It’s been a bad couple of weeks for carnivores.
First, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health released a
study they said showed red meat consumption could lead to an early
In fact, they contended, adding just one 3-ounce serving of red meat
daily (picture a steak the size of a smart phone) was associated with
a 13 per cent greater chance of dying during the 20-year course of
Wolf down a hot dog or two slices of bacon daily and it rises to a 20
per cent higher risk of death.
About the same time, scientists in Spain determined that fast food
consumers, compared to those who eat little or none, are 51 per cent
more likely to develop depression.
And in the midst of all this, ABC News revealed that that 70 percent
of ground beef sold in U.S. supermarkets contained an additive called
It’s actually been around for a dozen years. But you’ve never heard
of it because the meat industry prefers to call it “boneless lean
beef trimmings” which sounds like it should be served with a good
All this news hit America right in its paunchy solar plexus.
We love our steaks, our brisket, our burgers so big that the juices
run down our forearms and drip off our elbows.
Along with gun ownership, red meat and fast food consumption is as
American as apple pie (411 calories, 19 grams of fat per serving).
So what has the reaction been?
--- The California Angels baseball team unveiled an assortment of new
food items for the upcoming season including a deep-fried hot dog, a
bacon-wrapped hot dog and a hot dog topped with barbecued beef.
--- A billboard on River Highway in North Carolina not only shows a
gigantic piece of steak on an even more giant fork, but it actually
pumps out the smell of steak for passing drivers to sniff.
--- The Jack in the Box folks have insulted our collective
intelligence with a TV commercial in which a geek tells his mother he
is getting married. “Who’s the girl?” she asks. He replies, “ It’s
not a girl, it’s bacon.” This is all by way of promoting the chains’
BLT cheeseburger (649 calories, 36 grams of fat).
The conclusion of the ad takes place at the altar where a minister
proclaims “You may eat the bride.” Pretty funny if you’re in the
(An aside: if you do an Internet search for marry bacon, you come up
with a fitness expert named Mary Bacon in Australia who must be less
than amused with the ad campaign).
--- Burger King is experimenting with home delivery. Right now, you
can get a Whopper sped to your front door in certain areas of the
Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Don’t forget the 20 per cent tip.
--- Burger King is also going public, offering shares for trade on
the New York Stock Exchange. Before you dump your 401k savings into
this stock, consider its very name connotes dubious eating habits.
---Sonic Drive-in is offering a bacon double cheeseburger that weighs
in at 1280 calories and 92 grams of fat.
The Harvard study will undoubtedly cause great glee among cows,
vegans and the National Chicken Council.
But while many of us are eating smarter, it’s not easy to go cold
turkey. Red meat and fast food may be bad for us but we consume it
anyway, driven in part by a constant barrage of advertising that
shows happy, healthy, slim Americans gleefully engaged in a
cholesterol orgy. They look like members of the Future Heart Attack
Victims of America.
Besides, eating almost anything can be dangerous to your health.
Consider: 300,000 pounds of Colorado cantaloupes were recalled
recently because of listeria; a salmonella outbreak in 19 states is
being traced to sushi; 36 million pounds of ground turkey were
recalled last year in a salmonella outbreak.
So what to do? You can live in a cave and make your own jerky. Or you
can shop smart and avoid excess in all things.
If that doesn’t appeal, consider this: A company named J&D Foods in
Seattle, puveryors of things like bacon lip balm, is offering a bacon
coffin for $2,999.99 plus shipping.
The coffin is not actually made of coffin but painted to look like
it. Inside, is a bacon air freshener.