Eat Me, Lancet … These People Are A Perfect Example Of The Anointed

Actually, I know the EAT-Lancet people won’t eat me because I’m made of meat. To stay within the range of what they consider healthy (and sustainable!) meat consumption, they’d have to divide me into something like 7,500 servings. Walter Willett could put my left calf muscle in his freezer and have all the meat he’s allowed to eat in a year.

If you follow diet and health news and haven’t been in a coma for the past few weeks, you know the EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, Health launched their first Big Event on January 17th, complete with a media blitz. Here are some quotes from an Irish news site:

A major report on healthy diets and food systems commissioned by the Lancet Medical Journal has called for a comprehensive shift in how the world eats.

The EAT-Lancet Commission involved a three-year collaboration between 37 scientific experts from 16 countries.

It concluded that our food systems are faulty and a major contributor to climate change, leaving civilisation in crisis.

The recommendations would imply a 90% reduction in red meat and milk consumption in Ireland, a 70% reduction in chicken, as well as substantial reduction in the consumption of potatoes and some other vegetables.

And some quotes from the New York Post:

A hamburger a week, but no more — that’s about as much red meat people should eat to do what’s best for their health and the planet, according to a report seeking to overhaul the world’s diet.

The report was organized by EAT, a Stockholm-based nonprofit seeking to improve the food system, and published Wednesday by the medical journal Lancet. The panel of experts who wrote it says a “Great Food Transformation” is urgently needed by 2050, and that the optimal diet they outline is flexible enough to accommodate food cultures around the world.

So who are these people? I first wrote about them in this post and described them as a bunch of social-justice warriors, which they are. But there’s quite a bit more behind the curtain, as reported in the Mirror:

The globe-trotting billionaire behind a campaign to save the planet by drastically reducing meat consumption is accused of blatant hypocrisy.

Gunhild Stordalen, a Norwegian who owns a £20million private jet with her husband, regularly flies to exotic destinations around the world.

Air travel pollution is a major contributor to global warming. Critics claim the pair are doing exactly what she is fighting against.

Model-turned-doctor Gunhild, 40, bankrolled the EAT-Lancet study … The green campaigner and vegetarian, founded the EAT Foundation in 2013. It set up the three-year EAT-Lancet commission recruiting 37 experts from 16 countries.

In recent months she has posted photos of herself sunbathing in Mexico, relaxing in Greece, hugging a tree in Costa Rica, meditating with husband Petter in Antibes, living it up in Cuba and posing by a pool in St Tropez.

She was also photographed in front of a backdrop of New York skyscrapers in a post lecturing people to cut meat from their diets.

So we have a billionaire zipping around the world in a fuel-guzzling private jet and lecturing the rest of us about drastically reducing our meat consumption to save the planet. Yup, that figures. Since she bankrolled the EAT-Lancet people, you can bet your bottom dollar they agree with her views. In fact, if you read the EAT-Lancet paper, you’ll see these people are a perfect example of The Anointed – even better than Dr. David Katz, which takes some effort.

To prove the point, I’ll lift some quotes about The Anointed (in bold) from my Diet, Health and the Wisdom of Crowds speech, then mix in quotes from the EAT-Lancet people and my comments.

The Anointed identify a problem. This is now THE BAD. To fix the problem, The Anointed propose a Grand Plan – preferably something bold and new and exciting.

Plenty of The Anointed have proposed Grand Plans over the years. We’ve had Grand Plans to end poverty, improve education, reduce rates of heart disease, get rid of illegal drugs, make health care affordable for all, etc., etc. But Grand Plans don’t get much Grander than the EAT-Lancet group’s Grand Plan, because by gosh, their plan is going to SAVE THE ENTIRE PLANET!  Just ask them:

Global food production threatens climate stability and ecosystem resilience and constitutes the single largest driver of environmental degradation and transgression of planetary boundaries. Taken together the outcome is dire. A radical transformation of the global food system is urgently needed.

