Forks over Knives and the Campus Meat Battle

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

So last night I went to go see Forks Over Knives with a friend. The movie examines the claim that “most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods.”
It is fairly provocative as a film and I would actually say that the movie is not pro vegan, pro animal rights, or even pro environment; these elements are only lightly touched upon. Most of the focus is on the health side of switching to a non animal product diet.

One of the reasons why this movie was made was to raise the discourse around the issues of cardiac disease and obesity. And even though I would give this movie multiple thumbs up, I can’t help[ but wonder how realistic the premise is. Not the part about meat being unhealthy for you, but the idea that people’s habits could actually change. For instance, would it be possible to get half of the University of Ottawa campus to reduce their meat consumption by one half?

I myself could be most easily classified as a flexiterian, which is just a cope out way of say a vegetarian except if meat is going to go to waste or someone already prepared a meat meal and I don’t want to be a douche by not accepting it. All this to say that I understand why people enjoy meat and dairy products and I understand the ridiculous amount of resistance that people would put up if you asked them to cut their consumption.
  • Argument one… I need the protein found in meat and dairy products. (Even thought the average person consumes so much more protein than they need, not to mention that fact that vegetable protein is just as good as animal protein)
  • Argument two… there are vitamins that I can only get in meat. (Yes, if you happen to eat the most unbalanced diet ever this is certainly the case)
  • Argument three… I love MEAT SO MUCH I would die without it. (I am not even going to touch this one)
The whole thing that I want to highlight with this is that there is resistance to this kind of an idea. Meat is not only a status symbol, it is almost a way of life for most people. Just imagine the arguments that would fly out of your family members and friends if your sole job was to convince them that they should drink as much milk.

So this year I was hoping to work on the Meatless Mondays campaign. The idea is simple… one day a week (and only one day a week) we stop the sale of meat products on campus and offer some nutritional tips. There are a couple of reasons why this would be a nice thing. First, it would reduce the amount of meat products in your diet by just a little bit. Second, it would be an opportunity to talk about the issue at a campus level. And three, it would represent a huge dip in our green house gas emissions (President Obama came out and said that if every American went meatless for one day, the U.S. could achieve their Kyoto Accord obligations).

Well I am not going to force this kind of thing on everyone without doing a little more sacrificing myself. So, against the cardinal rule of the movie, I will make some changes to my diet… small ones but that should have an impact. First I am going to cut my coffee consumption down to 1 cup day. Mainly because I don’t actually drink coffee, I drink creamy sugar fluid with some mild coffee flavor. Second, seeing as I don’t actually eat that much meat, I am going to balance out my milk consumption by using some soy.

Now the question at hand is do you think others would be willing to do the same?


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