Advice Goddess Blog
« Previous | Home | Next »

How Do We Know Tofu Doesn't Scream When We Eat It?
And, yes, I use the "we" (in the "eating it" sense) very lightly.

meatismurder-1.jpg

Photo by Gregg Sutter

Posted by aalkon at March 19, 2006 11:19 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.advicegoddess.com/mt4/mt-tb.cgi/1156

Comments

So this means that anyone who's ever had a burger is going to prison, right?

Or is there a problem with the rhetoric?

This works for the "abortion is murder" types, too. When you ask if that means that every woman who's ever had an abortion should go to prison, there are two interesting effects: Some women at the table (though you can never tell which) will, without gestures, blinking or motion of any kind, fill the room with powerful vibe of frosty tension. And secondly, your anti-abortion activist will start to backtrack.

Posted by: Crid at March 19, 2006 9:46 AM

I've had an abortion -- as have probably many women 40 or over. I have no problem admitting to it or to anything else I've done. As the therapist tells my friend Sue Shapiro, in her book, Lighting Up, "Live the least secretive life you can."

Joan Didion, in Slouching Towards Bethlehem, calls it having "the courage of your mistakes":

Like Jordan Baker, people with self-respect have the courage of their mistakes. They know the price of things. If they choose to commit adultery, they do not then go running, in an access of bad conscience, to receive absolution from the wronged parties; nor do they complain unduly of the unfairness, the undeserved embarrassment, of being named co-respondent.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at March 19, 2006 10:02 AM

I love this quote:

"I am not a vegetarian because I love animals; I am a vegetarian because I hate plants." --A. Whitney Brown

Posted by: Amy Alkon at March 19, 2006 11:47 AM

Tofu _does_ scream when you eat it. That is why I, and all right (left?) minded people, are breatharian. And what has this got to do with abortion - not feeling bad about it are we?

Posted by: Tom at March 19, 2006 3:37 PM

Hate plants? Join PETA, the organization of People Eating Tasty Animals! Get a free T-Shirt! Select from these thought-provoking alternatives: "Tree-hugging is the right thing to do, when you're climbing your deer stand."; "Vegetarian - n. - archaic Amerindian word for the village idiot, who couldn't hunt, fish or ride."; "Greens are for garnish! Pass the burgers!" All materials copyright Red Nape Productions LLC. Join today, and get a free subscription to Smokeless Tobacco and 4WD Hooters Magazine!

(The foregoing may have been offensive to people with necks of color. I apologize. Some of my best friends have russet skin, due to their hard work in the hot sun.)

Posted by: Radwaste at March 19, 2006 5:48 PM

If you said well-seasoned tofu was going to be substituted for every serving of hooved and feathered meat in my future, I'd be pissed but would get over it quickly. If we could buy respectable, interesting tofu or vegetarian dishes at McDonald's, domestic travel would be bliss.

Also, Tom, turns out you might be an asshole.

Posted by: Crid at March 19, 2006 8:05 PM

"Vegetarian - n. - archaic Amerindian word for the village idiot, who couldn't hunt, fish or ride."

Oh, I see - so the more civilized approach is to insult people whose lifestyles differ from yours, even though most of them probably wouldn't dream of putting graffiti on a wall or accusing others of murder?

I'm a vegetarian, but it's my own personal choice, and I go to great lengths not to push it on others and make people feel uncomfortable. Still, the developed world might not be so full of fatasses if people stuffed a "garnish" in their mouth rather than another burger once in a while.

Posted by: Sheila at March 20, 2006 8:02 AM

I'm not a vegetarian, but I think that vegetable dishes are usually the best part of any meal.

I highly recommend a cookbook by Deborah Madison, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. It's got 1,400 recipes, and I'm slowly working my way through it! I just made the most tasty gratin of leeks, turnips, blue cheese, and bechamel. Perfection!

Posted by: Lena Childs at March 20, 2006 8:46 AM

You could actually make a compelling case for vegetarianism. You could even argue that that's how we were made. For one thing, we have the dental hardware of plant eaters, mostly flat teeth designed for grinding up food.

