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Episode Fourteen–Broken Bodies and the World’s Best Diets

Climate Stew
Climate Stew
Episode Fourteen--Broken Bodies and the World's Best Diets

Episode 14 of Climate Stew has an Italian-American edge to it. Tony Buffusio, from the Bronx, takes over the news today and reveals three diets that are guaranteed to help you lose, make you healthier, and even clean up the air. Peterson reflects on his own Italian-American upbringing and reveals a time when he and his sisters got into big trouble in the backseat of the family car. Timothy Meadows actually references 2014 for a change as he reports from the year 2164 about a magical zero waste grocery store. Climate Stew is available on  iTunes,  StitcherSoundCloud, or Listen here  on our site. Every time you leave a comment, an angel’s wings gets recycled.

Show Links

Original Unverpackt – Der neue Supermarkt from VideoRocket on Vimeo.

Music Credits



Intro: Hello and welcome to another episode of Climate Stew, the show that believes there is something funny about pollution, cough. Today we will look at a winning formula that will add 10 years to your life AND even clean the air, all from the convenience of your kitchen. I will also share a childhood story that may seem totally random but I think it fits. And Timothy Meadows rounds things up with another installment of That Day in Climate History. Let’s start with the news presented by Tony Buffusio from the Bronx. Take it away Tony,

News: I don’t know about you but I like to eat. In the Buffusio household eating is an Xtreme Sport, still I don’t want to be a jerk about it. Our climate news story today is about eating healthy, wait don’t walk away, I said healthy not crappy. Researchers have been looking at three different diets to consider their health benefits and how much less they pollute than other diets. I’m thrilled to announce that the Buffusio family diet is one of three (and the best one of them all.)

David Tilman, professor of ecology at the University of Minnesota, and Michael Clark, a graduate student at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, University of California Santa Barbara analyzed over 500 existing studies that consider  food production and greenhouse gases as well as the health risks and benefits of various diets. According to EcoWatch, by following any one of the three recommended diets, and I quote,

  • Greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced.
  • There would be less pressure to clear forests and savannah for farmland, so biodiversity would be conserved.
  • and There would be lower rates of disease linked with obesity and cardiovascular hazard

Yeah, people are getting richer globally and eating more meat, dairy, and sugar–the American diet. As a result, for instance, in China diabetes rose from just 1% in 1980 to 10% in 2008. Stupid cancer, I hate cancer, and heart disease are also directly connected to diet. Eat a lot of meat, dairy, and sugar, and it will mess you up, just ask my Uncle Vinny whose got the diabetes and his heart problems from the crap he’s been eating all these years, like eight meals a day. Jeez, Uncle Vinny, what are you, a hobbit or something? But two years ago Uncle Vinny changed his diet, lost like 50 pounds, looks great, and turned thing around. He just ran the NY Marathon.

Three diets will clean up the air, help lose weight, and potentially add 10 years to your life. I swear Uncle Vinny looks 15 years younger which worries Aunt Frances. FYI I hate two of these diets.  So what are they?  First Vegetarian (yuck–what am I a rabbit?). Second A Fish-based Diet (uh, disgusting, Tuna smoothies for breakfast? Oh, not to mention the problems with overfishing and pollution in the ocean.) And finally the Third Diet–the best diet in the world–the Traditional Mediterranean Diet or what we eat at my house. Grains, legumes, meat in moderation, some fish, lots of wine and olive oil, fresh fruits, vegetables done like my mother makes them. Oh her white beans and Swiss chard with garlic and olive olive and pasta. Damn I’m hungry.


Sure eat meat, but slow down already. I’ll end with a Quiz: How much more Greenhouse Gases do you think you need to produce beef and lamb compared to beans and lentils? 10 times more? 40 times more? Nope 250 times more greenhouse gases get polluted growing these meats. Give yourself and mother earth a break, eat like a Buffisio. Back to you Peterson.

Main: This Body is Broken By You

Thanks. Like Tony I too grew up in an Italian-American household—Every Sunday after Catholic Mass we had a big dinner with lots of noise coming from the adults as my sisters, cousins, and I sat at the kid’s table. I’ve been thinking about a moment in my childhood when my sisters and I, in the backseat of the family car, got in big trouble for playing an adult game. (MUSIC)

Peterson as a child

Peterson as a child

I was maybe 10 years old, my sister Dina was 12, and Maria would have been about 7. We were returning from a day trip to New York City. My dad, Pete Toscano drove, and my mom, Anita Toscano, sat in the passenger seat smoking Lucky Strike cigarettes and reading. She was a constant reader, everything from trashy romance novels to literary non-fiction. When she read the book formed a force-field around her that virtually nothing could penetrate. And we three kids in the backseat played. (pause)

We used a pack of Necco Waffers, these were disc-like chalky candies in weird flavors like licorice and clove. They came in a round pack about the size of a roll of quarters.  In our game one person was the giver and the other the receiver. The giver took a single Necco wafer, turned to the receiver and said, “The Body of Christ, broken for you.” Then with the wafer on the tip of the tongue, the receiver responded–“Amen.” The Body of Christ Broken for You. Amen. (pause)

