think Jimmy was a bit miffed. The Active No-Carbers were of the opinion that Jimmy caught The Bear on a good day. The thread spawned a discussion about obsession and everyone got a bit self-conscious about their attitude towards diet.

The reality is that I pretty much already have the exclusive interview with the Zero Carb Path. I started to put it together in that fashion, once Bear started posting at the ALC I stopped working on it. Between that and the Bear thread at the ANC you have a pretty good idea of. That was a beautiful moment of self-consciousness though at the ANC. It really does beg the question, how much is too much?

Rob took The Bear's words to heart and decided to drop out of No-Carb blogging.

I'm still here. It's very addictive.

Come on, Rob! Don't you have a mind of your own? Your blog has been an inspiration to a lot of people. I didn't agree with half the things you said (especially omega 3s), but I think you're an important voice in the world of low carb. It's about time someone started bashing holes in the all-powerful dictatorship of vegetable eating.

I appreciate that, and you're right. @#$%ing veggie eaters! God they suck-even the low carb ones. I think all the natural plant toxins build up in their brains and stupid switch gets turned on. That such crappy tasting food with little nutritional value can be as highly regarded and sancrosanct, even among low-carbers, just shows how messed up we are as an entire culture.

When it comes down to it, I do like messing with the mainstream low-carbers heads. They're so self-assured that mainstream acceptance is right around the corner, except it's people like me who give them a bad name. Face it. You're on a very unpopular diet that very few will adhere to over the course of several years. Carb consumption runs so deep in our culture that it's futile believe that a revolution is on the horizon. Of course, if you're planning on making money off of the low-carb craze then you probably want to have that mindset.

Personally, you will never see adds or other banners on my site. You'll never see me endorse any low-carb products, I will not write a book on my weight loss, I will never try and hawk my emails on lulu for $2 a download to read the Zero Carb Path.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Oh, and One More Thing...

Before I leave for awhile I just wanted to point out a couple things.

The truth about the zero carb is out there. It's either at Bear's thread, or the no-carber forum, my blogs, it's out there for you to find. Nobody can be converted to this way, it can't be prosyletized.

While it's nice to get emails and messages about being an inpiration for those seeking to be on this path, that's nice but in the end I can't change you, you have to change yourself. If you think anything I've pointed to or written has inspired you, well, that change comes from within, I have nothing to do with that.

I used to think that it was important to "blog" as a way of being accountable, but I now see that that was incorrect. Blogging as a way of being "accountable" is really just being a food obsessive. Why waste the time? In the end, no amount of blogging will keep you on the path unless you want to stay on it for yourself. In the end, it's only important that I know and understand the truth, what others want to do with it is up to them.

The information is out there, now it's up to you to either dismiss it or incorporate it into you're life. If you're morbidly obese and have problems losing weight or staying on a "low-carb" diet I highly recommending you read all this stuff with an open mind and don't listen to the various rounds of naysayers and contrarians (even in the low-carb community) who will constantly attack and critique your food choices.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

You're My Obession


Bear's right about one thing though. We are obessed over what we eat. I've been doing this for 8 months, blogging for 3 months, and I've run out of shit to say. I used to think that by blogging I was being "accountable" to myself and others, but I now realize that is total bullshit. Everything that could be possibly said is at the Bear thread, the zero carb path and perhaps here too. I'll check in periodically, mostly regarding my progress.

So with that said, I bid you goodnight.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Researchers Find Food-free Route To Obesity

Oh man, I blogged too soon (or would that be premature eblogulation?). I came across this interesting post from Carol Bardelli at her Kudos For Low Carb about researchers coming across a food-free route to obesity.

Source: University Of British Columbia
Date: October 20, 2006

Researchers Find Food-free Route To Obesity
Can people get fat -- and risk debilitating diabetes -- without overeating?
The answer may be yes, according to Timothy Kieffer, a University of British Columbia researcher, who has found that imbalance in the action of a hormone called leptin produces obesity and major disturbance in blood sugar levels, even when food intake is at normal levels.

The findings were published this month in Cell Metabolism.

"Obesity is a complex condition -- not simply a matter of food intake. We now have some new directions for understanding the connection between obesity, hormones, and diabetes," says Kieffer, a diabetes researcher and associate professor in the departments of cellular and physiological sciences and surgery. "By targeting defects in the connection, we may discover new therapies to inhibit obesity and its frequent complication, Type 2 diabetes."

The hormone leptin is produced by fat and helps regulate insulin secreted by pancreatic beta cells. Kieffer and colleagues found that weakening leptin signaling to beta cells caused them to malfunction, leading to obesity and disrupted blood sugar levels, even in the absence of overeating.

"We think a defect in the communication between leptin and beta cells can cause over-production of insulin, leading to excessive accumulation of fat in the body," he says. "This process appears to contribute to obesity -- quite independent of eating -- while also harming control of blood sugar levels. Hormones alone aren't the sole cause of obesity but they might be a factor that links obesity to diabetes."

Diet and exercise will always play an important role in preventing obesity and the risk of diabetes, he adds.

"Dr. Kieffer's work is helpful because it expands what we know about an important hormone involved in the development of obesity," says Dr. Diane Finegood, Scientific Director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes. "Obese people have a four- to five-fold increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. This work helps improve our understanding of why the two conditions are linked. The more we understand the complex relationships between conditions and their underlying mechanisms, the better our chances of developing safe and effective therapies."

About 80 per cent of patients with Type 2 diabetes (formerly known as adult onset diabetes) are obese.

This pretty much confirms what I always suspected, and that obesity isn't the result of individual lifestyle choices but is a metabolic disease. I hate to be blunt, but Jimmy Moore's views on obesity are misguided IMO. Morbidly obese people do not get that way by simply being lazy and over eating.
While I agree that being lazy and eating bad food will make you fat, I've gone times in my life where I've been fairly physically active, ate low or restricted calorie diets and still couldn't lose any weight (see my previous post). It just seemed that everything I tried never worked. Now, Jimmy Moore may believe he may have some special insight, but on the BMI scale I was just as morbidly obese as he was, but pretty much since the age of 12. I was a fat kid before that, but once I hit puberty I really started packing on the pounds. If you've seen pics of me when I was young, even as young as 4, you can see I'm much fatter than other kids. In fact, my first nickname at school when I was 5 was "Spanky", a monicker placed on my by the popular and friendly janitor at my elementary school (apparently I reminded him of Spanky from the old Our Gang reels).

