Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet. - Albert Einstein
Living long and healthy while maintaining a sustainable environment is an important issue for everyone, but especially those who believe that the world is not going to end any day now, this life is the only life we have, and that we must use resources with future generations in mind, even those that will exist over 100,000 years from now as our species existed over 100,000 years ago.
There are many reasons to eat less meat in 2013 and beyond. The issue is beyond taste. It's about our health, the health of the environment and how the increased consumption of meat globally has created factory farms which are terribly cruel to animals. Studies have shown an increase in fruits and vegetables along with a decrease in meat and dairy lower blood pressure, cholesterol, risks of cancer and heart disease. There are also other benefits for men such as a lower risk of ED. For those who are young, the health concerns are less of an issue, but the environmental impact is still an important consideration. Animals for human consumption create more CO2 emissions than transportation. The water and crop consumption and waste productions of these animals are very high and very large environmental issues as well.
For many, animal cruelty is the biggest issue with eating them. Treatment is a lot different for animals since Grandpa ran the farm. In factory farms they are treated in strictly a cruel and utilitarian way. For anyone with any kind of empathy or care, researching into the treatment of animals on factory farms is a gut wrenching experience. If a society doesn’t have an issue with this treatment of animals, why wouldn’t it view humans the same way? For some corporations there is no difference. The human population simply exists to consume and spend money. The wellbeing of the population is of no concern. If we desire the primary focus of our society and the world to be a high standard of living for all people, we must care about the other animals as well.
There is a price to pay for our big brains; they consume a lot of calories. Cooked meat is easy for us to digest and is calorie rich. But just as eating meat was important to our survival in the past when food was scarce, eating much less meat is important for the survival of our species in the present and in the future. There are plant based foods that are calorie and protein rich. Meat is not the only option. The health benefits of eating more fruits and vegetables and less meat is well researched and documented. Vegetarians live longer on average.
What can science do to help?
Many cooks are putting together great vegetarian and vegan recipes. Cooking is science. A fantastic way for a population to eat less meat is to provide alternative plant based choices that have the same consistency and taste. Much work has been done in this area, but there is still much work to do.
What can the government do to help?
Currently it costs more to eat healthy. Many lower income families are chained to poor diets because of economics. We need policies that will encourage lower costs and a greater abundance of healthy food. Make an organic salad the cheapest thing on the menu and more people will buy it. There should also be a Bill of Rights for animals. Just because farm animals are eventually put down for human consumption doesn’t mean they should be severely tortured for every day that they live without care or conscious. Healthier people are more productive and will have less medical costs. Our society has a vested interest to increase health which directly increases our quality of life. This is an issue of economics just as much as it is an issue of compassion and protecting the environment.
Another thing government can do to help is to protect small local farms from unfair treatment. Enact policies that stop the monopolistic and unfair business practices of corporations that patent seed and subjugate willful and un-willful growers to draconian extortion and subjugation. Provide government approved patent free seed that any person or company can purchase for the growing of plants. State and Federal food safety laws should not be overly complex, administratively burdensome and detrimental to small farms. Government agencies should not be in bed with major food corporations to harass small businesses out of competition.
What can businesses do?
Employ more people in the innovation, marketing, production and distribution of plant based food and materials.
What can you do?
Be an advocate for a diet with less meat. Do your research and get educated. Measure your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol before and after you start eating more fruits and vegetables. Speak to your doctor about this change of diet and share the results. Combine a good diet with exercise. Maintain a healthy weight. Look and be healthy. Come up with and share some great plant based recipes or simply share your favorite plant based foods.
Easy ways to start right now:
Try juicing to replacing a daily meal with concoctions from companies such as Jamba Juice.
If ordering a salad from McDonalds, order it without the chicken.
If buying meat, be a consumer for companies that are taking better care of the animals. Do your research and support local farms.
Order vegetarian menu options at restaurants.
If ordering meat, get smaller portions.
Eat nuts and beans to satisfy deep hunger and provide a great source of protein.
Use common sense, make sure you’re getting enough calories, and make sure you’re physically OK to change your diet. Consult a doctor or dietician if necessary.
Understand that there are other ways to improve your diet as well such as eating less processed sugar.
Have fun; explore your options, research, try new foods and join in on the discussions.
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May your life be long and your actions be good.
James Kirk Wall
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