I read a couple of posts the other day that placed vegetarians in the victim role when it comes to their acceptance and it drove me up a wall. Now, possibly I am at fault from time to time for lumping all vegetarians into the same camp but hey, if the s#!t fits, wear it. What had me fired up was the manner in which it was stated that vegetarians are often verbally derided for their choice in diet and each author gave a semi-credible list of possible reasons. The problem, in both cases, is that they left out the most glaring reason why vegetarians and vegans are so often given the cold shoulder: They keep attacking those who eat meat by suggesting an end to its consumption or worse, by attempting to shape legislation that would make its consumption more costly or difficult for the 95% of the population that does eat meat. In short, I could give a crap if you’re a vegetarian or vegan until you try to piss in my swimming pool. Then we have a problem. If you want to be left alone, shut the hell up and eat your beans and sprouts and leave everyone else alone – and if you’re not one of those, pass the word on to those you know who most certainly are of that ilk.
I decided to come up with my own list of the reasons for my lack of acceptance of the vegetarian’s insistence that their idea of a diet is better than a standard omnivore diet when it is most definitely not:
*While you insist that you can get by on a vegetarian, or worse a vegan diet you’re over there sucking down whey protein shakes like they’re going out of style so you can get enough protein because you’ve finally figured out that beans and legumes just ain’t gettin’ it. Fortunately, as an omnivore I don’t need that processed crap. Gimme a steak and I’m good.
*Iron: It isn’t just for pumping. Even on a fish and chicken diet you don’t get enough iron. An older buddy of mine’s wife tried him on the precursor to the vegetarian diet, the fish and chicken diet… Within two years his kidneys were shutting down from a lack of iron. A few steaks later and he’s healthy as an ox again. Uh, no thanks. My diet ensures I don’t have to be a meticulous weenie to follow it. While this example is purely observational, there are a wealth of studies that show vegetarian diets, without supplements, are lacking in even a minimum of the iron a body needs to function.
*Vegan and vegetarian diets are exceptionally unhealthy in the long-term unless you’re a nutritionist – and even then it’s 50/50 at best.
*No matter how dearly vegetarians cling to the notion that mankind wasn’t meant to eat meat, no matter how harshly one might attempt to defend that position, no matter how conclusive one might believe the “evidence” is, you are and forever will be wrong. So when you cart out your list of misinformed talking points and people roll their eyes to the sky and say, “hmmm…” or “I never looked at it like that”, they’re not agreeing with you. What that means is, “Oh dear Lord, not another one…maybe if I just don’t say anything they’ll shut up and go talk to someone else.”
*There is no credible scientific evidence that a vegan or vegetarian diet is better than any other diet.
*And finally, there is no credible scientific evidence that eating a balanced diet that includes meat – even red meat – is bad… On the other hand, there’s plenty of evidence that vegan and vegetarian diets are bad, especially for children and those who don’t meticulously track minerals and vitamins commonly deficient in a vegetarian diet.
What is happening here is one segment of vegetarians are complaining about being attacked by “society” (there “society” goes again) but they’re only being attacked because another segment of their “society” keeps attacking “society” at large. I know, it’s enough to make your head spin. Simply put, if you think anyone else on this planet should stop eating meat and do anything to stop them doing so, you’re a self-centered jerk. Cut it out and we’ll leave you alone too. Deal? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
Pass me the bacon.
Last year I wrote a post complaining about chip-seal roads. The road commission had just done about 25% of the roads on my favorite routes and I was quite a bit less than pleased. After two to four weeks of constant road traffic newly chip-sealed roads are fit for cycling traffic again… Before that, they’re dangerous so I had to come up with new daily routes for a month.
In response to that post, I had a couple of people ask what chip-seal is, well here you go…
In words, chip-seal is a new 1/2″-1″ topping of fresh asphalt which is left to cure for a few weeks. During that time, roads are awesome for cyclists – imagine a once bumpy road that is now just shy of glass smooth. Life is good – and fast.
After the setup period, the crew comes back and sprays a thin coat of tar over the road followed by a thin coat of gravel. As cars travel over the gravel (rock “chips”) it becomes embedded in the tar and creates a hard, mildly lumpy road surface. Chip-seal, at least for the first year, is a speed sucker for a cyclist.
Over the space of a year the surface becomes smoother and more reasonable for cycling, though the surface is really rough on tire longevity. The rough stretch, the 2-4 weeks it takes for traffic to trample down the chips, is where we cyclists run into trouble. In a perfectly dry setting, flats are common. Throw in a little rain and the smaller chips stick to tires and become embedded in the rubber and you almost can’t avoid a flat. Needless to say, we avoid the newly chip-sealed roads like the plague.
This year, the crew is at it again so while out on an easy day I stopped and took a few photos of a brand new “chipped” surface – thankfully this section only butts up to my normal 16 and 20 mile routes:
Now, I think you can see why new chip-seal sucks. If you’re not sold yet, imagine the dust kicked up by a car on a newly chipped road. It’s nasty. On the other hand, after the chips are smoothed out a bit and after they’re swept (think rotating broom, one lane wide, on the front of a dump truck), they turn into this:
I’d say 75% of the roads I ride on are chip-sealed surfaces and they normally wait until August to start spreading their joy but (thankfully) they went early this year. All of the surfaces are done (I hope) before the big centuries get rolling.
That’s chip-seal folks.