The overall health of Americans today is in a downward spiral. The foods we eat are genetically modified, overdosed with antibiotics, pesticides, and toxic chemical preservatives. The incidence of cancer and heart disease are alarmingly high, despite the many advances of modern medicine. According to The China Study, Dr. J.C. Campbell found that \”There is no chemical carcinogen more responsible for causing human cancer as consuming animal protein\”. Statements like this and the results of hundreds of similar studies on the effect of the foods we eat on our health has persuaded many people to avoid eating meat. I have outlined 5 excellent reasons to support why you should seriously consider this dietary change for yourself.
1. Improved Health
There have been numerous studies that have proven that vegetarian diets not only prevent, but reverse, heart and cerebrovascular disease (stroke). People who consume higher amounts of fruits and vegetables have one-half the risk of cancer, especially epithelial cancers; and the risk of most cancers was 20% – 50% lower in those with a high consumption of whole grains. A British study found that daily consumption of fresh fruit was associated with a 24% reduction in mortality from heart disease and a 32% reduction in death from cerebrovascular disease. In \’Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease\’, Dr. Esselstyn found a 100% success rate in unplugging arteries and reversing heart disease by switching his patients to a vegetarian diet. And, vegetarians are 40% less likely to develop cancer than meat eaters. Would you rather avoid eating meat, or continue taking dangerous cholesterol lowering drugs and still risk heart attack and surgery, even cancer or death?
2. It\’s Better For The environment
According to a study by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), global meat production has doubled between 1980 and 2004. This is one of the main contributing factors of land and water scarcity on the planet, and resultant pollution from animal waste is tainting our ground water and releasing record amounts of methane into the atmosphere, contributing to ozone depletion. In fact, factory farms contribute 40% more greenhouse gas emissions than all the cars, trucks, and planes in the world combined (source: \”Livestock\’s Long Shadow\”). These factory farms cause land degradation, climate change, air and water pollution, water shortages, and loss of biodiversity. Take into consideration this simple comparison: it takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef, but only 49 gallons to produce one pound of apples. And 70% of the grain produced in the U.S. is fed to animals raised for slaughter. If this grain was used for human consumption, it could feed 800 million people!
3. Boycott Animal Cruelty
You wouldn\’t eat your pet dog or cat, would you? Yet several studies have concluded that chickens and pigs both tested at higher intelligence levels than dogs and cats. Pigs are crammed into tiny crates with almost no room to move, fed hormone laced grain to encourage rapid growth and given huge doses of antibiotics to fight the diseases rampant in these overcrowded barns. In fact, 70% of the antibiotics produced in the U.S. are fed to livestock, 8 times more than what sick people take! It has been proven that chickens have complex social hierarchies, but confinement in a cramped cage with no ability to roam and peck at bugs and grass as nature intended is cruel and unnatural. Their beaks are cut off to prevent them from pecking each other in the overcrowded cages, and neither pigs nor chickens may ever feel the sun on their backs or breathe fresh air until the day they are shipped off to slaughter.
4. It\’s Economical
The average American spends one half of their food budget on meat. And with global demand on the rise, American beef is being exported to meet this demand, resulting in a 10% increase in beef prices this year alone. Switching to vegetarian protein sources can save you a bundle; a serving of hamburger costs 5 times more than a serving of beans, and a pricier cut of beef like a strip steak or beef tenderloin is 35 times the cost of a serving of beans! You can save even more by buying produce when it is in season and prices are lowest, and freeze it. And what about the huge cost savings in your healthcare expenses? The high price of cholesterol lowering drugs, not to mention a $100,000+ heart bypass operation!
5. You\’ll Lose Weight, Look Better, and Feel Better!
Statistically, Vegetarians are 2/3 less likely than meat eaters to become obese, and on average weight 10-20% less than their meat-eating counterparts. A meat free diet has consistently been linked to lower blood cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and consequently less heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and mortality. The bottom line is this: if you eat animal fat, your body in turn stores this as fat on your body. Not to mention, the increase in cholesterol, LDL, and a plethora of other health consequences I\’ve listed above. So, boycott the burger, and learn to love legumes!
Copyright (c) 2013 Norma Barbee
5 Reasons To Eat A Vegetarian Diet
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