Ironically, I was born 2 weeks late and underweight (5lbs 6 ounces) and they had to place me in an incubator for a few days so I could finish cooking around the edges. I often wonder if because of this my body was always in "store fat as soon as possible" mode. Who knows.

Of course, the high starch foods I ate didn't help matters, but it just seemed that no matter what I tried never worked. Even Jimmy Moore says he lost a lot of weight on a weight watchers diet. Not even that worked for me. Reduced calories and excersize didn't work either. I figured I was destined to live the life of morbidly obese person until the day I died...that is, until I read The Bear's essay. Sadly, I can't believe it took until 1997 that no one pointed out a low-carb diet to me. Even my wife, upon relaying to her what I read on Bear's site, said "oh yeah, that's like Atkins". I was like, "who?". Thankfully we have the internet now, otherwise I pretty much would have lived the rest of my life in the dark.

Now, with very little to no glucose in my diet I'm finally seeing results, and that's without portion control and heavy exersize, which leads me to conclude again, that morbid obesity is a metabolic disease and not because I simply sat around on my fat ass eating McDonalds and Jack In The Box 5 days a week.

If you are morbidly obese you may want to consider a zero carb path. Even minimal amounts of glucose in a diet for a morbidly obese person is poison. In the end, if you are extremely obese and are stalling on "low-carb" or have failed several times trying mainstream low carb diets, you may want to consider checking out this very simple and straight forward path.

What's Up?

Not much going on really. Just living life and eating what I eat. This is one of the drawbacks of a zero carb diet really...just not a whole lot to discuss. That is one of the beauties of this diet too. The goal is to have an eating "plan" that is so simple and easy that you can memorize the rules. The result is that you only have to enjoy your meal. When it comes right down to it there's only two rules: Eat only from the animal kingdom and avoid alcohol. Nothing to count, no meals to plan, just eat and live. Sounds good to me. I'm just not anal enough to do all the counting and being tied to meal cards.

When we did Weight Watchers my wife created these "Deal A Meal" cards (she claims she was doing that LONG before Richard Simmons started hawking them on infomercials years ago). Man that was a hellish diet. It was the only time I remember eating LOTS of veggies, even snacking on carrot sticks dipped in low fat dressing. After about 7 weeks on the diet I couldn't take it and vividly remembering going to my parents house in a total freak out, eating a half a pound of salami because it was the only meat available. That was the end of that diet. My wife was working even harder than I was on it and in the end she only last 5-10 pounds. It was the only time I had a gym membership and we were religious about excersizing and working out too. Pretty hard to stay motivated when you're working your ass off but eating so many carbs, even a reduced calorie diet, was offsetting the physical activity. That happened to me in college too, when I didn't have a car and I had to bike everywhere in Sacramento (easy to do in Sac-it's a pretty flat area). I was working out in the apartment complex weight room, biking everywhere, I was eating lighter but in the end I was just a worked out fat person.

Plus it's baseball playoffs time, so I've been distracted lately. It was nice to see the Tigers get their ass kicked last night. My boss is a Tigers fan so it was especially heartwarming knowing that Verlander, their precious rookie, got lit up like a Christmas tree. It's not that I'm upset that the Tigers took out the A's, it's just that my boss is major asshole and I hope the Cards can bury them in four straight. Yeah, it's not always the best attitude, but sometimes in sports it's just as satisfactory watching teams you hate lose as much as watching your teams win.

Also, Albert Pujols is one of the most complete players I've ever seen in my lifetime and truly deserves a championship. I thought he got royally shafted out of at least 2 MVP awards by Barry Bonds and his roids..er, I mean "flax seed oil" bullshit. Perhaps Pujols will get what Bonds will only dream of, a World Series ring and the feeling of winning a championship. Next to Bonds, the next biggest tragedy in baseball is that Jim Rice will probably never see the hall of fame. While Jim Rice's era of domination was relatively short comparitevly, he too was one of the most complete players I've ever seen.

Plus, we're well into the fall, and for whatever reason, the worst shit always seems to happen to me after summer. Maybe it's the change of season and the change in daylight, but I sometimes find the fall to be somewhat depressing. Oh well, caca pasa.

But for now, I leave you with this incredible kick-ass version of Joe Walsh's Turn To Stone done by the Eagles in 1976, and also from the same show, Randy Meisner doing his tune Take It To The Limit

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

OK, Who Says I Don't Like Omega-3s

When he was young and not find him doing well in school,
His mind would turn unto the waters.
Always the focus of adolescent ridicule,
He has no time for farmers daughters.
Alienated from the clique society,
A lonely boy finds peace in fishing.
His mother says john this is not the way lifes supposed to be.
Dont you see the life that you are missing?
And he says...
When I grow up I want to be,
One of the harvesters of the sea.
I think before my days are done,
I want to be a fisherman.

Now years gone by we find man that rules the sea.
He sets out on a dark may morning .
To bring his catch back to this small community.
He doesnt see the danger dawning.
Four hours up, oh the ocean swelled and swelled,
The fog rolled in it started raining.
The starboard bow. oh my God were going down!
The do not hear his frantic mayday.
And he says
When I grow up I want to be,
One of the harvesters of the sea.
I think before my days are done,
I want to be a fisherman.
Ill live and die a fisherman.
Calling john the fisherman

HAha, Primus, great band from the Bay Area. I happened to have caught them several times at Nightbreak and the Omni before they put out there first release. Since my grandfather was a commercial fisherman I always had a great love for this song.

Helping the Environment

I just spent ten days in Los Angeles. If you ever have a chance to do that...pass. L.A. changes people, that's why I don't like it, you know what I mean? I've got a buddy of mine from Houston, a comedian, moved to L.A. six months ago--six months in L.A., I don't know him. Six months in L.A., now he's a vegetarian, a humanitarian, an enviromentalist...fine, you know? If you're here tonight and you're a vegetarian, shut up. You're not going to recruit me; I didn't climb to the top of the fuckin' food chain to eat carrots! What are you, nuts? It's not even that good for you. You ever see a healthy-looking vegetarian? They look like shit, they're all gaunt and yellow, you know? It's because their bodies have become intolerant of other things, you know what I mean? I'll give you an example: my buddy and I were on the way to the Melrose Improv to do a set, and he says this, and I quote, "I feel nauseous, and I have a headache. I think that vegetable soup I had for lunch must have had beef broth in it." I didn't know what to say. Your system's kickin' back...broth? You're a manly man, aren't you? Why are you a vegetarian, I asked him, and it wasn't even because meat's bad for you. He said that raising cattle was "bad for the planet with cow flatulents in the ozone, and the clearing of land for the raising of cattle...what are you doing to help the environment?" I'm eating the cattle.

