Nowadays, dieting and weight-loss have reached an all time high and we, as a nation are more obsessed with being thin more so than ever before. However, we are paying more for our health care than any other country, and still, we don’t have better health to show for it (wellandgood). American health statistics are frightening. And part of that problem have to do with what we consume; our meat, process food and dairy product consumption is damaging our health. We eat a lot of meat in this country; Apparently, “per person, more than almost anywhere else on Earth.” Unfortunately, meat product, especially our beloved hanburgers, takes a toll on the planet. Furthermore, “almost a third of adults over 20 years of age are obese yet still malnourished because our diet is mostly made up of a lot of empty calories.
Additionally, one out of thirteen people have diabetes, you wonder why? Almost everything in our groceries contains fructose corn syrup which has no nutritional values, but is really convenient for the food industry because it’s efficiently cheap. Lastly, heart disease kills one out of every three Americans”(wellandgood). According to a section of Commercial Factory Food Systems, a book by John Bodley, “The primary objective of a commercial food system is to produce a financial return for investors, the system’s ability to satisfy human nutritional needs on a sustained basis is a secondary, virtually irrelevant consideration for those who direct the system.” In other words, the food industry doesn’t care what they used to produce the foods we consume as long as it’s affordable and generates a profit no matter what the cost to our health may be.
Drs. T. Colin Campbell, a professor of nutritional biochemistry at Cornell University, and his son, Thomas M. Campbell II, a physician, believe that they have found the answer to our health crisis and our unsustainable environment. In their book, The China Study, “the largest comprehensive study of human nutrition ever conducted”(wellandgood), they explain the relationship between nutrition and heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Campbell and Caldwell Esselstyn (a top surgeon and head of the Breast Cancer Task Force at the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic) discovered a surprising conclusion: “degenerative diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even several forms of cancer, could almost always be prevented—and in many cases reversed—by adopting a whole-foods, plant-based diet.” Bottom line is animal protein promotes the growth of cancer. “In multiple, peer-reviewed animal studies, researchers discovered that they could actually turn the growth of cancer cells on and off by raising and lowering doses of casein, the main protein found in cow’s milk” (forksoverknives). The Solution is simple: eat plants for health. Stay away from animal and dairy products. Animal-based foods promote chronic disease. Highly-processed, refined carbohydrates are bad for your health. But plant foods are full of healthy carbs.
Plants are powerful medicine for both the body and planet. It’s not just cancer and heart disease that respond to a whole foods, plant-based diet. We have the power to reduce our risk of chronic diseases all the while saving our planet by producing more of the sustainable food that requires less of our resources and reducing hunger around the world. The meat industry causes enormous amounts of pollution, and is also one of the biggest causes of climate change. It takes tons of crops and water to raise farmed animals. In fact, “it takes up to 13 pounds of grain to produce just 1 pound of animal flesh.” Likewise, a lot more environmental deterioration goes into producing the food for those livestock to consume before they slaughtered. Also stated in the book Commercial Factory Food Systems, “A factory farm is actually an extremely costly and inefficient attempt to replace nature with a very simplified, humanly maintained and subsidized machine. Chemical fertilizers manufactured and transported with fossil fuels replace the tightly calibrated nutrients cycles of the natural ecosystem… ” Chemical fertilizers sprayed on the soil and fossil fuels used to effectively produce the many amount of food we currently produce, are proving to have negative effects on the environment. We obviously don’t have “enough food” to feed the world right? But, we have enough to feed 70 billion livestock. All that plant food could be used much more efficiently if it were fed directly to people, assuming that we stop producing chemicals filled food and start producing edible food instead, families in the U.S. who go hungry would have nutritional food to eat and even those in much less developed countries would also be able to eat all the while sustaining the planet so that future generation are able to meet their needs.