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Cows for breakfast
2/22/2007 | Comments
This is another cartoon in the "Planet of the Cows" CounterThink sub-series. The origins of this cartoon are somewhat interesting: Following the release of research in late 2006 linking red meat consumption to breast cancer, I was eating dinner at a social function for a non-profit organization (one of the rare times I actually attend any organized function involving food). One of the items served was steak, and when someone asked me what I did to keep busy, I told them I was a nutritionist specializing in food toxicology.

A word of advice: Never say this at a dinner function, even if it's true. Because the next question out of some person's mouth will inevitably be, "So what can you tell me about the food I'm eating?"

I'm not one to hold back educational information about red meat, so I proceeded to explain that red meat consumption has been clinically proven to significantly increase the risk of various cancers, including breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer and even leukemia and brain tumors. In response to this, some stodgy old fart with a career in the conventional sick care industry practically choked up a piece of half-chewed prime rib and coughed out, "Lies! Lies! They're trying to turn us all into vegetarians!"

Which I thought was downright hilarious.

The only thing funnier, I later realized, would be witnessing a COW say it! A couple of sketches later (with the help of Dan Berger, the artist), and we finalized the cartoon you see here.

Cows, of course, are naturally vegetarian. The only exception is when they're force-fed ground up dead and diseased animals as is currently allowed under USDA cattle feed regulations. It's actually perfectly legal to feed cows chicken droppings... feathers, poop, and all! The practice is so widespread today that most processed beef products purchased at the grocery might be more accurately called predigested secondhand chicken poop. But that's not as tasty sounding as, "BBQ beef brisket," so food companies tend to stick with the names that sell more food.

Beef companies like to claim things like, "Corn fed beef!" Well, yeah, there was some corn in that chicken poop, so it's not technically a lie. But believe me, corn isn't the only thing they were fed. Don't forget the pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones, anesthetized pets, genetically modified soybeans, and feed crops laced with heavy metals and PCBs. The true diet of a modern cow that's grown in a typical corporate feed lot would shock most people into thinking twice the next time they order a hamburger (or, God forbid, a so-called "beef" taco at your favorite Mexican fast food chain restaurant). Organic beef, of course, is entirely different, but even then, you're still eating the flesh of a living, feeling, breathing mammal that has a mother and a father.

On a different topic, wouldn't it be funny if cows ate human food for breakfast? It's not nearly as strange as you might think. Humans, after all, eat cow food for breakfast. It's called MILK, and it's the perfect nutritional beverage for baby cows, but way out of whack for human consumption (especially when homogenized and pasteurized).

Of course, big-money corporations spend literally billions of dollars in advertising, public relations and propaganda trying to convince you that milk and beef should be the cornserstones of your diet. Sure, that's true if you want to die of heart disease and cancer. Milk and beef work great for that. Plus, you'll be creating more jobs in the health care sector as you spend your days (and your dollars) in hospitals, clinics and surgical centers. That's why the milk and health care industries get along so well -- drink milk long enough and you'll need lots of health care services. Coronary bypass surgery, anyone? How about colon polyps? Diabetes? Breast cancer? It's all on the menu when you spend your life eating animal products.

Truly healthy people, on the other hand, give up consuming most or all animal products. I still eat seafood from time to time, and I've even been caught eating chicken in a desperate meal during air travel, but I almost never seek out meat from animals. And I don't consume milk, butter, yogurt or any dairy products whatsoever. As a result, I don't use toxic deodorant products (because I don't stink like milk and butter), and I never get headaches, sinusitus or constipation. I follow a plant-based diet, and in fact, I gotta wrap this up because I have a giant salad bowl full of dark leafy green vegetables to juice up and drink right now.

By the way, if you're currently a meat eater, and you feel really angry or offended by this, don't sweat it: that's a side effect of eating meat. It actually makes people angry. I would feel the same way if I ate meat. The point is, I'm not talking down to anybody who eats meat. It's totally your choice what to eat, and if you don't figure this stuff out now, you probably will later. What I'm saying is that if you truly want to be healthier, and be free of prescription drugs, and live a happier, more harmonious life, then you've got to take a closer look at what you're putting in your body. Shift towards a plant-based diet and away from a meat-based diet, and you'll feel better by the day.

I used to drink a gallon of milk a day, and I ate beef at almost every meal. But I paid a price in terms of obesity, depression, chronic pain and terrible cholesterol levels. That was many years ago. Today, I'm healthy, productive and mentally sharp, and it's largely due to nutrition: Eating plants, taking supplements, consuming superfoods and avoiding as many animal products as possible.

The next time you're at a restaurant, don't have a cow. Order food from plants. (Er, actually, order food from the waiter, but make sure it's made of plants.)

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