Mark Palermo

A Fresh Look at Meat

He Was Our S.O.B.
Long Ago Saturday Nights at the Circle 9
The Dark Side of Vaccinations
Wine: Where Ignorance and Pretension Find their Loudest Voice
A 1976 Journey in Search of Self
The Machinery of Mass Dreams
The Outlaw Georgie Bush
Sex Offender Registries Out of Control
Extreme Makeover for Airheads
The Fault Lies not in the Stars, but in Ourselves
Reconsidering George Carlin
If You Think Liberals Are Jerks...
She Couldn't Do Her Chores
Remembering Viktor Frankl
One Day on the Farm-1977
A Fresh Look at Meat
How the Real World Works: A Lesson
30 Bucks for the Human Touch
1929 All Over Again
An Old Man's War, A Young Man's Fight
More Things in Heaven and Earth...
Our Dumbed-down Public Discourse
Bread, But No Roses
Earth's the Right Place for Love
Read This Before Enlisting
Poison Is Good for You: The Fluoridation Scam
Ron Paul:He Makes Too Much Sense
War Is a Racket
Brazil's National Orgasm Day
Calling all Liberals!
Why I Don't Get Flu Shots
What is Community?
Haverhillicus Homocrisicum
If You Wanna Be a Junkie, Why?
Do We Know His Family?
Scam: Youth Sports
A Subsidy for the Human Touch?
How Not to Be Boring
If the Bread and Roses Strike Were NOW
America's Problem with the Body
Columbus Day? or Renaissance Day?
Depleted Uranium Weapons
Mitt Romney: A Clintonian Republican
A Checklist for Conservatives
On Torture and Torturers
Pimp of the Nation
Romney is a Jerk
Hypocrisy and its Champions
The Dumb Society
The Men's Taverns of Yesteryear
On Dittoheads!
Let China Sleep
2004 McDebates
Animal Rights Page
US Wealth Distribution Chart
Public Grief, Private Lives



        I haven’t had a steak in thirty years. I was in Saint Louis, Missouri in May 1977 when I had my “slaughterhouse experience.” What I saw, you’ll never see on TV. It is true what they say. Even a few moments witnessing the screaming, crying animals in their death agony leaves a mark on one’s soul that is difficult to ever erase. Many vegetarians have been made from this experience. I did eat meat very sparingly after that, but I could never again enjoy a meat-based diet. The Yiddish writer, Isaac Singer, was once asked if he was a vegetarian for health reasons. He answered, “Yes, but not my own health, but for the health of the animals. For these noble creatures, every day is Treblinka.” I am glad the experience happened. I am 56, and the way I want  to get old is by being more conscious, not less.

        Most people don’t want to consider vegetarianism, and I don’t blame them. For so many people, life is stressful; fighting traffic, enduring boring, meaningless jobs, paying bills, etc. One of the few pleasures people have is a nice meal at the end of the day- maybe roasted sausages or a steak smothered in gravy. In my case, I love good food, but I have never felt deprived eating foods like eggplant parmigan, Spanish rice and beans with fried plantains, lentil stew, delicious falafel sandwiches, and so on. With so many great food choices, why eat animals?

        But my motivation is more than just pity for the animals. I am very, very choosy about the food I put in my mouth. I read  labels and check ingredients. I refuse to drink tap water because of the deadly fluorides and cancer –causing chlorine. I never go back to a restaurant if I get an MSG headache from eating there. If  guests in my home leave diet drinks containing aspartame in my refrigerator, I dump them down the drain after they leave. (the diet drinks, not the guests!) I am one of those guys. But I am not a Fascist about it. I like coffee, sweets, and of course beer and wine- W.C. Fields said, “Never trust a man who doesn’t drink.”

        Americans are mostly unconscious about food and the role it plays in health. When is the last time your doctor asked you about your diet? So I got the idea for this article when a fellow teacher gave me a lemon square at Christmas. While I was grateful because my friend’s intent was from kindness and consideration, one look at the ingredients told me the faux lemon square was toxin in a box. Not that there’s anything unusual in this. It is  typical of so many  processed foods sold in supermarkets, sometimes even health food stores, which are not fit for human consumption.

