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Reader Letters | Feb. 17, 2011

Nik Novak

200,000 YEARS OF MEAT

Whilst perusing your feature article [Jan. 20] on health and wellness the other day I noticed that you chose not to include information on the social and environmental benefits of eating food rich in animal fats and protein.  I do not know if this was intentional, but it should be noted that humans, over the past 200,000 plus years have done very well for themselves by eating all parts of available animals (wild and pastured, slow-cooked and raw, including muscles, organs, and bone marrow).

Our ancestors were quite happy to avail themselves of all resources until about a century ago, when modern “civilized” folk, in the name of progress and efficiency, began the process of industrialization.  As is well-documented, the industrialization of our food supply led to an increase in air, water, and soil degradation, and a simultaneous reduction in plant and animal biodiversity.  Plant-based monoculture, as well as animal feedlots and heavy-processing facilities grew in scale and popularity.  All of these movements were done in the interest of making money; they were never done for the benefit of human, animal, or environmental health.  The subsequent reach of “nutritional” science was likewise conducted by the business establishment.  “Lowfat,” “heart-healthy,” carbohydrate-based diets came to the fore and were accepted by generations of misguided Americans who now suffer from a wide array of “Western” ailments, including but not limited to: cancer, heart disease, diabetes, weak bone structure and bad teeth.

The point here is that neither animal-based diets, nor plant-based diets, in and of themselves, cause poor human health.  Rather, food industry practices and products such as processed vegetable oils, “enriched” grains, “refined” sugars, antibiotics, and chemical additives, unknown until half a century ago, bear the burden.

Happily you can get lots of good chemical-free, sustainably-raised and tasty sustenance right here in western Wisconsin.  We have lots to offer in terms of hunting, fishing, foraging, and agriculture. Visit your local farmers’ markets, butcher shops, or our friendly downtown grocery store--the one with the carrot on its roof.

– Nik Novak, Eau Claire