Ron White, comedian.

A Few Days of R & R

Ok, back after the final weekend of Faire and a couple sick days to recuperate from a nasty cold I had. I had a fairly stressful week with home issues, a high pressure deadline for the monthly close, among other things. As a result I went into "shutdown" mode.

More to come soon.

Friday, October 13, 2006

For Your Viewing Pleasure

A couple things to groove on while I'm gone for the weekend:

Hey man, like FAR OUT!!

The Grateful Dead with Neil Young doing Forever Young from the Bill Graham memorial.

Sounchecking "Sittin' On Top of the World" from what looks like 1987 or so. Love that blazer Jerry!

Hold On....

Hold on! I speak accounting-esse

Since we emerged from bankruptcy in early January, Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. (ANI) has successfully improved its financial position and operational results and has become a much stronger company.

Translation: We liquidated inventory, sold off some assets and fired a whole bunch of people.

We quickly realized that our nutrition bars and shakes are relevant to the broad group of healthy, active men and women who are looking for a nutrition advantage. We know that people are more educated than ever about nutrition, and they demand that products be truly good for them (and good-tasting!).

We convinced the investors, the bank, the new board of directors and major shareholders that the brand name was still good.


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Wrap It Up

Over at the Active No-Carbers Fourm Max Thunder posed the question,
"I wonder when they'll finally come up with a complete nutritional analysis (minerals, vitamins, some peptides (carnosine etc) ) of grain vs grass-fed, it must not be that hard to do..."

I understand that you may not be able to find everything on Google, but I've never seen anything about protein. What's the difference between the protein content and quality. I've never seen anything on it. My hunch is that there is absolutely ZERO difference in the protein content. Think about it. You're a grass fed beef producer and you're trying to sell your product -especially to your target audience-the health food nut types- your going to find every possible advantage to paying 3-5x more for the meat. Yes, it costs more to produce grass fed beef because it takes longer to fatten them up, but this is marketing and sales. A selling point can't be "It Costs More to Make!". I'm pretty positive they analyzed the living hell out of grass fed beef. Bottom line: Less saturated fat, yadda yadda yadda.

That's not to say I'm anti-grass fed beef. I've always noted it's a matter of preference. I'm just saying that it's ok to eat grain fed beef. If you can afford grass fed and you like it, by all means eat it. If you're on a budget, or if you prefer the taste of grain finished beef, by all means eat it. Don't get hung up on the hysteria and hype.

I eat chicken, fish and pork. I also love goat (very sweet and tasty-get some now, trust me), buffalo, not to keen on lamb and rabbit and kind of amibivilent about venison and duck (although I'll give you duck fat is delicious). I also eat eggs and cheese.

When it comes down to it, the important thing to remember is just eat lots of beef, grass fed-grain fed, doesn't matter. Often I'm amazed at the dismal quantities of beef found in most low-carbers diet menus. Even the ALC poll they did found nobody increasing their beef, bacon and butter intake when going low carb, which I found very surprising. It's understandable because most people buy into the calories count myth so it's even frowned upon among low-carbers who are dieting after all. Too bad really. I think beef is superiour so it should be your biggest source of red meat. I most likely receive a higher level of vitamins, minerals and quality protein than many low-carb dieters I suppose

That's not to say that you must ONLY eat beef, but I think it's important for it to be your main meat of choice most of the time. It's the meat that closest resembles our own mucscle, it has a really nice fat to protein ratio for the more fattier cuts, and you can eat less of it quantity wise than other meat choices like poultry and fish. I've eaten beef everyday days on end since February and I find I can't go more than 3 days without eating beef at least once a day.

Sad to say though, I think few would find this appealing though, but I was raised on lots of beef so I have a natural love of meat to begin with. I think it comes down to a couple key points that make this diet work for you:

1) You mom must never have made you eat your veggies
2) Raised eating lots of meat, any variety or cut.

I think if you don't have both of these situations then you're probably screwed for the most part, but not impossible. It's going to take some serious conscious will power to get around that but once again I believe it's still possible. You have a better chance if you have no. 2 but not no. 1, but no. 1 and no no. 2, then you're on the verge of being screwed, but better than not having both.

Science-Based Care of Feedlot-Finished Cattle

U.S. grain-fed beef has earned a worldwide reputation for its quality, consistency and taste. This is due in large part to careful monitoring during the entire lifespan of cattle; including the finishing or feedlot stage. Production practices on feedlots are misunderstood, but there’s no mystery about it – what happens on a feedlot is firmly grounded in science. These science-based feedlot practices ensure the health and well-being of cattle and the highest quality beef for consumers.

One of the biggest misconceptions we hear is consumers referring to feedlots as “factory farms.” That’s simply not the case as 800,000 family farms and ranches across this country care for each animal. Feedlots provide a safe and productive environment for America’s beef producers to care for their cattle during the relatively short part of their lives (90 to 120 days) that they typically spend there. It is this type of farming that makes the great tasting, nutritious beef available for all consumers.

For many feedlot operators, raising cattle is a family tradition passed down through generations. Most U.S. cattle feeding operations today are small, with fewer than 1,000 head of cattle, but there are also feedlots capable of feeding and caring for thousands of animals at a time. Cattle care and welfare are top priorities throughout the beef production process and are carefully considered in the design and operation of feedlots. Cattle are given ample room to eat, drink and to move around and socialize with the other cattle. Several times each day, cattle on feedlots are monitored for illness and any sick animals are removed to hospital pens for treatment, allowing for individual care and attention.

All beef is grass-fed, as cattle spend the majority of the lives grazing on pasture. Once they transition to the next phase, cattle in feedlots are fed a scientifically formulated ration of corn, forages, vitamins and mineral supplements that averages 70 percent to 90 percent grain. The abundance of feed corn grown in this country contributes to the economic viability of producing grain-fed cattle. These current production practices provide Americans access to the great taste and nutritional benefits of beef. While grass-fed and other types of beef are great beef varieties, they would not allow someone living on a middle or lower income access to the nutritious beef they love.

Just as humans become ill for a variety of reasons including environment, stress, germs from other humans and diet, cattle are susceptible to various conditions as well. We turn to doctors for medicine when we are sick and as a veterinarian, I diagnose and treat a range of conditions in all types of cattle. Factors such as feeding practices, season of the year, weather and geographic location can contribute to conditions such as respiratory disease, lameness or liver abscesses. Liver abscesses can occur in all classes and ages of cattle: grass-finished, grain-fed, young, old, steers, heifers, mature beef cows and dairy cows.

