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Itís the Pitts: Pass the beer, not the veggies
Itís the Pitts
By Lee Pitts

If you have ever gone to bed without dessert for not eating your vegetables or tried to hide your lima beans under a napkin you are going to want to hear what I have to report.

Remember when you were a little tyke and your mother would tell you to eat your vegetables because they were good for you? Back then your only options were to risk a spanking or try to feed them to the dog who usually showed his good sense and refused to eat them too. Well, now you finally have a good comeback.

Men and boys, next time your wife or your mother tells you to eat your vegetables just ask her, ďWhat are you trying to do, kill me?Ē

Vegetables may have been good for you way back when we were kids but after we increased our consumption from 287 pounds of fruits and vegetables per year in 1990 to 332 pounds currently, we find out now that mother should not have force fed us all those veggies.

Consider this, illnesses traced to fresh produce and vegetables are now responsible for more large-scale outbreaks of food borne illnesses than meat, poultry and eggs. Produce now accounts for 12 percent of food borne illnesses and 6 percent of the outbreaks. That compares to only 1 percent of illnesses and seven-tenths of 1 percent of the outbreaks in 1970. So you vegetarians out there can stop acting so smug.

And no, this information was not brought to you by the Beef Board or preschoolers, but by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which just happens to be the same people that used to tell everyone not to eat beef. (They also report that meat related E. coli infections are on the decline.)

The scientists say that illnesses from eating fruits and veggies are rising due to increased centralization of produce distribution, the rise of imports and the growing popularity of pre-chopped fruits and vegetables. To this list, I would add one of my own reasons from personal observation: people sneezing into the salad bar.

The news is not quite as good as it sounds because the main culprits are tomatoes, melons, lettuce and green onions, all foods which I actually love to eat. I was hoping the guilty parties would be Brussels sprouts, spinach and lima beans but no such luck. But I do have even better news. Guess whatís now good for you?

Beer. Thatís right, the Breakfast of Champions. At least thatís according to Anheuser-Busch who may not exactly be a disinterested party. Still, this is the news that beer guzzlers have been waiting for. According to Meir Stampfer, chair of the Epidemiology Department at the Harvard School of Public Health, moderate drinkers are 60 percent less likely to have cardiovascular disease than nondrinkers. And this is from Harvard not the Miller High Life School of Better Brewing.

I ask you, could the news be any better? To be healthier all we have to do is eat less asparagus and drink more Coors Light. Next thing you know Bud will be found in the health section at the grocery store.

Donít spend your salary on celery, buy a 12 pack instead. No water for me, waiter, bring me the healthy stuff. Iíll have a Corona without the lime.

I was excited about this news until Bob Lachky of Anheuser-Busch said, ďThereís sound science that there are some aspects of beer that are as good as wine and even better than white wine.Ē Itís been my experience that any time you hear the words ďsound scienceĒ you should cover your ears and hide your wallet.

Thereís also research in the hopper, so to speak, to find an ingredient in hops that could prevent cancer. Wouldnít that be great? And if a little is good for you more has to be better. Right? Then you could die of sclerosis of the liver instead of cancer.

This farm news was published in the March 1, 2006 issue of Farm World.