Sitting unassumingly under an elephant-shaped cozy, given to me many years ago by my step sons, is my morning tea. Enjoying a large mug while checking in with the world through social media, news apps and email is a morning ritual for me. I allow myself to dawdle through this because it is part of my wake-up process and I enjoy it. For years it was reserved for weekends only; but now that I am retired, I get to relish it every morning. This tea and I have a special relationship.
A couple of hours later, I find myself getting annoyed when I mention in a casual conversation that I had tea for breakfast only to have my words followed by an exhale of breath, a click of a tongue and the comment, “tea is so bad for you.”
Since when, I want to shout. People have been drinking tea for centuries.
The Queen drinks tea. She is over 90 and pretty damn healthy from what I can see. Show me the proof. I want to add. What recent study has decided this?
I bite my tongue to be polite because really this isn’t worth arguing about.
Instead I respond that I eat healthy meals and don’t drink pop or energy drinks or coffee or beer. I drink, lots of water, tea, orange and pineapple juice, red wine and milk. Then it happens again, the exhale of breath and click of the tongue right before the words, “milk is so bad for you.”
You’ve got to be kidding. Tell that to all the mothers of my generation, and several generations before me; and all those children, now adults, who survived drinking milk. I wonder how long this is going to last. For the past thirty years, eggs and butter were on the shit list, but both have recently been given a reprieve depending on which study the new media decides to cover. I can’t believe that it is actually the milk that was zeroed in on; not the juice with the bad wrap it has these days due to sugar content. And not the red wine, but then, there are some published positive attributes to red wine. We all were happy to hear that one.
Again I bite my tongue. It is starting to hurt I am biting so hard. This person is not a healthcare professional and not someone I know well so I don’t understand why someone in this situation feels they have the authority to judge my beverage decisions. When it comes to opinions, I probably possess more than my share, and I can be pretty expressive when I feel the need to be. But this is different. There’s a petty self-righteousness to this, masquerading as free advice. I don’t appreciate either from someone I hardly know.
I leave quietly. As I said earlier, this just isn’t worth arguing about. I have no intention of giving up tea or milk or anything else on this year’s bad-for-you bandwagon. I am a pretty healthy individual. My cholesterol and blood sugar numbers are perfect. I don’t take regular prescription medications. I don’t eat a lot of sugar and I have an exercise routine. My personal belief is that anything in excess can be bad for you. Just try eating excessive amounts of fruit for a day or two and see where that gets you. And wherever it gets you, don’t forget the toilet paper. There is a reason for the term a balanced diet.
And I can only be polite for so long. If this person, sometime in the future, implies that I should give up meat, those would be fighting words.
I am a meat eater. I don’t necessarily eat a lot of red meat, but I enjoy a nice beef tenderloin on occasion. I love a good roast of pork, leg of lamb or prime rib. I would never pass up a turkey dinner or a meal of chicken wings. I enjoy food in general. Meat, fish and poultry have always been distinguished food groups in my house. My ancestors have been relying on them for thousands of years. It is the reason we have survived this long–the reason we are at the top of the food chain. I have no desire to move downwards or to consume tofu or the new fake meat that is made from processed plant products. I prefer the plant part of my diet to be as fresh from the garden as possible.
Lets be realistic. Most people in the developed nations are not going to give up meat and poultry for the sake of animal rights any more than they are going to give up driving cars for the sake of the environment. You may think that I don’t care about these things, but you would be wrong. I am passionate about the environment. Anyone who knows me knows of the conscious decisions I make on a daily basis to reduce my impact on the planet. Decisions like my refusal to use chemical-laden products like harsh cleaners, hair dye and nail polish. My limited use of plastics, and the ganging up of errands so that I don’t have to burn any more gas than necessary to accomplish them. And who wouldn’t be concerned about the treatment of animals before and during slaughter.
As concerned as I am, giving up eating meat or driving my car is not the solution. The solution is not that black and white. We just can’t stop doing one thing and start another and expect things to go smoothly. When it comes to the issue of cars, a great many Canadians, myself included, live where cars are the only reliable transportation. When it comes to meat, there are farmers and many other individual jobs and complete industries that are built around the consumption of meat, fish and poultry. The majority of us, although not squeaky wheels, include these food products in our diet. These are necessary industries.
In order to move forward, society needs to find better ways to manage these things. But better ways cost money, and people and politicians don’t want to promote or invest in a future that they won’t be sharing. Recent Canadian poll results stating that most people are concerned about climate change and the environment but don’t want to pay more taxes to address these issues is a perfect example of this.
One of the latest tactics to entice people to give up eating meat is the claim that cow farts are bad for global warming. Yes I said cow farts. Look it up. It really is a news story. I am pretty sure burning fossil fuels is, by far, more detrimental to the environment than cow farts. Maybe, if the subject comes up, I should be cheeky and imply that this self-righteous person give up her car. After all the cows were here first.