Veterinarians and feedlot operators employ antibiotics to treat several health conditions and strictly follow national guidelines for Judicious Use of Antimicrobials, which are based on recommendations established by the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, the Academy of Veterinary Consultants and other scientific groups. Compounds called ionophores prevent the growth of harmful micro-organisms in the rumen and promote the growth of bacteria that aid in digestion. Ionophores are given to cattle in both pasture and feedlot settings. These compounds help cattle absorb important nutrients as well as reduce their risk for gastro-intestinal and other diseases. Ionophores are not used in human medicine and resistance to ionophores has never been a problem.

Much has been written about the negative impact that animal therapy has on human health. In fact, authors of a peer-reviewed article in the January 2004 issue of the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy examined more than 250 studies and available data and concluded there is no scientific evidence to suggest that the use of antibiotics in food animals negatively impacts human health. Included in the paper was a list of several risk assessments that have been done on specific antibiotic use in animals, consistently showing very low levels of theoretical risk. Many scientific experts agree that the main cause of microbial drug resistance is the misuse or over-use of antibiotics in treating human patients. Most resistant bugs are encountered in the human hospital setting. In fact, there is no scientific evidence that human disease due to bacterial drug resistance is caused by the cattle industry.

I am often called upon as a veterinarian to advise about the safe, effective administration of growth promotants, which are another important tool involved in producing a nutritious beef supply for consumers. For more than 50 years, growth promotants have helped cattle producers safely meet the increasing consumer demand for lean beef without any negative affect on human health. Growth promotants are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after a thorough review of data from rigorous scientific studies. The use of hormones in cattle production has been declared safe by scientific organizations world wide including the Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization, the European Commission Agriculture Division and the Codex Committee on Veterinary Residues.

A growth promotant is typically a small pellet that is implanted under the skin on the back of the animal’s ear. The pellet releases tiny amounts of hormone and safely dissolves as the treatment is completed. The difference in the amount of estrogen found in beef from cattle raised with or without growth promotants is miniscule: a three-ounce serving of beef from a steer raised with growth promotants contains 1.9 nanograms; a three-ounce serving of beef from a steer raised with no growth promotants contains 1.3 nanograms. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires a “withdrawal” period between the time an animal is treated and when it can go to a meat packing plant. The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service regularly tests for and has never found residues in meat that would indicate misuse of growth promoting products.

As part of a network of veterinarians, my role is to ensure that feedlot practices lead to healthy animals and safe food. We base our work on the extensive and growing body of research conducted on these issues, as well as a less scientific question: will this produce a product we’d be proud to serve to our own families?

John Maas, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine with specialties in internal medicine and nutrition, is an Extension Veterinarian at the University of California, Davis and a cow/calf producer in northern California.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

FACT SHEET: Feedlot Finishing Cattle


Family farmers and ranchers have finished cattle in confined settings for more than a hundred years. They found that cattle fed rations of grain and crop surpluses produced better tasting beef.

Cattle feeding became more prevalent after World War I and through the Great Depression, but wasn’t fully developed on a commercial scale until after World War II, when grain was plentiful, the economy was robust and consumers demanded tender, good tasting beef that was available year-round. Beef producers found that by finishing cattle uniformly, with plentiful feed grains, it was possible to reduce costs and provide a high quality product consumers valued.

By far, most U.S. cattle feeding operations today are small, with fewer than 1,000 head. However, the 5 percent of operations with more than 1,000 head finish more than 80 percent of fed cattle.

U.S. grain-fed beef has earned a worldwide reputation for its quality, consistency and taste. It has tenderness and a rich flavor that taste tests show are important to consumers. In fact, consumers will go out of their way to select beef cuts with these grain-fed characteristics.

The Cattle Feeding Process

Cattle are raised on range or pasture land for most of their lives (usually 12-18 months), then transported to a feedlot for finishing. These cattle usually spend about three to six months in a feedlot, during which time they gain between 2.5 and 4 pounds per day. The cattle are fed a scientifically formulated ration that averages 70 percent to 90 percent grain. On this special diet, cattle will gain about 1 pound for every 6 pounds of feed they consume.

In the feedlot, cattle live in pens that house between 100 and 125 other animals and allow about 125 to 250 square feet per animal. Each animal has about 1 foot of space at the feed bunk during feeding, which normally takes place twice a day. Cattle always have access to water in the feedlot.

The abundance of feed corn in this country contributes to the economic viability of producing grain-fed cattle. In fact, it will often cost more to raise cattle on pasture because it takes longer for the animal to reach market weight. That is why grass-finished beef can be more expensive than grain-fed product.

Many cattle in feedlots are given growth promoting products that contain hormones, like estrogen, which is naturally occurring and found in both plants and animals. In fact, these hormones are produced by the human body in amounts hundreds of thousands of times greater than that used for growth promotion in cattle. A non-pregnant woman, for example, produces about 480,000 nanograms of estrogen daily; while a 3-ounce serving of beef from an implanted steer contains just 1.9 nanograms (a nanogram is a billionth of a gram).

Stringent government feed rules assure that no ruminant by-products are fed to cattle. This, along with careful processing methods, assures that bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or “mad cow” disease) is not a human health issue.

Feedlots and the Environment

Feedlot owners must be very attentive to the environment. Odor, water quality, air quality and land utilization are all factors for feedlots operators to consider and manage. For instance, if the feedlots become too dry, operators may use a sprinkler system to help keep the dust down.

Windbreaks at the edge of a feedlot – fast growing trees or other types of vegetation – help keep dust and odors contained. Manure is removed from pens and used on crop land as natural fertilizer. In Colorado alone, this type of natural fertilizer is worth about $34.2 million a year.

Cattle produce an insignificant amount of a greenhouse gas called methane. About 70 percent of methane emissions actually come from human-related activities such as burning petroleum, coal mining and oil and natural gas exploration and extraction. Oceans, wetlands, forests and rice paddies are also sources of methane in the environment.

Animal Welfare

The feedlot setting keeps cattle safe, separated from predators and able to congregate with other animals in inclement weather. Death loss in feedlots is generally less than 1.5 percent, partially because cattle are monitored regularly for illness. Sick animals are removed from their pens for treatment, allowing for individual care and attention.

Cattle producers recognize the importance of animal health and well-being, both from a moral and economic standpoint. They know that well-nourished and content cattle gain weight more rapidly and efficiently. They gladly accept the responsibility of being stewards of the land and protectors of the animals in their care.