The Commission highlights the need for a Great Food Transformation—ie, a substantial change in the structure and function of the global food system so that it operates with different core processes and feedback.

If you’re highly resistant to being bored to death, go find a copy of the full report (which I downloaded) and read it. These people have produced a detailed Grand Plan, complete with marching orders for nearly everyone and everything involved in food production. Here’s just a taste:

Our vision, with scientific targets for healthy diets and sustainable food production, integrates food, health, and environmental policy into many policy areas, including trade, economics, rural livelihoods, equity, culture, society, and community. This inclusion is a strength, not a diffusion of effort. For the food system to change and for healthy diets to be available to all requires not only food production or consumption to change, but also active involvement of sectors in the middle of the food chain, such as food processing, storage, logistics, retail, and food service. These sectors need to be engaged in the transformation, not least because these intermediary sectors have economic power and cultural influence in food systems.

And another taste – try to stay awake:

By assessing the existing scientific evidence, the Commission developed global scientific targets for healthy diets and sustainable food production and integrated these universal scientific targets into a common framework, the safe operating space for food systems, so that planetary health diets ( both healthy and environmentally sustainable) could be identified. This safe operating space is defined by sci-entific targets for intakes of specific food groups (e.g. 100 to 300 g/day of fruit) to optimize human health and scientific targets for sustainable food production to ensure a stable Earth system

Hey, WAKE UP!! You awake now? Okay, good.

To fully grasp the depth of the commission’s arrogance, it helps to have an interest in economics. There’s a famous essay titled I, Pencil that explains, simply and beautifully, why central planning doesn’t work. It doesn’t work because nobody knows how to make a pencil.

What? Of course we do!

No, not really. No single person knows, anyway. To make pencil, you have to know how to find and cut down the right trees for the wood. To cut down the trees, you need equipment, like chainsaws, which means you have to know how to make a chainsaw. To make the chainsaw, you need steel, which means you need to know how to find iron ore, mine the iron ore (which requires a whole ‘nuther set of equipment) and smelt it into steel. You need to know how to build the machines that stamp the steel parts of the chainsaw.  You have to know how to deliver the chainsaws to where they’re needed.  Once the trees are finally cut down, you have to know how to deliver them to a mill, build the equipment to cut and shape the wood, etc., etc.

That’s just a small fraction of what’s involved in acquiring the wood. Now toss in the same complexities for acquiring and shaping the graphite, the brass ring, the paint, and the rubber for the eraser. What you end up with is a countless number of people, skills, materials, equipment and locations involved – just to produce a lowly little pencil. No group of human beings, no matter how intelligent, could sit down and successfully plan and coordinate everything involved. That’s why central economic planning has failed miserably everywhere it’s been tried.

And yet the EAT-Lancet people believe they’ve figured out everything there is to know about producing and distributing food. They believe they’ve constructed a plan to feed the world and save the planet in the process. And they actually believe their plan would work … because:

The Anointed simply assume that because their intentions are good, the plan must be good.

This Commission does not underestimate the importance of its message or the urgency of the task it sets.

Gee, that’s very humble of you not to underestimate the importance of your own message.

We outline five specific and implementable strategies, which are supported by a strong evidence base.

So obviously, the Grand Plan will work … because you said it will work. Case closed.

And because The Bad is so very, very bad, we MUST ACT NOW, before it becomes even worse.

A global transformation of the food system is urgently needed … Data are sufficient and strong enough to warrant action, and delay will increase the likelihood of serious, even disastrous, consequences.

The Commission proposes boundaries that global food production should stay within to decrease the risk of irreversible and potentially catastrophic shifts in the Earth system.

Yup, if we don’t adopt the diet the EAT-Lancet committee recommends, we’re all doomed. And what does that diet look like? I’m sure you’ve seen descriptions in various media outlets, but I believe this graphic from their paper pretty much says it all:

Got that? To be healthy and save the planet, you need to limit yourself to 15 calories of beef or pork per day. Just over 60 calories per day of chicken. Eggs? Forget it … you get 19 calories per day. One egg is about 80 calories, so enjoy that one-fourth of an egg for breakfast tomorrow. But be sure load up on those healthy, healthy, healthy grains!

