Not a day goes by that I’m not inundated with news stories, Tweets and other social media posts lecturing me about how I need to stop eating meat. My diet is bad for the environment, for my heart, for the children, for the continued existence of trapeze artists, blah, blah, blah (to be honest, I’m not entirely sure that anyone says that about trapeze artists, the anti-meat whining has become white noise for me and I don’t really listen). Now, though, smug, self-righteous vegetarians have received some bad news about their diet too. Apparently, vegetarians may have a higher risk of stroke than meat-eaters.
I love steak. And bacon. And meat from a vast array of animals. I eat meat a LOT. My doctor, my wife, my friends, and the aforementioned proselytizing vegetarians are constantly reminding me that my diet increases my risk of dying young. My blood pressure and cholesterol level are at greater risks due to my meat consumption, I’m told. Except, the results of the study published in the medical journal BMJ say that in comparison to meat-eaters, “vegetarians had 20% higher rates of total stroke (hazard ratio 1.20, 95% confidence interval 1.02 to 1.40) than meat eaters, equivalent to three more cases of total stroke (95% confidence interval 0.8 to 5.4 more) per 1000 population over 10 years, mostly due to a higher rate of haemorrhagic stroke.”
Well, well, well. So much for the much-touted vegetarian diet.
Now, I’m not sure what some of those words mean since I was a theatre major in college, but even with a liberal arts training I understand the claim “vegetarians had 20% higher rates of total stroke.” My takeaway is that leftists are now faced with a choice: change their diet to protect the climate and die from a stroke, or keep eating meat and buy land about ten miles inland and build a boat dock in preparation for the encroaching ocean. In other words, become a vegetarian and die young or eat meat and enjoy your beachfront property.
In all seriousness, this study does underline how complicated and, frankly, pointless these discussions can be. Outside of our inevitable death, there are no certainties in life. My health-conscious mother died from cancer at a relatively young age. My dad, whose diet consists almost entirely of fried foods and sweet tea, is approaching 80, still in relatively good health.
Of course vegetarian diets contain risks. So does eating meat. For me, I’d prefer to enjoy whatever time God gives me on this planet. Never eating another steak or another slice of bacon would lessen my quality of my life. The rewards of eating meat are worth the risk. Can anyone really say the same thing about being a vegetarian?