For another, we have the long digestive tracts of herbivores. In our system, meat is there so long before it's digested, that it can start to rot there. Plus we can't process uric acid, which is a by-product of digesting meat.

That said, I'm not a vegetarian. Mostly, yes, but I still eat meat when offered.

Bleu cheese? I guess this cookbook Lena's recommending isn't for the vegan.

Posted by: Patrick at March 20, 2006 10:17 AM

Welcome, Sheila, from the nation of the Easily Offended! The line forms over here (points).

And sure, Patrick, that's why we have incisors and canines. The term is "omnivorous" - but you knew that. Of course, we eat lots of things we shouldn't - especially if we are sedentary office workers. It makes a bigger difference now that other things don't kill us in our thirties any more...

Posted by: Radwaste at March 20, 2006 5:52 PM

Radwaste writes:

And sure, Patrick, that's why we have incisors and canines. The term is "omnivorous" - but you knew that. Of course, we eat lots of things we shouldn't - especially if we are sedentary office workers. It makes a bigger difference now that other things don't kill us in our thirties any more...

Newsflash: Incisors are for biting through things. like large plant material. I can't stuff a whole celery stalk in my mouth. I've never seen anyone eat meat with their incisors. And if you imagine those canines of yours (of which you have what? Four?) are capable of tearing meat, I would suggest you take a good hard look at the dental work of nature's omnivores. Like the bear, for instance. Oh, yes. We're omnivores all over. (eyeroll)

The fact remains, we cannot process uric acid. Omnivores and carnivores can. Also we're the only species that seems to need to drain the blood and cook the meat. We also have long digestive tracts. Appropriate for digesting plants but potentially dangerous when it comes to digesting meat. But you knew that. You chose to ignore it because you have no answer for it.

Posted by: Patrick at March 21, 2006 11:46 AM

Patrick: Humans have been hunting for several hundred thousands of years. Perhaps we once had the ability to digest cellulose and produce all the essential amino acids like herbivores, but we no longer have that ability. So it's silly to suggest that humans are supposed to be herbivores.

Posted by: nash at March 22, 2006 8:25 PM

Actually, Patrick, mushrooms, asparagus, and legumes, also raise the levels of uric acid, as do fasting and strenuous exercise. Vegetarians do tend to have less uric acid. Less, not none.
Also, our stomachs produce hydrochloric acid, which is not found in herbivores, and our pancreas produces the enzymes which enable us to digest animal and plant matter. We have longer intestines than carnivore, but shorter intestines than herbivores. Plus we have only one stomach, unlike most herbivores.
Just saying...

Posted by: Kimberly at March 22, 2006 9:04 PM

Nash writes:

Patrick: Humans have been hunting for several hundred thousands of years. Perhaps we once had the ability to digest cellulose and produce all the essential amino acids like herbivores, but we no longer have that ability.

I would love to know where you got that information, because it just so happens that it's wrong.

http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2005/09/are-humans-carnivores-or-herbivores-2/

Every essential amino acid is found in plants, and yes, we can digest them.

And before you start touting the complete proteins found in animal matter, let me also point out that amino acids are fused together by heating, making them difficult to absorb. We are the only species that needs to cook our food before eating it. (Don't believe me? Kill a chicken and eat it raw, and I'll see you in the hospital, if not the obituaries.)

Kimberly writes:

Plus we have only one stomach, unlike most herbivores.

Apart from the information that was debunked by the above website I found, only a very small percentage of herbivores are ruminants (an animal that eats food once, regurgitates the cud and eats it again, and has more than one stomach). Ruminants include antelope, bison, buffalos, camels, cows, deer, giraffes, goats, llamas, sheep, and wildebeest.

I should also point out that one of our nearest cousins in the animal kingdom, the gorilla, is a strict vegetarian and has only one stomach.

Posted by: Patrick at March 23, 2006 4:26 AM

Go to Wikipedia and do a search for "hunters and gatherers" and "homo sapiens." Humans have been hunting for several hundred thousands of years.