Are these dietary recommendations actually based on solid science? Of course not. Here’s a quote from the New York Post article:

John Ioannidis, chair of disease prevention at Stanford University, said he welcomed the growing attention to how diets affect the environment, but that the report’s recommendations do not reflect the level of scientific uncertainties around nutrition and health.

That’s putting it mildly. Go ahead and read the (ahem) “science” in the full paper if you choose to torture yourself, but it’s the same old Willett nonsense, cherry-picking a few meaningless observational studies and pretending he’s engaging in actual science.

Interestingly, the Grand Plan often requires spending more of other people’s money, or restricting more of other people’s freedoms, or both.

I believe this section of the EAT-Lancet paper this says it all:

Environmental and societal health costs of food supply and consumption should be fully reflected in pricing by introducing taxes. As a result, food prices might increase. Therefore, where appropriate, social protection or safety nets (eg, increasing income through cash transfers) can be established to protect vulnerable populations, particularly children and women, while keeping trade open.

Domestic spending will need to increase for policy instruments supporting healthy diets from sustainable food systems.

Local authorities need powers to apply zoning regulations in low-income areas to restrict unhealthy food outlets.

Yup.  They want to tax you on the food, then tax you again to subsidize people who can no longer afford the food because of the taxes.

The Anointed will, if they can, impose the Grand Plan on other people – for their own good, of course.

If you have a tendency to bang your head on your desk, you might want to don a helmet before reading this:

The full range of policy levers is likely to be needed. Faced with challenges, policy makers might initially implement soft policy interventions, such as consumer advice, information, education, or, in the case of food, labelling. These interventions assume that consumer actions will generate sufficient change and are slow in effect unless mass public interest in change exists. However, the scale of change to the food system is unlikely to be successful if left to the individual or the whim of consumer choice.

We won’t succeed if consumers are allowed to make their own choices, so we’ll need the full range of policy levers. That’s the polite (sort of) way of saying We need to force this on people for their own good.

By contrast, hard policy interventions include laws, fiscal measures, subsidies and penalties, trade reconfiguration, and other economic and structural measures. These interventions alter conditions in which the whole population exists. The type of interventions adopted is the prerogative of governments, people, and processes. However, countries and authorities should not restrict themselves to narrow measures or soft interventions. Too often policy remains at the soft end of the policy ladder.

Let me interpret that: too often, authorities don’t actually force people to make the choices we want them to make. So get out there and do some forcing!

You get the idea. A total of 37 “experts,” funded by a vegetarian billionaire who enjoys globe-trotting on her private jet, have decided they know how we should eat, and they know how food should be grown, distributed, taxed, subsidized and advertised. And if we don’t listen, they want governments to stop pussy-footing around with “soft” policy interventions and go in hard – to save the planet, of course.

You’d best be prepared to hold onto your steak with one hand and fight these people with the other.

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52 thoughts on “Eat Me, Lancet … These People Are A Perfect Example Of The Anointed

  1. Stuart

    Actually it’s her husband who’s the billionaire, she’s just the trophy wife. He’s a property speculator whose fawning Wikipedia entry reads like it was written by his PR flack (and probably was). Anyway, it tells me:

    “Petter Stordalen is married to Gunhild Anker Stordalen.[67] On New Year’s Eve 2008 Petter Stordalen proposed on top of Aspen Mountain. The NOK 35 million (approx. USD 5 million) wedding was held in Morocco on 12 June 2010, making it Scandinavia’s most expensive wedding, outspending the Crown Princess of Sweden.[68] The lavish treatment of the guests included chartering an airplane[69] and renting all the rooms of La Mamounia, one of the world’s finest luxury hotels. The ceremony was officiated by Bob Geldof[70] in front of 240 of Norway’s most prominent celebrities,[71] from finance and the arts.”

    Imagine limiting themselves to only flying 240 guests to Morocco. See, this couple’s concern for the environment knows no bounds!

