OF MICE AND MEN AND THE USDA

Yesterday was a bad news day. It came from multiple sources, including this from AOL News: “USDA guidelines target ‘unhealthy lifestyle’… ‘the new guidelines call for a shift to a more plant-based diet…’

Good Morning America went into more detail as to what we can expect from the next food pyramid due out later this year. In order to combat obesity, which the show’s host called “the single greatest threat to health in this century,” (at least she got that right) they are recommending that most of our diet should come from plants and that we should cut fat from the current 35% of calories down to 5 to 15% and limit saturated fat to 7% rather than 10%. More “healthy” grains, more fruit, more vegetables, and much less meat, fewer eggs, and less butter, fat, and oil. And they added this: low-carb diets may help you lose weight, but they are very unhealthful.

This is what a panel of “scientists” came up with? Are they all being blackmailed by Dean Ornish? Whoever these people are, they obviously have never studied human metabolism and they know nothing about nutrition and how hormones work. They are also ignoring plenty of new research in order to hang onto their beliefs. I feel like I’ve just been sentenced to spend another 5 years on the lunatic fringe.

I woke up today with a poem by Robert Burns on my mind. Some of his verses are below (translations in parentheses are mine). It is appropriate for a couple of reasons: I identify with the feeling of despair expressed in the last verse, but I also thought about the plight of the poor little mouse. The vegetarians claim that their way of eating is humane and ecologically responsible. But huge numbers of animals are killed in the process of growing plants for food and entire species are being wiped out by chemicals, pesticides, and pollutants used in farming. Even more are lost due to loss of habitat as forests, wetlands, and prairies are destroyed to make more room for agriculture. As a result, much of the Earth is being turned into wasteland. The descendants of the little mouse in the poem face much more destruction from modern farming practices than she did; it’s just harder to see the damage from on top of a big, gas-guzzling machine.

To a Mouse, by Robert Burns
On turning up her nest, with a plough, November, 1785
 
Wee, sleeket, cowran, tim’rous beastie,
O, what panic’s in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty, (You don’t need to run away so fast)
Wi’ bickering brattle!

I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee, (I would be loath to run and chase you)
Wi’ murd’ring pattle! (spade)

I’m truly sorry Man’s dominion
Has broken Nature’s social union,
An’ justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle,
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
An’ fellow-mortal! …
.
But Mousie, thou are no thy-lane, (not alone)
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men,
Gang aft agley, (often go awry)
An’ lea’e us nought (and leave us nothing) but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!
Still, thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But Och! I backward cast my e’e, (eye)
On prospects drear!
An’ forward, tho’ I canna (cannot) see,
I guess an’ fear.
.

Post Script: Dr. Robert Su, author of Carbohydrates Can Kill, posted a link where we can express our opposition to the proposed guidelines. You must write the agencies at http://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/ before July 15, 2010 or you can testify at the public meeting on July 8, 2010. Tell them how eating a low-carb diet has affected your health and improved your quality of life. If we can do anything to avert this disaster, it’s worth a try.

.
(C) 2010, Judy Barnes Baker

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