Brought to you by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association on behalf of The Beef Checkoff.

WEEEEE!!! Look At All the Veggies I Eat!!!!

Glad to see acculturation and social myths regarding the sacrosanct quality of vegetables is still alive and well.

While I'm getting used to being criticized among low-carbers for my diet there's a general feeling that we're ruining it for all the mainstream lowcarbers. Anyone who followed The Bear thread at the ALC knows the amount of shit he got for advocating an all meat diet.

The pattern goes like this, mainstream low-carb gets a "bad rap" for being all about "meat, eggs and cheese", this terrifies mainstream low-carbers and non-low carbers alike and provides ammuinition to detractors proving how "unhealthy" and "bad" a low-carb diet is. The usual retort is posting that silly ALC poll about how people doubled their veggie intake once going on low carb.

But that's not the only issue.

Few of the 3,000 respondents reported that they had drastically increased consumption of such high-fat foods as beef, bacon, or butter, popularly portrayed as features of low-carbohydrate diets. This was especially true of the half of the respondents who had lost 30 lbs or more and kept the weight off for more than one year. A doubling of consumption of chicken, however, a lower-fat food, was reported by 34% of the dieters.

This just shows that the "saturated fat is bad" meme is alive and well, even among low-carbers. It also demonstrates a major misunderstanding that "calories count". As long as there's ZERO glucose in the diet there's never an opportunity for fat storage. Funny that the mainstream media, in an attempt to defame low-carb diets, actually hit the nail on the head when it comes to the real human diet while mainstream low-carbers are besides themselves trying to show how many veggies they eat.

Gotta love the irony.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Photo Update

Ok, it's time for another update. Previously I put my pics up through September, so here's an update for October. While the scale hasn't moved much this week I defintely lost inches as the 42s are now very comfortable (pictured below) and I'm wearing my old XL t shirts instead of the humongo 3x. I also have been using some free weights and doing some light excercise so I can feel the muscle growth in my arms.

Now I can buy OFF THE RACK! WOO fucking HOO! Goodwill here I come! ;)

Monday, October 09, 2006

E. coli Spinach Outbreak On Center Of Meat Industry's Plate

THE VOCAL POINT: E. coli Spinach Outbreak On Center Of Meat Industry's Plate

You knew this was coming.

Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has so far been unable to pinpoint the source of the E. coli O157:H7 in fresh bagged spinach, more than 180 people in 26 states have been infected, and one person has died during the last two weeks.

Worse, CDC reported that more than half of the people infected ended up in the hospital — nearly double the typical rate in O157:H7 incidents. About 15 percent of those patients developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, again a rate that is "higher than normal."

It's enough to qualify the outbreak as a major food-safety failure.

On the part of the meat industry, to listen to some of the harsher media critics.

In other words, the spinach isn't responsible for the outbreak; cattle producers and meatpackers are.

That's because E. coli O157:H7 is associated with cattle manure, and that's enough evidence to convict producers and packers.

[By the way, anyone know the origins of how the (relatively) innocuous coliform bacteria mutated into such a virulent pathogen? In 1980, Alison O'Brien, a microbiologist at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., reasoned that since the toxin produced by pathogenic strains of shigella bacteria mimicked the "new" O157:H7 strain, it was likely that E. coli had somehow incorporated shigella's ability to produce such a toxin.]

What's troubling is that according many media critics, organic growers should be held blameless. For example: In a New York Times story last week, Nina Planck, a food activist and writer, wrote the following screed:

"There is also no evidence so far that Natural Selection Foods, the huge shipper implicated in the outbreak that packages salad greens under more than two dozen brands, failed to use proper handling methods.

"Indeed, this epidemic has little to do with the folks who grow and package your greens. The detective trail ultimately leads back to a seemingly unrelated food industry: beef and dairy cattle."

Planck resurrected the notion that O157:H7 thrives in a "new" biological niche: the acidic stomachs of beef and dairy cattle fed a grain-based diet, what Planck indelicately labeled "the typical ration on most industrial farms."

She then repeated the so-called conventional wisdom that contaminated manure from grain-fed cattle contaminates groundwater, and that's what contaminated the spinach.

Maintaining the myth

Planck referenced a 2003 study in The Journal of Dairy Science suggesting that when cows were switched from a grain diet to hay for only five days, O157 declined 1,000-fold.

This parallels a widely reported 1998 study at Cornell University claiming that switching Holstein cows to an all-hay diet caused the number of acid-resistant E. coli cells in the animals' digestive tracts to decline by nearly 100,000 fold in only five days.

All hail the food-safety savior: Hay.

"In a week, we could choke O157 from its favorite home," Planck wrote. "Even if beef cattle were switched to a forage diet just seven days before slaughter, it would greatly reduce cross-contamination by manure of hamburger in meat-packing plants. Such a measure might have prevented the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that plagued the Jack in the Box fast food chain in 1993."

And you thought we were past such simplistic exaggerations.

At the time the Cornell study was published, better brains than mine dissected the research from a number of angles, basically concluding that the media's interpretation that grain is the cause of the E. coli O157:H7 problem was impractical, incomplete and inaccurate.

For one, the Cornell researchers were studying "generic" E. coli, not the pathogenic O15:H7 strain. More importantly, a University of Idaho research team just months later experimentally dosed Holstein steers with E. coli O157:H7 and found that the animals harbored the pathogen longer while being fed a hay diet than a grain-based diet similar to feedlot finishing rations. That Idaho study also showed no difference between grain or hay in acid resistance of E. coli O157:H7 found in cattle feces.

At the same time, a group of Washington State University scientists charged that the Cornell study had "gaping holes" in its design and data, and that it should have been subjected to more stringent peer review before it was made public.

Other scientists' research results were contrary to the Cornell conclusion, the WSU team noted, pointing to studies showing no difference in E. coli populations between grass-fed and feedlot cattle. They also expressed concern that a rapid switch in diets could cause metabolic distress, increasing the chance that E. coli O157:H7 would be shed in feces and end up on the hide of the animal at the packing plant.

You find that kind of nuance in most discussions about the relationship of cattle diets — even among scientists.

About three years ago, I happened to be chatting with the veterinary office attached to Australia's U.S. consulate. Since there had never been an E. coli O157:H7 in that country, many critics claim that the grass-based diet of cattle Down Under is proof that grain feeding is the smoking gun.

"We never had an [E. coli O157:H7] outbreak in our country," he said.

"Have you surveyed cattle populations to see if the pathogen is present?" I asked.

