Sunday, April 24, 2011

Eat Less Meat; When You Do, Eat Mostly Pork

Another insightful passage from Franklin Hiram King's 1911 tome, Farmers of Forty Centuries: Organic Farming in China, Korea, and Japan (originally titled Farmers of Forty Centuries; Or, Permanent Agriculture in China, Korea, and Japan):
    The small number of animal products which are included in the market list given should not be taken as indicating the proportion of animal to vegetable foods in the dietaries of these people. It is nevertheless true that they are vegetarians to a far higher degree than are most western nations, and the high maintenance efficiency of the agriculture of China, Korea and Japan is in great measure rendered possible by the adoption of a diet so largely vegetarian. Hopkins, in his Soil Fertility and Permanent Agriculture, page 234, makes this pointed statement of fact: "1000 bushels of grain has at least five times as much food value and will support five times as many people as will the meat or milk that can be made from it". He also calls attention to the results of many Rothamsted feeding experiments with growing and fattening cattle, sheep and swine, showing that the cattle destroyed outright, in every 100 pounds of dry substance eaten, 57.3 pounds, this passing off into the air, as does all of wood except the ashes, when burned in the stove; they left in the excrements 36.5 pounds, and stored as increase but 6.2 pounds of the 100. With sheep the corresponding figures were 60.1 pounds; 31.9 pounds and 8 pounds; and with swine they were 65.7 pounds; 16.7 pounds and 17.6 pounds. But less than two-thirds of the substance stored in the animal can become food for man and hence we get but four pounds in one hundred of the dry substances eaten by cattle in the form of human food; but five pounds from the sheep and eleven pounds from swine.

    In view of these relations, only recently established as scientific facts by rigid research, it is remarkable that these very ancient people came long ago to discard cattle as milk and meat producers; to use sheep more for their pelts and wool than for food; while swine are the one kind of the three classes which they did retain in the role of middleman as transformers of coarse substances into human food.
"Eat food, not too much, mostly plants," seven words that summarize Michael Pollan's 7 Rules for Eating.

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Blogger Mark in Spokane said...

I have read several articles that dispute Pollan, arguing that a paleo-diet is better for people. Of course, how sustainable such a diet is on a large population scale is debatable. There is a reason that our ancestors took to growing grain -- it can provide a large amount of calories on a small amount of land on a relative stable basis.

2:19 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

If the paleo-diet were correct, bread would not have been called the staff of life.

The book mentioned in the post is truly remarkable. It explains how Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese have been tilling the same lands of millennia without exhauisting the soil.

2:41 AM  
Blogger Pints in NYC said...

But is it kosher, or halal?

7:48 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

That's the problem. Let our Abrahamic friends eat beef.

Actually, I prefer beef to pork, too, but here in Korea, pork is far more economical an option. Samgyeopsal is on the menu today. If you're in the neighborhood, stop in. Pints will be served!

8:08 AM  
Blogger Mark in Spokane said...

A Korean taco?

8:21 AM  
OpenID danightman said...

while swine are the one kind of the three classes which they did retain in the role of middleman as transformers of coarse substances into human food.

So pork was one, I suspect chicken and fowl are the second. Was the third fish and seafood? Or what?

10:08 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

I think that "of the three classes" refers to swine, cows, and sheep, of which the first was retained.

2:17 PM  

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