The perfect ideology about health can be summed up by the Father of Modern Medicine, Hippocrates, when he said: “Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food”. I propose that the ultimate epitome of medicinal consumption is a whole food, plant-based diet. What is plant-based nutrition? It is a diet that creates health; prevents and even reverses disease; assists with weight loss; and enhances energy, endurance, beauty and strength. It is a diet based on whole foods that come direct from nature.
There is currently a vast enormity of scientific data that confirms and substantiates the fact that a whole food, plant-based diet creates health. There is decades of evidence showing that the Standard American Diet (SAD; high-fat, high-protein, low nutrient) is the cause of the growing incidence of heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes, and many other chronic diseases. Ultimately, no matter what your genetic destiny, these diseases can be prevented and reversed and it all depends on what is at the end of your fork…
There are two components to eating for health…what you choose not to eat and what you should eat. The worst products to put into your body includes animal protein, fat, processed “foods”, artificial colors/flavors, preservatives, and chemicals. On the other hand, what your body and immune system need to thrive and protect itself is a variety of plants, namely: grains, legumes, vegetables and fruit…the new four food groups.
Research demonstrates the fact that animal protein itself (including that from eggs, dairy, fish, fowl, red meat, and pork) can turn on and off carcinogenesis (cancer formation). Additionally, the further you get from nature (meaning, the more processed the food), the closer you get to disease formation.
Conversely, plant-based, whole foods are full of phytochemicals, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. They are nutrient-dense and flood the body with usable compounds to build immunity, fight disease, re-build, detoxify and maintain health. The more of these nutrients you consume, the stronger your immune system will be.
With respect to the Earth, the number one greatest thing you can do decrease your carbon footprint (and to thereby minimize your effect on Global Warming) is to eat plants and not eat animal products. The World Health Organization came to the conclusion in their 2006 report that livestock production was the number one cause of greenhouse emissions. They determined that eating animal products was responsible for more damage than all transportation combined. In other words, a vegan driving a Hummer is less harmful to the environment than a meat-eater driving a Prius!
A final reason to put plants on your fork and to just say no to meat is the horrific treatment of animals in Factory Farms and in the Slaughterhouses. Cows, chickens, pigs and other animals are abused, tortured, and live a terrifying, miserable life before they get violently killed for consumption. Because there is such a demand for animal products, farmers are forced to utilize extreme measures to meet that demand. Thus, the less animal products people buy, the less terror reigns on the animals.
Overall, there is no better decision you can make to save your health, heal the environment, and stop the abuse of animals than what you put on the end of your fork. It all begins with one meal.
To learn more about how to make these changes, check out my website: www.PlantBasedDietitian.com
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Saturday, December 26, 2009
Posted by Julieanna Hever MS, RD at 3:06 PM