Yesterday, our local newspaper ran a good little local story about “The Great American Meatout.” With a big expo today in Tamarac, I assumed today is the day it is observed, but when I googled it this morning, I found that it’s actual date was the 20th–or 21st–generally coinciding with the first day of spring.. Beyond confusion over the day, it is also quite controversial to say the least…both locally and globally. But this blog is about peace, not conflict, so I will just offer up some opinions and suggestions and leave the rest to you, because I am a big believer in CHOICE. My personal choice is to MEATOUT daily!
This is actually the 25th year of the grassroots movement and it is simply an effort to make people think about their eating and yes, try to change their behavior. There are many reasons to choose an animal free diet –for our own health, the environment and for the sake of the animals. Below are just a few reasons to kick the meat habit…
Kicking the meat habit reduces our risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and other chronic diseases that cripple and kill nearly 1.4 million Americans annually.
Kicking the meat habit decreases our exposure to infectious pathogens like Salmonella, E. coli, and Campylobacter, which kill several thousand Americans annually and sicken millions more.
Kicking the meat habit raises our energy level, lowers our food budget, and simplifies food preparation and cleanup.
Kicking the meat habit frees up grains and other foods that can be used to feed the world’s hungry. Animals are extremely inefficient “protein converters;” it can take up to 16 pounds of grain to make 1 pound of beef.
Kicking the meat habit preserves our topsoil, water, and other food production resources vital to the survival of our children and their children.
Kicking the meat habit protects our forests, grasslands, and other wildlife habitats from encroachment by cattle ranchers while reducing the polluting effects of methane, soil particles, manure, and pesticides in our water.
Kicking the meat habit saves animals from caging, crowding, deprivation, drugging, mutilation, manhandling, and agonizing slaughter. Each person who adopts a plant-based diet saves over 80 innocent, sentient animals each year and over 6,000 animals in a lifetime.
Years ago my son Derek read Diet for a New America, and began adopting a vegan lifestyle. The book, written by John Robbins, (son of the Baskin-Robbins founder) was written in 1987 and depicts both the health side of vegan eating as well as the “compassionate” side. It certainly enlightened me and changed much of my thinking after I read it quite a few years ago. No doubt Mr. Robbins was greatly impacted by how many of his ice-cream loving family members died of heart disease! If you want to read something a little lighter but with a similar message, check out Alicia Silverstone’s book, The Kind Diet, currently on the best seller list. The foreword, written by Dr. Neal Barnard, outlines how a change to a plant-based diet can change your health and your life. He compares our food to fuel for a car. If you are stalling a lot, you need to change your fuel. You switch to a different fuel and all of a sudden everything starts to run better.
Yesterday, perhaps by coincidence, perhaps not, Dr. Barnard was on PBS talking about his research into reversing diabetes. His research (which many of you are familiar with) showed that a low-fat vegan diet helps people lower their blood sugar and reduce or in many cases eliminate their need for medications! It also has been proven to eliminate painful cramps and PMS. Apparently a low-fat plant based diet re-balances our hormones. Many physicians have researched and proven that avoiding animal products is the key to preventing and reversing many diseases. Dr. Dean Ornish showed that simple changes to diet and lifestyle can reverse heart disease. Countless studies have suggested that similar diets can prevent cancer cells from growing and keep plaque from forming on the brain (think Alzheimers). Hmmmm… Alzheimers, cancer, diabetes and heart disease…and people ask why I don’t eat meat…Many less signficant benefits such as weight loss, clearer skin, less headaches and joint pain as well as greater energy have also been documented. Again, I AM IN!
If you are local you can visit the Parkland farmers market today and get some incredibly wonderfully, locally grown fruits and veggies. You can also visit the free expo at the Power Bazaar and Marketplace at 8399 N. University Drive in Tamarac where they will be giving out educational videos and brochures, vegetarian starter kits, recipes and lots of sample foods prepared by local restaurants. I am hoping to attend both!
Food might be somewhat like religion and I am not here to force my beliefs upon you. Perhaps, just for this day, you might consider the food choices you make. Consider what they are doing to you, the animals and the environment. A vegetable garden never hurt anyone!
We all have a choice and I am choosing to fuel my body with living foods…after all, I yam what I yam and I yam what I eat. I beg you to ask ANY questions you have about this lifestyle. I may not have all the answers but I can share what I have learned through reading and through my own experience as well as other vegetarians and vegans. There are questions I have that I am still on the fence about. I just watched a debate over the omega-3 fats and if we really need the ones we get from salmon. For now I am going to hope to get enough from walnuts and avocados, but I am going to keep doing my research. This week I feel great about my choices and have clarity, but as Lesley said last week…clarity comes and goes!
Thanks for checking in and thanks for being open-minded. Have a fantastic Sunday filled with peace.
“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