He answered, "We don't need to, mate."

Nor do those who already "know" the answer to the food-safety challenge of E. coli O15:H7 need to reason any further. The conclusions drawn by Planck and others who leap to the simplistic conclusion that feeding grain to cattle "created" O157:H7, and that a magical switch from grain to forage — as if that were even possible — would solve the problem are way off the mark.

But like it or not, the meat industry is implicated in the fallout from this current outbreak. As Planck phrased it, "California's spinach industry is now the financial victim of an outbreak it probably did not cause. So give the spinach growers a break, and direct your attention to the people in our agricultural community who just might be able to solve this deadly problem: beef and dairy farmers."

According to her, E. coli doesn't grow on spinach.

Unfortunately for the industry, solutions to the scientific and PR challenges surrounding E. coli O157:H7 aren't exactly growing on trees, either.

Source: Dan Murphy on Friday, September 29, 2006, Meatingplace.com

Dan Murphy is a freelance writer and former editor of MMT magazine based in the Pacific Northwest . His column, THE VOCAL POINT, appears in this space each Friday.

E. Coli O157:H7 Not Limited to Grain-Fed Cattle, Kansas State Expert Says

Tue Sep 26, 4:57 PM ET

To: State and City Desk, Medical and Health Reporters

Contact: Dr. David Renter of Kansas State University, 785-532-4801, or drenter@vet.k-state.edu

MANHATTAN, Kan., Sept. 26 /U.S. Newswire/ -- E. coli O157:H7, which has been linked to the current spinach outbreak, is not just found in cattle fed on a diet of strictly grains, according to a veterinarian at Kansas State University.

"Cattle fed on grass, hay and other fibrous forage can have E. coli O157:H7 in their feces as can other animals including deer, sheep, goats, bison, opossum, raccoons, birds and many others," said Dr. David Renter, assistant professor of veterinary epidemiology.

"While many media outlets have recently stated E. coli O157:H7 can be avoided by feeding cattle grass only, this is not the case," Renter said.

"Cattle diet can affect levels of E. coli O157:H7, but this is a complex issue that has been and continues to be studied."

To suggest switching cattle from grain to forage based on a small piece of the scientific evidence is inappropriate and irresponsible, Renter said.

"Several pieces of evidence suggest that such a change would not eliminate and may even increase E. coli O157:H7 in cattle," he added.

"Simplistically attacking one facet of livestock production may be politically expedient, but instead provides a false sense of security and ignores the biological realities of E. coli O157:H7," Renter said. "The current spinach outbreak may be traced back to cattle manure, but there are many other potential sources."

Bear's Words of Wisdom

Bear's Words of Wisdom-From Bear's Active Low-Carber Forum Thread

All essential vitamins and nutrients are found in lean meat and animal fat, including Vit E. and omega 3. Vegetables do not have vitamins to any significant extent, and some vitamins cannot be soured from any vegetable, like A. Soy is toxic- and a very poor food for humans/children, perhaps dietary deficiency led to the the sweet tooth. Just steaks alone are sufficient for health and longevity, provided there is enough fat on them. You do not need variety in animals nor any organ meats unless you like them. I would suggest going easy on liver, it is starchy can fatten you and poison you with Vit A if you eat too much or too often. Brains are good, as is kidney. but both taste sweet to me...

No, I don't think that any combination or lack of combination of meat is any less or more nourishing than another. To state this another way, you can eat nothing but prime fatty sirloin steaks, three or more times a day for at least ten or more years and have no problems whatsoever. I personally have not done this for longer than about 5 or 6 months, but it was just wonderful- every meal as delicious as the last, until finally the big stash (cryovac'd), bought at a ridiculously low price finally ran out. Variety treats the mind, not the body. It is not necessary in carnivory because any and all forms of meat constitute complete foods in and of itself.

Meat, that is, fat and lean muscle tissue- IS a complete food.

I think where you ran off the track was by transferring your social training to eat a lot of variety because of the low and incomplete food value found in the major portion of the mixed diet- vegetation. If you run the vegetation through an animal intermediary, this problem disappears.

...I know already you just HATE the truth, but the simple fact is that there are no deficiencies of any essential nutrients, or indeed of any non-essential ones, in an all-meat diet, no matter how long it is continued- period. All the so called 'science' in the known universe will not change that fact one iota, nor is there any imperative to 'prove' why it is so- (nor why it 'should not' be so)...

...Dr Macarness, in his (for me) seminal book Eat Fat and Grow Slim put forth the suggestion that those of us who are 'genetically obese' (my term) actually suffer from an inability to process certain intermediates/byproducts of the conversion of glucose to fat, (krebs cycle). He focused on pyruvic acid, which he said built up and inhibited fat burning. The person then falls asleep or otherwise has very low energy after a meal until the glucose clears. I had this problem- after a meal I always wanted to nap. I don't know if he was right or not about what the mechanism was, but treating it like a 'black box' and dealing only with input and output, it describes exactly what happens to me if I consume carbs.

My credentials? You're kidding of course. Credentials for what, issued by whom? My 'credentials' are 47 years of living a zero carb lifestyle and 47 years of having many friends attack and disparage my lifestyle as 'unhealthy', all the while managing to die form things which have either not bothered me or that I have overcome.

I doubt there IS a living 47 yr veteran of veganism. Or even a 27 year one.

Organ meats cooked or raw are unnecessary, although there is the case for OCCASIONAL intake of liver, raw or slightly cooked. Totally raw muscle tissue is likewise unnecessary so long as MOST of the mass is 'rare' (i.e., raw)- for excellent nutrition. Grass fed or grain fed beef, nutritionally there is no difference, only one of quality and flavour. Just like freezing lowers not nutrition, but quality and flavour.

What the animal eats is not going to matter so far as nutritive value is concerned, so long as the animal was healthy. A plant may indeed be dependent on its nutrition, but the animals we use for food have the ability to manufacture in their bodies or with the aid of commensal organisms living in their intestines, many if not all of the nutritive substances they require which may fall missing in their diet. Food animals are herbivores, they live on feed which has the lowest level and format of organic-nutrient value on the planet- they are highly evolved, complex organisms which are specialised in converting low value feed into high value meat. Any proposal that the nutrient quality of meat is different due to what the animal is fed is only propaganda serving a special interest, like the organic farming mob. There is no nutritional difference between 'organic' meat and any other kind- except of course, the cost per unit to the buyer.

