Baby Boomers, red meats & an obsession with weight

Baby Boomers, red meats & an obsession with weight

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Baby Boomers, red meats and an obsession with weight

June 16, 2016 Column

By Ray Hanania

RayHananiaColumnPodcast_Many social patterns arose during the high points of the Baby Boomer generation.

They include a lot of things, like:

“Seizing the day,” Carpe Diem, which basically means one of two things to Baby Boomers: not saving until you are in the final turn towards retirement, or using your success to fleece the public to pack your retirement benefits beyond justification, something many state educators and government union bosses have done.

Embracing drugs including marijuana, while turning to alcohol obsession as a legal alternative.

Eating like there was no tomorrow. Our generation helped build the extremely unhealthy fast food industry. Baby Boomers financed the rise of the barbecue, which wasn’t used to cook healthy foods but to eat bad foods like red meats, processed garbage like hot dogs and baloney and red meat mixed with “meat slime” and “glue,” yes Glue!

Our generation fueled the rise of health clubs, places more about socializing than weight lose or health for most people. Some people more easily benefit from exercise and six-packs come naturally. But for the majority, exercise is not the answer to manage weight problems. It definitely is helpful, though.

Prime Rib, Red meat dinner

Prime Rib, Red meat, bad for our diets

We love fast food even though they are high in calories (often with one burger giving us twice and three times the recommended daily calories, consisting of a majority of saturated and trans (unhealthy) fats, and they are anemic of needed vitamins.

Let’s not get into the actual content of the “meat,” what it’s really made of and the chemicals used in producing a “tastier looking” product.

One thing about Baby boomers and most Americans, we’ve become obese. Obesity has become PC, we try to avoid it head-on. Weight gain is a real threat to health and long life.

After going to college and leaving my family’s home (and my mom’s healthy homemade meals), I consumed garbage fast food all the time. “Red meat” like rib-roasts and Top Sirloins on the barbecue gave us a fake sense of health because it off-set the deterioration of the “family.”

Then, when I hit my mid-40s, my weight started to pile on as my body slowed its ability to process out the garbage and the chemical poisons the meat industry uses to make meat scrapings look appealing. Imagine that they actually take left-over meats – the trashy segments – and “glue” them together to make it look like a choice meat cut. They have a name for it. Transgultiminase, an animal blood enzyme that bonds protein together. Any kind of protein including the “throwaways.”

So for the past 15 years, I’ve done what all Baby Boomers have tried to do. Waste money on the lose-weight industry. I’ve done everything, from the Adkins Diet which did help me lose up to 50 pounds many years ago, although it was only temporary. The weight came back very quickly as my liver ached and I had to turn back to vegetables and other carbs, good and bad.

It actually made me gain more weight each time in the long run.

But a few months ago, I decided to do something that has worked now. I’ve lost 22 pounds and the pounds are slowly coming off, 1 pound every week or 10 days.

I stopped eating red meat. And you want to know something. I feel better. The morning exercise at Charter Fitness on the treadmill has finally had a positive impact, after four years of serious health club membership.

My weight has dropped from an obese 240 pounds to 219 pounds. And I know that I will get down to 190 by this Fall.

I eat fish (preferably Cod — I remember my mom giving me teaspoons of Cod Liver Oil every morning. Now, I eat lots of vegetables like asparagus and broccoli. This non-red meat diet allows me to still eat some junk foods, even extra-thin crust pizza that would torpedo other diets. The worse a food is for your health, the better it tastes. We can’t avoid it completely.

But if Baby Boomers want to lose weight, stop eating red meat. Completely. It’s the ugly truth that’s hard to admit.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and columnist. Email him at

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at, and at, and at He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper,, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.

The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.

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Ray Hanania