Chimpanzees, our closest genetic ancestor, eat meat.

http://www-rcf.usc.edu/~stanford/chimphunt.html

Posted by: nash at March 23, 2006 5:58 AM

Nash writes:

Go to Wikipedia and do a search for "hunters and gatherers" and "homo sapiens." Humans have been hunting for several hundred thousands of years.

Chimpanzees, our closest genetic ancestor, eat meat.

Before I continue, I want you all to know I am not a vegetarian. Mostly yes, but I do eat meat on occasion. Nor am I claiming that vegetarians are morally superior or superior in any other way (unless you count health), nor am I saying that everyone should aspire to be a vegetarian. People have the soveriegn right to make their own decisions, and I am no one to tell anyone else what to do. (I'll leave that to idiots like Tom Cruise.) Nor am I so fanatical as to believe that meat is murder. If it were, we would have to hunt down and kill all predators, as we would do to any animal who killed a human being.

All I'm saying is, anatomically, we're herbivores. And I don't believe that's disputable. We have the digestive tracts and dental hardware of herbivores. We simply have a wonderful human capacity to try things contrary to our own nature. What else, for instance, drinks milk from a species apart from their own and does so even past childhood?

Now, that said, time to tear into Nash's comments. First of all, our nearest relatives are NOT common chimpanzees, rather a specific strain of chimpanzee, known as the Bonobos. Closer than the common chimpanzee. What do they have in common with us, that they don't have in common with their larger, stronger cousins, the common chimp? They walk upright, for one thing. Common chimps don't. They engage in kissing and oral sex, believe it or not. Much more pacifistic and less aggressive than the common chimp, they have been observed to demonstrate characteristics normally associated with humans, such as compassion and sensitivity. Amazing, huh? I thought so, too. And, with some rare exceptions into insectivorism, they're herbivores.

The fact that human beings have been something or can do something, and have been doing it for thousands of years is no argument for the naturalness of anything. We've been killing each other for thousands of years. That doesn't make it right. We also pollute and hunt other animals into extinction. That doesn't make it natural. But we have the capacity, unlike other animals, to create, invent and try new things. Meat is simply a staple of that capacity. Please bear in mind, we cannot eat meat safely without considerable preparation. Even steak tartar requires some safety measures in place. Natural carnivores and ominvores don't need that precaution. As a matter of fact, they're remarkably resilient. Domesticated birds (like turkeys and chickens), for instance, have remarkably high concentrations of dangerous bacteria compared to their siblings in the wild. Nonetheless, predators can still eat them raw and survive. I would not expect to remain healthy, or even alive for long, if I started eating domestic chicken raw. Just yank out a boneless skinless chicken breast from the package and sink your incisors into it. The thought turns my stomach.

Posted by: Patrick at March 23, 2006 8:54 AM

Patrick: You may be the only one that eats his vegetables raw. Most people wash their vegetables to remove contaminants and then cook them to increase digestability. Yes, cooking food increases the digestability!!! Other meat eaters don't cook their food, but they don't use tools or walk upright most of the time either.

Here is a website that smashes all your arguments:

http://www.beyondveg.com/billings-t/comp-anat/comp-anat-1a.shtml

It also says your conclusions about bonobos are wrong.

Posted by: nash at March 24, 2006 5:58 AM

Nash, you'd like to think so, I know. But unfortunately, I haven't even played my high cards. Yes, amino acids ARE fused by cooking, making them harder to absorb. Some nutrients simply can't survive the cooking process. Think you get your Vitamin C from that stewed broccoli? Dream on. We don't need cholesterol from outside sources to supplement our diet; we manufacture all we need. And you've been living with your head in the sand if you don't realize dietary cholesterol is harmful. Ominovores and carnivores can process the stuff. Guess who can't?

And no, it does not say my conclusions about Bonobos are wrong. (You gotta love a website that uses the word "may" when trying to refute claims. Yes, they are our nearest relatives, and yes, they are primarily herbivores.)

By the way, how's that raw chicken? Can't eat it raw? Why not? Every animal that preys on chicken does.

Posted by: Patrick at March 25, 2006 3:00 AM

Leave a comment