Whereas a wholesome plant-based diet of whole grains, vegetables and fresh fruit reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer diabetes and other chronic and infectious diseases that cripple and kill nearly 1.5 million Americans annually; and ...

Whereas such a diet helps preserve topsoil, water, energy, and other production resources that are essential to human survival, and

Whereas such a diet helps preserve our forests, grasslands and other wildlife habitats, and reduces pollution of our waterways by soil particles, debris, manure and pesticides, and ...

Whereas for the past 15 years many dedicated Great American Meatout volunteers have encouraged neighbors to explore such a diet;

Now, therefore I, Vera Katz, Mayor of the City of Portland, Oregon, the City of Roses, do hereby proclaim March 20, 2001, to be Great American Meatout Day in Portland, and encourage citizens to explore a wholesome diet of whole grains, vegetables and fresh fruits.

Well, baloney.

If you havent heard by now, your burger Tuesday night was in direct violation of a lifestyle order from the folks behind the Great American Meatout Day.

Unlike the Great American Smokeout, which encourages Americans to give up their cigarettes, the Meatout offers advice contrary to scientific and evolutionary evidence.

Certainly, the over-consumption of foods high in saturated fat can lead to a whole host of health problems. That is why doctors and government health officials encourage a balanced diet rich in grains, fruits, vegetables and lean meat.

But our ancestors didnt roam the countryside scavenging and later hunting tofu. The evolution of the human brain is convincingly linked to a diet rich in animal protein.

And maybe a protein-poor diet is to explain for the other puzzling aspect of Katzs proclamation.

You see, Tuesday was also Agriculture Day in Portland.

That proclamation encouraged a diet of all food groups, including meat, to help consumers live healthier, longer lives, The Oregonian reported.

Well now, isnt that special.

Mayor Katz should be promoting U.S. beef, which is the safest in the world, John Hays, president of the Oregon Cattlemens Association, said in a press release.

Well, she was. Sort of.

Rep. Greg Smith, R-Heppner, went a step farther.

I deeply resent Mayor Katz for portraying a false image that beef is harmful to consumers and the environment, he said.

Still, Smith managed to commemorate the day.

He said in a press release that he planned to have a pot roast Tuesday evening politically correct on Agriculture Day, but a political statement on Meatout Day.

Either way, Smith dined in honor of Mayor Katz.