It really doesn't matter which red meat you eat, all are much the same other than texture and flavour. Likewise with fowl. It may matter with fish, they vary in a lot of ways, some are downright deadly poisonous. The flesh of a healthy animal is a complete food, it is not what they eat, only that they eat enough of whatever it is to thrive and be healthy. Variety in food is a human social-concept. A herbivorous animal will eat whatever plant of the specific group they are evolved to eat that is available unless or until that plant's natural protective toxins cause distress.

Sheep bison and cattle are grass eaters. Deer and goats however are browsers, and will eat almost any plant except grass. The problem with grain as food for the grass-feeding ruminants, is that the natural bacteria in each of the various 'stomachs' are not very good at digesting it. Feedlot cattle are fed a bacterial mix which replaces the normal flora with ones which can digest grain. I do not think this is a particularly good idea, but it in no way damages or lessens the nutritional value of the resulting meat.

I have been on this diet for close to 8 months now. According to the naysayers and contrians I should have been dead from scurvy 3 months ago. I have no signs or symptoms of scurvy. I have no other signs of deficiencies. Please naysayers, tell me when you expect me to collapse and die. I'd like to mark it on my calander. ;)

John Lennon b: October 9th 1940

Happy birthday John!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Grass-Fed Beef—Green or Green Wash?

Do I detect a smug alert?

First, there is no difference nutritionally between grass fed and grain fed beef. The only difference between the two are in preference and taste. Basically, it comes down to a slight difference in the omega polyunsaturated fat ratio, some betacarotine and less saturated fat (a negative IMO). That's it. To put that in perspective, out of a 1 pound say 1400 calorie steak, the difference in the omega ratio of approximately 63 calories (5% of the total caloric value) puts my health in the balance? That is total nonsense.

Second, I think people wrongfully come to the conclusion that this means or is proof that grain fed beef is "unhealthy". That is also nonsense and perhaps the result of some mental gymnastics by the Omegaites to reassure themselves that all that money spent on grass fed beef is worth it, I don't know. Either way, grain fed beef is nutritionally sound and perfectly healthy and acceptable. There is no need to supplement. If you eat grain fed beef, relax, you're not going to have any deficiencies. It is a perfectly acceptable food choice.

I think the Omegaites are conflating the real issue. Regarless of ratio percentages, it's just plain ol' common sense to avoid eating polyunsaturated fats. Perhaps in a traditional low carb diet this might make sense, but then again you shouldn't be eating carbs like nuts and salad dressings to begin with. Dressings and low carb products tend to be loaded in soybean oils.

And if you think that you're ecologically above the rest by eating grass fed beef, consider this position from www.pupliclandsranching.org. I don't agree with their premise, but they bring up some interesting points on the grass fed beef zealots:

Grass-Fed Beef—Green or Green Wash?

Recently there has been a spate of articles celebrating the supposed ecological virtues of free-ranging, “grass-fed” beef as opposed to grain-fed cattle. Consumers are being told that grass-fed beef is ecologically and ethically superior to livestock fattened in feedlots. Who is to say whether beef cattle that are castrated, branded with a hot iron, and forced to search for scraps of grass under a blazing sun or survive the wind and snow of a winter blizzard are “happier” than cows standing shoulder to shoulder at a feeding trough? We will allow others to debate the ethics of beef production. However, there is no denying that grass-fed beef has numerous unavoidable ecological impacts, rendering suspect the claim that grass-fed beef is somehow a desirable alternative to other production methods.

Most of the public mistakenly believes that grass-fed cattle are fed their whole lives by grazing rolling hills of grassy pastureland. In fact, grass-fed cattle typically rely on hay and other feed in winter and other times of the year, and especially during periods of drought. Hay production usually requires the conversion of entire valleys into fields of exotic grasses with an equal and simultaneous loss of native vegetation. In Montana, for example, hay fields make up more than 5.5 million acres or 6 percent of the state, a sizeable commitment to supplemental forage production.

Hay fields must be irrigated, which is typically done by dewatering streams or through ground water pumping. Both reduce the flow of surface water, negatively affecting aquatic ecosystems. Sometimes entire streams and rivers are completely dewatered, leaving fish and other aquatic species high and dry. Often small fish will attempt to escape dwindling streams in (or are otherwise “sucked” into) irrigation canals where they are trapped and die, frequently killing most of the annual recruitment into the population.

Whether on private or public lands, grass-fed livestock cause widespread damage to western ecosystems:

•Grass-fed cattle pollute our streams and foul springs through trampling and deposition of their feces and urine. Livestock production is the number one source of non-point water pollution in the West.
•Grass-fed cattle trample riparian vegetation and break down streambanks, often altering or destroying a stream’s hydrological system. Livestock are the number one cause of riparian damage in the West, and these riparian areas are home to 70-80 percent of all western wildlife.
•Grass-fed cattle trample and compact soils, reducing water infiltration and hastening overflow from precipitation that contributes to flooding and soil erosion.
•Grass-fed cattle are a primary vector for the spread of exotic weeds by transporting weed seeds on their coats and in their feces. Also, by consuming more desirable “ice cream” plants, livestock alter vegetative communities and give a competitive edge to invasive weed species.
•Grass-fed cattle consume forage that would otherwise feed other native herbivores, from grasshoppers to sage grouse to pronghorn and elk. The removal of grasses by livestock also leaves many small mammals and birds more vulnerable to predators by reducing hiding cover.
•Grass-fed cattle are vulnerable to predators, and livestock are the primary (if not the only) reason for predator control in the West. Thousands of wolves, grizzly bears, black bears, coyotes, mountain lions and other wildlife are destroyed each year to protect livestock on public and private lands—at taxpayer expense!
•Grass-fed cattle transmit disease to wildlife, including buffalo, elk and deer.
•Grass-fed cattle interrupt ecological processes like wildfire.

Anyone who suggests grass-fed beef is superior to grain-fed beef is only considering a fraction of the real costs of beef production. Whether grain-fed or grass-fed, beef production is an ecological disaster for the American West.

Finally, most "grass-fed" cattle are "finished" at feedlots on "grain" (mainly corn and chemical supplements), as most consumers do not actually favor the flavor of grass-fed beef.

Saturday, October 07, 2006


LUBBOCK – Asked how American beef eaters prefer their sizzling slabs, almost 85 percent favored high-quality beef cuts produced from cattle fed on grain, according to a national taste tests report done by scientists at Texas Tech University.

The report, released last week, reflects a consumer preference toward higher fat content cuts, which were considered more tender, juicy and flavorful when compared with grass-fed cattle.