    I also note she has been diagnosed with systemic sclerosis, which sounds nasty. How could that happen on her healthy vegan diet?

    1. Lori Miller

      A quick Google search shows info that it’s an autoimmune condition and a study showing SS patients having more gluten sensitivity than the general population. And autoimmune diseases seem to be triggered by wheat. So her vegan diet isn’t doing her any good.

  2. Raymonde Jeanne Ricot

    “The Anointed simply assume that because their intentions are good…, etc.”

    I don’t think their intentions are good.
    I can’t help remembering again and again that in centuries past, even milleniums past, grains were for “the poor” and meat was for those who could afford it, i.e. “the rich” or those who owned it by birth (royal hunts, etc).

    Nowadays, even if a few stupid rich people decide to become vegeterian or vegan, generally “the Anointed” still love their meat in nice over-priced restaurants and hope that we, the unwashed masses wil be content to eat our grains.

    But maybe I’m seeing an evil intention where there is none…

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      It’s similar to celebrities to fly to environmental conferences in private jets then lecture us about reducing our carbon footprint. They’ve convinced themselves they’re special and on a greater mission, so it’s okay.

        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          I’ll give those a look, thanks. Has either of them tried the line about being factually wrong but morally correct?

  3. Robert

    If we resist this, we’ll be labeled “bitter clingers,” as in to our religion, guns, steak, chicken, eggs, etc. That’s why I can’t stand these people. If one wants to be vegetarian/vegan, fine. When they want to force it on other people, that’s when I have a problem. I personally know someone who’s vegan and suffering all kinds of health problems as a result. I want to tell her to eat a steak, burger, or something and see how you feel afterwards. As for me, I’m mostly carnivore. I feel great. The number on the scale is steadily dropping.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      My thoughts exactly. People think I’m hostile towards vegans. I’m not. I’m only hostile towards those who assume the right to tell me what to eat.

      1. Walter

        No telling them they are wrong *is* (passively) hostile.

        I’m hiding my light under a bushel though, may the transcendental forgive me.

    2. Thomas E.

      The problem is, it is very possible, that first steak could cause great abdominal distress. Thus initial feedback will be bad, until their gut can get used to eat meat again.

      I’ve just watched too many YouTube videos, and listened to too many podcasts featuring ex-vegans to ever think being a vegan is a good idea.

  4. JR62

    This reminds me China’s The Great Leap. The final outcome would be the same: Big famine. Luckily we are not in Mao’s China now.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Grand Plan, Great Leap, Great Food Transformation. These people refuse to learn from history. As Thomas Sowell says, The Anointed are often wrong but never in doubt.

  5. Lance

    One can’t help but wonder if her own medical condition, systemic scleroderma, is a result of her “healthy diet”.

  6. Anonymous

    “Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well- warmed, and well-fed.” ― Herman Melville
    Or, as my dad says, “why are rich ppl always telling poor ppl how to live?”

    1. Firebird7478

      Now we have Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, running for President. Did exactly that on 60 Minutes. Telling us what we can and cannot have while tackling the deficit, aka, giving the banks all the money. Jimmy Dore picks him apart quite brilliantly.

  7. Charles-André Fortin

    It’s always annoyed me when people says that meat production is a MAJOR contributor to global warming.

    Cows need carbon to “create” Methane or CO2… That come from there food (grass and grain)… The grass and grain is suppose to get that from the air from photosynthesis… It’s a close system.

    When you add carbon that were trap in the earth (also call gas and chemical fertilizer), then the system is not close anymore because you add carbon.

    I think it’s pretty simple no?

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I think it’s another case of lies lying liars tell because they believe in a Big Truth that makes the lie acceptable.

