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Complaints about Michigan Meatless Day much ado about nothing

From A to Zowie

Complaints about Michigan Meatless Day much ado about nothing

By Richard Zowie

Many meat eaters in Michigan, no doubt, were incensed that Governor Jennifer Granholm supporter declared March 20 “Michigan Meatout Day.”

I’m no vegetarian, either, but don’t count me among those who wanted Granholm to rescind her proclamation.

Am I a diehard Granholm supporter? Hardly. I didn’t vote for her in 2006, and I haven’t been “blown away” by her policies. I see her administration as one large mess the next governor will have to try to clean up. And don’t get me started on how the “personally pro-life” Granholm sells out and supports abortion.

For those not aware, Granholm issued two proclamations for March 20. Besides a meatout day where the governor encouraged Michiganders to observe the day by not eating meat, she also declared it Michigan Agriculture Day to encourage Michiganders to consume Michigan-grown fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

I wonder how many people know that Granholm’s proclamations were suggestions and not a new law ordering people to skip eating meat on March 20.

Detroit Free Press reporter Dawson Bell reported that Detroit-based Totally Vegetarian director Jerry Schneble wrote to Granholm requesting her to issue a meatout proclamation. This letter, no doubt, angered cattlemen and hunter groups who probably thought the no-meat proclamation would endanger their livelihood. Gary Voogt, who until February served as President of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, was as upset with the governor as a bull would be when a proverbial red flag is waved in front of it. Voogt and others wanted the governor to retract the meatless day.

Voogt instead proposed this meaty menu for March 20.

For breakfast: Michigan bacon, Michigan eggs fried in Michigan butter and bacon grease, a side of fried Michigan potatoes, Michigan yogurt with Michigan blueberries and Michigan apple juice.

For lunch: hearty Michigan beef stew or chili.

For an afternoon snack: a Michigan apple.

For dinner: a celebratory night out at a great Michigan Steakhouse—order the 18oz. bone-in-ribeye.

I find Voogt’s meat-dominant choices to be very unbalanced. Fruits and vegetables are almost afterthoughts on this menu. One veggie serving—potatoes—are fried. Not to mention the artery-clogging bacon grease, although it depends on if it’s used moderately or in heaping amounts. Granted, exercise helps to burn calories, but shouldn’t items like meat, butter and bacon grease be consumed in moderation rather than on a regular, dominant basis? Even athletic people can get clogged arteries if they go overboard too often with fatty foods.

That being said, this brouhaha over Granholm’s no-meat proclamation was much ado over nothing. While I am neither a vegetarian nor a vegan (whereas a vegetarian doesn’t eat meat, a vegan doesn’t eat any animal products—not even eggs, cheese, milk or even honey), I’m a firm believer that going a day or even a meal without eating meat never hurt anyone. Rice and beans can be great, as can the additional fruit, vegetables or whole-grain products.

Almost all the people I spoke to this week for “The Herald Asks” didn’t plan on going meatless, and, frankly, neither did I. (I actually ate no meat that day until supper, when my wife Jennifer made a very delicious hominy taco chili). But to me, going meatless every so often is an eye-opener to the wonderful world of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and other forms of plant-based protein.

Richard Zowie’s a reporter and columnist for the Genesee County (Michigan) Herald. Though not a vegetarian, he tries to avoid sausage and finds both hot dogs and the Scottish national dish haggis to be gross. Visit his blog at http://www.fromatozowie.wordpress.com or e-mail him at richardzowie@gmail.com.

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