Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...Tell Me More
It’s time to dispel a myth, apples. Rather, let’s chop it up and fry it until it sizzles. There’s nothing like a post well-done.
Pork Avoidance: So Much More Than Mere Myth
Mark and your Bees have received several emails asking about the safety of pork. Although Sisson addressed this briefly a few months back, the question deserves attention because new evidence has come to light. Apples, we at Mark’s Daily Apple have friends in high places. Also, a few dark alleys. And these friends inform us that the common assumption that pork is unhealthy is far more than mere nutrition myth – it’s a calculated and cunning conspiracy. Today, we blow the lid off the Great Pig Conspiracy. And then we roast it with a side of applesauce.
We all know that pigs are smart. Apparently, they’re not only more clever than dogs, pigs are even sharper than the dolphin, that most cerebrally-endowed of all God’s creatures. According to our informant (nom de oink: Greasy Spoon), those mendaciously witty oinkers have pulled the cashmere over our eyes in what is perhaps the greatest intraspecies conspiracy theory. Ever.
After scrappy half-pint Laura and golden-curled Mary squabbled like boys over the sizzling pig’s tail in Little House in the Big Woods, the pigs were fed up. Such effrontery! Such disrespect! Such insult! The underground Porcine Society for the Advancement of Other Meats (PSAOM) was born. Being that the United States is a traditionally Judeo-Christian nation, the setting was ripe for the conspiracy to take hold in the hearts and minds of Americans. The dastardly oinkers (G. Spoon’s term, not ours) played right into the unclean concerns of unsuspecting Americans.
Within a few short years, chicken was all the rage. “A chicken in every pot”? That popular postwar prosperity promise was carefully crafted by a covert operative masquerading as a certain unfortunate-looking politician. I don’t think I have to name names here. The hamburger love affair of the 1950s? Ray Croc was no fool – who would turn down the kind of sizable bribes an organization like PSAOM could offer? And let’s not even get started on E.B. White. By the 1980s, all you heard anywhere was that beef was what’s for dinner. The great popularity of fish these days – well, let’s just say for once it’s not the Vatican.
Aha! What of the “Other White Meat” campaign? There’s a hole in the conspiracy theory!
Tsk, tsk, are you really so easily fooled? This marketing campaign was one of the finest examples of effective counter-marketing ever designed. Divide and conquer, if you will. Hey, hungry folks, I’m almost like something you want! Wow, that’s compelling. Who wouldn’t want something that’s almost what you want, especially when what you do want is, well, cheaper? I can’t wait for the car that almost runs and the boat that almost floats and the roof that almost doesn’t collapse or the cat that actually stops meowing when I give it a treat already. Can you see the devastating craftiness of PSAOM, my friends?
The truth is, pork is one of the cleanest, healthiest meats on earth. Now, no factory farm raising any livestock is a place of great cleanliness (all the Virgos work in technology, which just makes no sense), so we recommend buying organic, local, grass-fed, you know the drill. That said, pork is not an “unclean” meat. That myth started in Egypt. Remember the Egyptians, those death-obsessed people? For the first hundred dynasties or so, before Egypt jumped the shark, pigs were revered. In fact, the Egyptians even started thinking the stars were piglets in the sky (and we thought the Beatles were a little nutty). Pretty soon Egyptians were sacrificing pigs to the mysterious Osiris, the god who was apparently really heavily involved with things like life and death. After a few more dynasties (seriously, that empire was like the Energizer Bunny of empires), pigs were associated with life and death, and it doesn’t take a psychologist with a penchant for identifying pathologies to figure out which part of that equation the Egyptians started focusing on. By the time Mesopotamian cultures entered into the mix, pigs were just considered scary and kind of, well, carcassy. Underwordly, really. And thus the unclean myth was born.
Meat is tissue, and it doesn’t matter if it comes from a pig, a cow, a chicken, or in some cultures, a rat – meat is meat is meat. There are only slight genetic differences between all living creatures, and while a few percentage points on the old DNA-o-meter mean the difference between a person and a pig, or a cow and a capibera, flesh is flesh.
How’s that from bringing home the bacon, baby?
An actual journal study about pork myths (this is serious stuff, folks)