    2. egocyte

      Intensive animal farming can be a contributor: in France where I live you need to import soy that came by boat from overseas too feed cows in barns, and then give them tap water because they eat dry food. This isn’t the case for extensive farming where cows eat grass in fields, they get their water and carbon from the grass in a closed system (as you said). So when “meat consumption” is mentionned, it depends greatly on how it is produced, and it is rarely mentionned, maybe because a complex message doesn’t fit in a Grand Plan. The big question is: can the whole humanity get enough meat from extensive farming? I don’t have the answer, but I’d be happy if real experts with no agenda for or against meat could answer.

      1. Vicki

        According to several sources, 25% of the agricultural land is France is used to graze livestock, mostly cattle and sheep. Also, 80% of the global soy crop is pressed for cooking oil and biodiesel, with the remaining meal fed to livestock (primarily poultry, hogs and dairy animals) because most people do not find it to be palatable.

        1. egocyte

          Thanks for the figures. I’m no livestock expert, I only wanted to say that importing soy or corn from overseas for intensive farming could be a pollution, contrary to extensive farming. You are right, in France intensive farming is more for pork and poultry. It’s true that cattle and sheep are mostly outdoors, except in winter. We have a lot of pastures in the landscape where I live and in many places in France
          We don’t import much meat, and it mostly comes from surrounding countries (which is not far away considering Europe if fairly small, it’s as far as surrounding States in the US).

      2. Thomas E.

        This must be the 5th time I’ve replied with this URL on this site, so sorry Tom.

        From my engineering mind, what the Savory Institute and others believe, this planet has a lot of grass lands that we are currently destroying by not grazing on it. Certainly, some countries will have to import meat, France maybe one. But I am pretty sure, if we got rid of all the land in North America producing corn and switch grass to produce Ethanol, and turned that land into grazing land, not only would we be better off, so would the waters and land of the US. Again, this refers the massive amount of chemicals and fertilizer that is used on those crops, and how much of these chemicals runoff those fields.

        1. RDF


          Livestock raising does NOT deplete the environment — it never has! In fact, it replenishes it (as every farmer already knows, and has known for millennia). You do not need to leave your fields fallow between livestock grazing; but, if you’re a good land manager, you do indeed need to do so between cereal crops (and guess how they are most quickly and easily restored? That’s right — livestock grazing!).

          Mono-crop agriculture, however, is a very different kettle of fish! And it should be called what it is: environmental rape.

          It really is so simple an equation:- livestock of every kind are a natural product – and producer – of a healthy, diverse, and very abundant, ecosystem; but man-made, ‘strip farming’ mono-crop agriculture absolutely is not — and behind it, ever since we have been using it, have spread the world’s great deserts.

          If we want to save this poor planet from our own thoughtlessness, the first thing we need to do is to return to some equivalent of our natural, abundant, healthy and very enviro-friendly hunter-gatherer lifestyle …. in short, VLC/HF.

          I’m Australian, and I can’t help but admire the wisdom of the Aborigine peoples of my great continent — who quite literally have a quasi-religious injunction against disturbing the soil to plant seed. They were right! And seeing theirs is the world’s oldest surviving hunter-gather culture known, I can’t think of a better – or older! – “wisdom of (a) crowd”.

          Now please excuse me while I go to gather some macadamia, salt-bush & lemon-myrtle to accompany my barramundi & yams……

  8. Lori Miller

    Sorry for asking to be spoonfed information, but my tolerance for boredom is pretty close to zero. Does the report address how these monocrops are supposed to be grown (I assume) without herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers that depend on fossil fuels, or poop from livestock? Does it address how poor people are supposed to do a long, hard day’s work on a nutrient-poor diet? Does it address the fact that plant foods take more preparation than meat and eggs, and that work is going to fall on women and girls? Does it address the health care costs required worldwide for people on such a poor diet? Or is this group a modern-day Jim Jones who wants 10 billion people to drink their Kool-Aid?

      1. Anonymous

        That’s like a direct admission that a vegan diet is elitist and only possible in rich countries where people can afford to buy the vast quantities of plant based foods and the dietary supplements necessary when eating a vegan diet.

  9. Sonja Tyson

    Funny how growing, harvesting, processing, distributing and storing grains requires vastly more centralized oversight than the same with animal products. Try growing enough wheat just for your family!