Planet of the Apes Action Figures

Planet of the Apes Action Figures

What an odd expression–The Body of Christ broken for you. I mean when a body is broken that’s not typically a good thing, not something to celebrate. Like when I was a kid and Dr. Cornelius, my favorite Planet of the Ape Action Figure broke in my hands while I was playing at my grandmother’s house. I gasped as Dr. Cornelius’ head fell off and rolled under the couch, his limbs dangled by rubber bands, and I was left holding his disconnected torso. I was inconsolable. On the phone my mother tried to comfort me, “We’ll get you another one.” I’m sure she did, but not all broken bodies get replacement parts or a reboot. (FADE)

Often a broken body represents pain, tragedy–like the brokenness that comes from an accident, illness, or abuse. The body may heal up, but is left with scars, or a disability can last a lifetime. Sometimes a broken body leads to death. Some could say that we are right now living on top of the largest broken body of them all–our planet. (Start music)  After years of exploitation, abuse, and relentless polluting, our earth is weakened, changing, and failing right before our eyes. I don’t know about you, but I feel grief.

But let’s return to the backseat of that Ford station wagon, that time capsule of my childhood memory. Playing our little game, my sisters and I went through pack after pack of Necco Wafers–The Body of Christ broken for you–Amen. The Body of Christ Body for you. Over and over until we got so obnoxious that we pierced the smoky protective seal that formed around my mother as she enjoyed her book. She snuffed out her cigarette, threw the paperback to the floor of the car, spun around to face the backseat and barked, “Knock it off already for Christ’s sake!” But we couldn’t. We were addicted to our little game, like we can get addicted to so many of the games we play in life. So as it grew darker outside, we huddled in the backseat whispering to each other. The Body of Christ Broken for you–Amen.

That Day in Climate History

I am Timothy Meadows, it is Saturday December 22nd, 2164 and Time for that Day in Climate History. 150 years ago in the early 21st Century, the food our ancestors bought from stores came in elaborate packaging made from wood-based paper protects and petroleum-based plastic products. In the year 2006 the average American disposed of 86 grams or 4.6 pounds of trash daily amounting to over 251 million tons of trash per year. Note: Americans do not yet use the metric system but plan on transitioning to it starting two years from now in 2166.

A food packaging revolution began in 2012 with the opening of in.gredients a store in Austin, TX, USA that strove to provide products without packaging. Then in 2014 Sara Wolf and Melena Gilmovski started a German store chain that sold food and household products without pre-fabricated packaging. This concept was novel and radical for the time. The Original Unverpackt store sold all the standard products—rice, eggs, cheese, oatmeal, etc, and toiletries like mouthwash and toothpaste, but without the traditional  packaging. Customers brought their own containers or purchased re-useable packaging directly from the store.


The Original Unverpackt store


The idea took hold and by 2021 thousands of similar zero packaging stores opened throughout the European Union, in North America, Australia, and South Africa. Today we take for granted that our stores provide quality products without all of the greenhouse-gas-based packaging, but that idea starting right before the Great Transition by a small group of creative and resourceful people.

On this day in 2164 we remember that day in climate history.

Advert: Climate History is brought to you by Chef Boyardee, try our gluten-free, meat-free Beef Raviolis served with simulated tomato sauce. Obviously nutritious. Secretly delicious.

Closing: On behalf of the Climate Stew Crew, I want to thank you for listening to Episode 14. We get downright giddy when you leave a comment for us at Climate Stew dot Com. You can also tweet me, Peterson Toscano, at p2son—the letter p, the number 2, son. Our opening music is by Mark Chadwick, Segment music is by Romo and Poldoore. You will find a full transcript, photos, video, and links for ep 14 over at Climate stew dot com. Special thanks to Prescott Allen Hazelton, Lori Kershner, oh and Joe G, a fellow Italian-American who enjoys a good meal but I swear is nothing like Tony Buffusio,

Author: Peterson Toscano

Peterson Toscano is a quirky queer Quaker concerned about Climate Change. His website is

This post has 4 Comments

  1. Joe G on December 23, 2014 at 6:21 am

    Yes, I’m THAT Joe G. I did grow up in an Italian-American household and your memories brought back my memories. I also wanted to read more about the different diets you mentioned, but the link doesn’t work.

    BTW, I loved how you edited the interview from last week. Very engaging subject matter wise and the use of music and snippets of what he talked about.

    Thanks for the shout-outs. I loved the Planet of the Apes.

    • Peterson Toscano on December 23, 2014 at 5:32 pm

      Sorry about the link: Fixed! Here it is: Eating Healthy Mitigates Climate Change

      Glad you like the edits. I have been experimenting and trying to weave in music in new ways. I learned a lot from you. And people have been asking, “Who is Joe G??”

  2. Joe G on December 24, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    BTW: glad you could discern this statement: “Very engaging subject matter wise and the use of music and snippets of what he talked about.”

    “Who is Joe G?” indeed. 🙂

    Happy Whatever Season.

  3. Tania T on January 10, 2015 at 12:08 am

    In the UK we used to have unpackaged food stores in a lot of towns. Flour, rice, cereals, nuts, dried fruit, soap powder! etc in big bins where you filled a bag by using a scoop from the bin to a bag. They were usually much cheaper, and had the advantage that you could buy the weight you needed. I’m not sure what happened to them, I’ve not seen them for years. Suspect that many were closed due to hygiene issues.

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