        To prove my point, here are the ingredients, which are listed on the box: we start with the requisite enriched flour and corn syrup ( AKA white sugar- and plenty of it). There’s hydrogenated beef tallow, otherwise known as rendered beef lard, then some hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oil. ( They have to hydrogenate the stuff? Isn’t there enough cholesterol already?) This tiny 4-ounce “pastry” contains a staggering 390 calories and 36% of a day’s allowance of artery-clogging saturated fat. They should include coupons inside-  good for discounts on coronary bypass surgery. Then there’s modified food starch, salt- and plenty of it- in case you need to elevate your blood pressure. Natural flavors- often a euphemism for brain cell-destroying MSG. But there’s more: diastic malt powder, (yum) mono and di-glycerides, agar, artificial colors #6 and #5 (chemotherapy anyone?), sorbitan, and last but not least, Polysorbate 60! (Bon apetite!) But the most surreal part of this faux food concoction is the brightly colored lettering on the happy, little box which boldly announces, “Real Fruit Filling,” yet no fruit of any kind is listed among the ingredients!

        An Arab student once told me a beautiful saying from her culture, which I remember today, 20 years later. “Health is the crown over one’s head that only sick people can see.” If you have ever been gravely ill, you know what she means. So I believe if God has blessed you with a healthy body, you show respect for it. The body is a temple, not a toilet.  

        Am I being too severe? I don’t think so. Over a million people will be diagnosed with cancer this year. Many of them will end up enduring chemo, radiation, surgery, and  walking around sans breasts, testicles, vocal chords or wearing colostomy bags. The average teenager eats a pound of sugar a day. Diabetes and heart disease are in epidemic proportions. Gee, I wonder why. Do you suppose at least part of these health problems have anything to do with the food we eat?




February 2007




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Kids nowadays...tend to go overboard on protein --- something I believe to be totally unnecsssary...I state in my formula for basic good eating: Eat about one gram of protein for every two pounds of body weight.
  -Arnold Schwarzenegger

The average age (longevity) of a meat eater is 63. I am on the verge of 85 and still work as hard as ever. I have lived quite long enough and am trying to die; but I simply cannot do it. A single beef-steak would finish me; but I cannot bring myself to swallow it. I am oppressed with a dread of living forever. That is the only disadvantage of vegetarianism.
  -George Bernard Shaw

The Utopians feel that slaughtering our fellow creatures gradually destroys the sense of compassion, which is the finest sentiment of which our human nature is capable.
  -Thomas More

The closer you can live to being a vegetarian the better.
  -Gary Player

The thinking man must oppose all cruel customs no matter how deeply rooted in tradition and surrounded by a halo. When we have a choice, we must avoid bringing torment and injury into the life of another, even the lowliest creature; to do so is to renounce our manhood and shoulder a guilt which nothing justifies.
  -Albert Schweitzer

Until we have the courage to recognize cruelty for what it is--whether its victim is human or animal--we cannot expect things to be much better in this world... We cannot have peace among men whose hearts delight in killing any living creature. By every act that glorifies or even tolerates such moronic delight in killing we set back the progress of humanity.
  -Rachel Carson

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
  -Mohandas Gandhi

People often say that humans have always eaten animals, as if this is a justification for continuing the practice. According to this logic, we should not try to prevent people from murdering other people, since this has also been done since the earliest of times.
  -Isaac Singer

Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.
  -Albert Einstein

You need to hunt something that can shoot back at you to really classify yourself as a hunter. You need to understand the feeling of what it's like to go into the field and know your opposition can take you out. Not just go out there and shoot Bambi.
  -Gov. Jesse Ventura

I take vitamins daily, but just the bare essentials not what you'd call supplements. I try to stick to a vegan diet heavy on fruit, vegetables, tofu, and other soy products.
  -Clint Eastwood