          1. Walter

            Actually feeding grains and soy to meat animals disposes of mucho grain and soy.

            They are very opposed to the idea of grass fed ruminant, if they bother to think of it at all.

      1. chris c

        Certainly the Foodlike Substance Manufacturing Industry in general, most of which is based on grains, seeds, ingredients and additives. And don’t even think about Vegan Meat. The game is to buy cheap, slap on a “heart healthy” label and sell expensive. Compare the farm gate prices for grains with the price of breakfast cereal.

        Much of my food could walk here on its own, pausing briefly at the slaughterhouse/meat packing plant owned by a local family and the local butchers, veg shops and farm shops, also all locally owned. The money doesn’t actually leave the area. This Must Be Stopped.

        This whole farce reminds me of Catch 22 where Milo Minderbinder had the Americans bomb their own airfield on behalf of the Germans, for profit. Their diet isn’t even nutritionally adequate (Zoe Harcombe among others). Basically it is high carb low fat with a turbocharger.

        I am still undergoing Antiveganuary. Today was a massive rump steak with Brussels sprouts, a couple of thickly buttered oatcakes and a couple of glasses of Carmenere. Yesterday was chicken curry with bacon, mushrooms, multicoloured peppers and chillies, garlic and olives with a bunch of spices. I even had a small portion of rice to soak up all the fatty juices. Still to come, lamb’s liver, ground pork and a brace of pheasants (not all at once) oh and a bloater and some salmon. Since I started eating like this fourteen years ago I am no longer diabetic. most of my symptoms are gone, most of my “health markers” have normalised, except my blood pressure is still high and needs minimal drugs. What’s more I don’t even catch colds let alone all the other minor but chronic infections that used to plague me. I can only wonder what effect this would have on her autoimmune disease. She’ll never know.

  10. Dr Jay Wortman

    Great take-down, Tom, but you overlooked perhaps the finest example of virtue-signalling anointedness, the fact that he had is Ferrari converted to burn E85 so he can save the planet while tooling around Oslo. Seriously! You can’t make this stuff up!

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Goodness. Now why we didn’t we all think to demonstrate such climate consciousness?

  11. Benjamin David Steele

    I noticed you ignore the corporatist angle, which can be found in FReSH as part of EAT-Lancet. This agenda is primarily being backed by some of the most wealthy and powerful transnational corporations in the world. Even the vegan billionaire is more than a mere SJW. Some involved may be SJWs, but I doubt the corporate interests who are using this as a front care one way or another about SJW activism, much less environmentalism. This doesn’t fit into that ideological narrative.

    “ONS is one of the world’s most important meeting places within the oil and energy industry. This year’s program is set to feature some of the world’s oil industry heavy hitters […] Other names worth mentioning include Philip Lambert, CEO of Lambert Energy Advisory; Henrik O. Madsen, CEO of DNV GL; Arne Sigve Nylund, Statoil’s EVP for Development and Production Norway; Gunhild Stordalen of Stordalen Foundation; and Tim Bertels, head of CCS, Shell.”

  12. Michael Lanier

    Screw the planet give me a rib-eye with a side of bacon 8 or 10 pieces. Lets subsidize grass fed farms pastured poultry and pork. Wild caught fisheries instead of industries that make a box of little Debbie’s $1.99 a box.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Better yet, let’s not uses taxes or subsidies to try to direct other people’s behaviors at all.

  13. Brian Williams

    This is Ancel Keys and McGovern all over again with the same result. The McGovern recommendations were written by a vegan staffer, remember. The good news is that world controls tend to go through the UN which is heavily muslim-dominated now. Bearing in mind the festival of Eid, I think they will give up red meat when it is pried from their cold dead hands.

  14. Walter

    “Eat vegetables — but less starch” but unlimited whole wheat” I suspect the wheat industry is subsidizing them.

    Limit on potatoes but not on whole wheat bread, too. Crazier than the advice doctors give type II diabetics.

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