Definition of slop: A food waste or gruel for animal feed.

Definition of sty: A pen or housing for pigs.

When I was a youngster, I would often visit my grandparents in Virginia. Outside of their kitchen was a slop can, where discarded food waste was stored. After the can was full, I would accompany one of my 13 cousins to the pigsty, where we would feed the pigs until they became large enough to be slaughtered. Those pigs had no chance as to their destiny. They would just lie in the cool mud that protected them from the sun and lounge around all day.
After the pigs became an appropriate size, they would be slaughtered and the family would enjoy all parts of the animal, including the ears, feet, smoked ham hocks and finally chitterlings (pig intestines). Even though the pigs ate slop, unlike humans they never developed hypertension or diabetes, as far as I know.
When I was working on my master’s degree in public health at the University of Michigan, my wife, who was my great supporter, refused a job in a pig-slaughtering house (even though she was promised all the ham and bacon she wanted) after she heard the screams of the pigs being slaughtered. Little did I know that when I became a doctor, I would hear the screams of many people before they died of diseases such as obesity, hypertension and diabetes as a result of from those tasty morsels from the processed pig organs.
The difference between people and pigs is that we are capable of making healthier choices of what we eat. With the change to a healthy diet and lifestyle, including less consumption of alcohol and eliminating smoking, we humans could easily be capable of living to 100 years with fewer disabling diseases. I would suggest that we also add more fruits and vegetables to our daily diets and put less meat on the plate.
My advice to all of you who are reading this column is to STOP EATING THE SLOP! I would also suggest that you listen to Gary Null, featured on the radio station WBAI 99.5 FM New York, who gives health information on a daily basis. He has written many books and can be found on the Internet.
I hope that this column gives you food for thought and will lead to a longer and healthier life.

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