“Using this new information, beef producers can go back to the genetic drawing board to fine tune their products to more closely meet these specific consumer desires,” said Markus Miller, a meat science biologist at Texas Tech.

More than 1,400 volunteers participated in taste panels at sites in Lubbock, Phoenix, Ariz., and the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. area. At each location, they were given small samples of freshly grilled or cooked roasts and steaks and asked to rank the tenderness, juiciness and flavor of the cuts.

Evaluations included ribeye, round, sirloin and tenderloin cuts of beef, both as roasts and steaks.

“Technically, we were looking for what’s called the palatability target,” Miller said. “We found that consumers could sort out subtle differences among cuts, and based on those evaluations, they preferred grain-fed beef.”

Grass-fed beef has a taste and flavor similar to wild game such as venison, while grain-fed beef, with its higher white fat or marbling, has a more intense flavor, he said.

To get an accurate taste profile of U.S. beef consumers, the Texas Tech researchers teamed with the independent meat industry group Meat and Livestock Australia. The Australian group, led by noted cattle producer Rod Polkinghornes, assisted selecting and shipping the study’s Australian grass-fed cuts.

Asked the value in knowing that Americans prefer their high-quality cuts of beef grain-fed, Miller explained that specific taste preferences could one day be tailored to allow beef producers to essentially custom-build cattle from the start that better match consumer tastes.

It also opens the door for making beef cuts much more tiered in terms of quality, he said. Just as there are high-end levels of wine now, there could be extremely high quality beef cuts available in stores.

“Really, in the past, no one knew the consumer preference they needed to target,” Miller said.

“This study moves us from a subjective type of opinion to real data based on real people.” Miller said a more detailed analysis of the study in the coming months will focus on demographics, such as matching income, gender, education and regional variation levels to beef preferences.

“There are value differences,” he said. “Some people will pay almost anything for a steak as long as the eating experience is very good. Then there are some consumers who will only pay the minimum amount, regardless of the eating experience. They just want it cheap.

”The beef most Americans consume comes from cows that mature in a feedlot, eating corn and other grains, until slaughter – a cycle of between 14 and 16 months. By contrast, the average life span of a grass-fed cow is between 20 and 26 months. Pricewise, grass-fed beef – particularly if it’s organic – tends to be more expensive than conventional.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Kotsay and The Big Hurt

Ok, not diet related but...

One more baby!

Kotsay comes through in the clutch on a BIG mental error by Tori Hunter

Coming on the heels of The Big Hurt

Ok, diet related...

I'm just able to squeeze into the Oakland A's jersey that I bought back in 1984. Even then I was huge and couldn't wear it, but now I'm on the verge of wearing the colors proudly! And just in time too.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Weight

Ok, so I did the usual tuesday weigh in thingy today. I really hate weighing in once a week, but Jimmy Moore's 30-in-30 challange has put me in the spirit. Very weird. Sunday night I was 256 but this morning I was 259. I probably was a little dehydrated from camping this weekend, plus I ate a shitload of meat last night because I was so busy I didn't eat since Sunday night.

Regardless, I'm back in the 42's that I used to wear back in 1998 (thank god Dockers never go out of style!). I was also able to wear my cool Phil Lesh, Jerry Garcia and Grateful Dead XL tshirts that I haven't been able to wear in years.

The interesting this is that it seems I'm really burning though the fat the last 2 months. So far it seems that the closer I get to goal weight, the faster I'm burning it, despite the so called conventional wisdom of the naysayers and contrarians who maintain the opposite, that you burn it slower the closer you get to goal. Let me let you in on a little secret..that happens because of the CARBS! Even as few as 20-30g/day will stall and stymie the fat burning process. If anything, the last couple months I've been even more diligent about watching my cheese intake and other residual carbs.

Onward to 145!

Monday, October 02, 2006

You Say You Want a Revolution, Well, Ya Know...

A couple of points of interest today regarding the "low-carb explosion to come".

First I noticed last night Dr. Michael Eades made a post about “The columnist who mistook his myth for a fact”. John Tierney, columnist at the New York Times, is apparently worried that a ban on trans fats would lead to more saturated fat consumption. Dr. Eades ends this post with this blurb:

My concern comes from the realization that if a regular columnist for the New York Times uncritically accepts the notion that saturated fats are bad (instead of the unproven hypothesis that it is) and states it as fact, what hope is there that the great unwashed masses will ever see the light?
I basically agreed, but to me, there is little hope that the masses will see the light. It’s the technique of the Big Lie. People will believe a big lie over a small lie, and if repeated often enough, will soon believe that the Big Lie is true. Such is the case of saturated fat. It’s so ingrained into the pyche of the culture that I doubt any amount of smoking gun will convince people otherwise.

Jimmy Moore then had a good interview with the Eades’ today. I like the Eades. When I was doing a low-carb diet in 1998 I particularly liked Protein Power. Compared to the Atkins book at the time it was extremely informative with lots of good science (I’m amazed at the accolades that Atkins receives considering his post 1972 books are rather lame). The interview title, “”Eades: Huge Comeback For Low-Carb In 2007” exudes with optimism that is characteristic of Jimmy Moore.

Problem is, I just don’t buy it. On a purely socioeconomic level, grain producers are making billion dollar annual profits on corn, soybeans and grains . I hardly doubt a book by Gary Taubes is going to convince the corporate brass and it’s investors and shareholders to say, “my bad, we need to reallocate our resources into meat production”. Ain’t going to happen. And with the top agricultural business (mostly big sugar, corn and grain producers) throwing money into politics I highly doubt that anything substantial will happen.

As The Bear succinctly noted on his thread:

In case anyone has not followed the current scandal over wheat and Iraq, cereals are very lucrative, especially for the US and Europe, both subsidise wheat so heavily that is very profitable indeed. Primary producers of meat have very heavy costs in labour, veterinarian services, land use and degradation, costs of transport- live animals have a high specific value per unit weight, thus investment is high, and they require special higher cost transport. Grain is a stable, bulk commodity like sand or gravel. etc, value is low and thus the amount of investment per unit weigh tied up is low. Not only that, but the cost of holding cattle for 90 days in feedlots, accompanied by the need to alter their lumen bacteria and the costs of the grain (not a natural food for ruminants) almost doubles the cost/per pound over grass fattening.

It will be very difficult to change the culture that emphasis the individual over the collective and the technique of the Big Lie, especially when literally billions of dollars in profit are at stake. Sorry to be so pessimistic, but that’s how I see it.

Sorry Folks, Back Again

I was supposed to take the weekend off from the Faire but I ended up going anyway. More to come later today.