Forced to Cut Back, One Die-Hard Bacon Lover Learns to See the Merit in a Bit of Moderation

pig sign restaurant photo

Photo by lisatozzi via Flickr.

In my social group of foreigners living in Istanbul, the high price of pork products -- unpopular eats in a predominantly Muslim country -- is a constant lament. But in the countries we hail from, according to the creators of a hard-hitting recent documentary, bacon, sausage, and the like are far too cheap.The "true price of cheap pork" documented in the film "Pig Business" will be familar to anyone who has followed the debate over factory farms: overcrowded and mistreated animals, polluted water and air, dying rural communities, and damage to the health of people living near these operations and those who eat the food they produce. Tracy Worcester's investigation lays all these facts out so vividly that Smithfield Foods, the massive pork processor criticized in the film, has used legal pressure to keep it from being shown in the United States. The filmmakers have responded by posting the whole movie on their website for free viewing.

Eating Less Meat
While this film and others like it will surely inspire many viewers to swear off pork entirely or at least switch to the free-range variety, simply cutting back on meat eating is an easy -- and healthy -- way to help reduce the impact of livestock raising on the environment. Living in a place where procuring pork is not as easy as making a quick trip to the market hasn't, unfortunately, reduced my interest in eating it, but it has made me appreciate how far a small amount of meat can go in a meal.

When I bring back a precious slab of speck or link of chorizo from a trip abroad, after all, I don't want to waste it all in one go. And doling out small slices into a pasta dish, on top of a salad, or into an egg scramble -- shared with friends, of course -- adds such a such a rich, satisfying flavor to food, I have started to forget why we Americans ever made meat the centerpiece of our meals.

More about eating meat:
How and Why to Eat Less Meat
Reduce the Meat in Your Diet: Become a Weekday Vegetarian
Emeril Green Episode: 'Meat' Me Half Way
Meat and Climate Change: It's Even Worse Than We Imagined
Your Car & Your Meat-Eating: The Biggest Causes of Climate Change
In Defense of the Cow: How Eating Meat Could Help Slow Climate
Climate Friendly Cows Make Meat Eating a Little Less Bad

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