know how America is sort of a scam to make us all poor and fat? There were two stories in the New York Times on Sunday about this subject. The first is about the meat industry. Yeah, meat is great, I am not going to act like it's a handbag or some shit because it can really add to a wine-drinking experience, but the fact that it costs eight or nine calories of grain to produce every calorie of beef is not only a huuuuge drain on the food supply, it is, like most expensive habits, destroying the planet — a 20% reduction in American meat consumption would save as much energy as forcing us all to buy Priuses. Okay, now to the pharmaceutical industry: For a long time the pharmaceutical industry has been in bed with the beef industry, because cows are big consumers of antibiotics — the antibiotics make them fatter and more meaty, which is actually good for the cost of food but not for the efficacy of our antibiotics, though that's another story.

Meanwhile, since the discovery of statins — drugs that lower patients' cholesterol level — the pharmaceutical industry made bank off Americans with a beef habit. And when I say "bank", I mean the drugs eclipse all other drugs in history as profit makers.

Thing is, cholesterol has never been proven to be the cause of heart disease. There are all sorts of links between saturated fat and artery plaque/heart disease/generally bad health, but the expensive notion that cholesterol-reducing drugs can make up for all that is probably, on the whole, a destructive one. In light of global warming, new regulations limiting the destruction of Brazilian rain forests and the rising consumption in other countries, we're probably going to have to stop eating so much meat anyway.

So in honor of the coming recession I thought I'd just encourage everyone to go vegetarian for awhile. Just for fun; to prepare. I'm doing it too. Mainly because I'm broke and don't really care what I eat as long as beer's involved, but also because I care. Not about the cows — please — but about sustainability, and bringing down the costs of health care, and maybe also, in theory wherein they don't stink quite so bad, about the cows.

What's Cholesterol Got To Do With It? [NY Times]
Rethinking The Meat Guzzler [NY Times]