5% Of The World (America) Eats 16.6% Of The World’s Meat
3 years, 4 months.
There’s this familiar cliché in which a child doesn’t finish all their food at dinner so one of their parents tells them, “What a shame… there are starving children in China right now.”
The implied concept is that by taking more than we need, it means someone else on the other side of the world (or down the street) will suffer a deficiency of that same commodity.
So if you don’t finish your fruit here in America, in theory, a starving child in China will go without a piece of fruit that he desperately needed for nutrition. Yet somehow, if you don’t waste that piece of fruit, the kid in China doesn’t go without.
I think it is important is to live a lifestyle in which we are constantly asking ourselves, “Am I consuming more here than I actually need? Or do I have enough?”
From food, to water, to clothing, to toys.
As I recently pointed out in an infographic, which I have included again at the bottom of this letter, isn’t it peculiar that Americans consume 1/6th (or 16.6%) of the total meat consumed worldwide even though Americans make up less than 1/20th (or 5%) of the total population?
(That’s more than 3 times our share.)
Nutritionists recommend consuming around 3 ounces of meat per day, for those who choose to consume meat, yet the average American eats about ½ pound of meat (8 ounces) per day; that is nearly 3 times the amount that is recommended for nutrition purposes.
Simply put, America consumes around 3 times more than our share of consumed meat; not only in terms of ratio by population, but also by nutritionists’ standards.
Not to mention, the top leading causes of death in America tend to include heart disease, stroke, Diabetes, and cancer.
So I checked out the website for the Physicians For Social Responsibility, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985. Here’s what they have to say:
“In the U.S. we are faced with an unprecedented amount of diet related disease including obesity, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. There are many different contributing factors to these illnesses and over consumption of meat produced in unsustainable manners is certainly one of them.
Diets high in red and processed meat have been found to be associated with greater mortality from cardiovascular disease and cancer. Additionally, such a diet is connected to higher rates of Type 2 Diabetes. Red meats are often high in saturated fats which increase cholesterol levels leading to greater risk of heart disease and stroke…
Most Americans eat far more than the serving size recommended by the USDA Dietary Guidelines adding to overweight and obesity rates and the other health problems associated with these conditions. By reducing meat consumption and opting for a more balanced diet high in whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables, these diet-related diseases can be mitigated.”
I believe that with the right mindset, America could begin to learn how to consume enough.
That is a hard word to process, “enough,” because it’s not often easy to know the difference between actual needs and wants versus perceived needs and wants.
Once we begin recognizing when we are taking more than we need, we can begin to figure out how to give that excess to others who actually need our surplus.
Mommy and I recently watched a relevant documentary on Netflix, called I Am, which is about what happens when we as humans take more than we need:
“There is one fundamental law that all of nature obeys that mankind breaks everyday: Nothing in nature takes more than it needs, and when it does, it becomes subject to this law and it dies off… We have a term for something in the human body when it takes more than its share. We call it cancer.”
How can we love our neighbors as ourselves if we have too much while they don’t have enough? Like I said a couple of weeks ago, there is no law that can force people to love each other.
I’m not saying I’ve got it figured out myself, but in teaching you these important lessons in life, I am able to teach myself this lesson on a daily basis.
So when I mutter to you something about kids in a 3rd world country (or in a poverty situation in the next neighborhood over), this is where it’s really coming from.
No, we’re not going to scrape your leftovers into a container and send them to the other kid. Instead, we’re going to put them in the fridge to give you a few days from now.
How can we keep from wasting in our house? My initial thought is that if we have enough to waste, we have too much to begin with.
Note: This is an opinion piece of the author and does not reflect Parents magazine or the medical establishment.
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