To beef or not to beef… Health is the question

| April 9, 2014
gerald deas

Dr. Gerald Deas

By Gerald W. Deas, M.D.

Definition: Beef- Meat from a steer, cow or bull when fully grown are fattened  for food.

Beef used as a slang means to complain; a grievance.

When I was growing up, the disease tuberculosis was running rampant in our communities. There was a saying in those days, ‘TB or not TB, that is the question… consumption be done about it?”

Well, today, there is another group of diseases running rampant in our communities such as, hypertension, diabetes and heart disease. These conditions may be related to eating too much fat-laden beef and it products. I guess you could say to beef or not to beef… health is the question.

Recently, it has been reported that a well known food establishment is offering up 50,000 new jobs to work in their restaurants. Damn! That’s lot of workers serving up meat and other fat-laden food products. When you think about it, it really means that more folks will also have employment in clinics, hospitals, health insurance companies, etc. I’m sure Medicare and Medicaid will also provide extra employment.

It would be more beneficial if 50,000 jobs were available for the production of fresh fruits and vegetables. This would give many farm workers a job to produce healthy foods produced in this country.

When I was a child I can recall the fruit and vegetable wagons drawn by a horse carrying an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables at affordable prices. Let’s try to get back to the basics.

At least one hundred million animals are sacrificed each year to satisfy people’s taste for meat. In this country alone, the average American eats approximately 220 pounds of meat yearly. Just think of how many fat-laden hamburgers are sold to satisfy our taste buds. People like to drench their meat with salt and salty condiments to satisfy those taste buds., which are related to hypertension, heart disease and renal failure.

Hamburgers now have invaded the shores of the orient and Africa. Folks in those parts of the world are just licking up those calories and experiencing obesity. Soon and very soon they will face the same epidemic of diseases as we do. While it is commonly known that meat loving Americans  have the highest rates of breast, colon and prostate cancer, it may surprise you to learn there are now countries in the developing world such as China, and India that have the highest rates of diabetes, heart disease and renal failure which may be caused by the increase of meat consumption. It takes tons of grain to fatten up farm animals so that they can be sacrificed for our love of meat. The waste material or manure of the condemned animals also contributes to the contamination along with methane gas which also pollutes the environment.  It’s a no win situation unless we limit our meat consumption.

We are known as a nation of “guts” and “butts” which encourages the growth of more hospitals and emergency rooms to treat meat related diseases. The Mediterranean diet, which consists of grains, fresh vegetables and water, promotes a far healthier lifestyle.

One way to improve and supplement your diet is to have three meatless days a week and to substitute water for those tasty sugar-laden drinks and colas. I am sure after reading this column, you will enjoy a healthy and productive life. Please don’t give me any ‘beef.”

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Category: Health, Local, National

About the Author ()

Gerald W. Deas, MD, MPH, MA is a physician, poet, patient advocate, playwright, media personality, political activist and public health crusader. Read his full bio at http://www.downstate.edu/giving/funds/deas.html/.

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