Without good health, everything is more difficult, maybe even impossible. Most doctors recommend eating less meat — or none — not more for better health.
Bloomberg News reports “The pandemic is poised to usher in the biggest retreat for global meat eating in decades.”
Eating meat is associated with heart disease and heart attacks — the #1 cause of death in America and the world. Likewise with stroke, various cancers, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, kidney diseases, hypertension, obesity, osteoporosis, arthritis, endometriosis, impotence, gout, and other very serious ailments.
About two-thirds of diseases in the U.S. are diet-related — the U.S. Surgeon General admitted — and vegetarians and vegans are much less afflicted, living 6–10 years longer on average, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Plant-based nutrition has proven to be safe and even superior, not deficient, compared to animal-based diets. Communities with the highest life expectancies around the world, labeled Blue Zones, are largely plant-based.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, “1.4 million Americans are disabled, then killed prematurely each year by heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and other chronic diseases that have been linked conclusively with consumption of animal products.”
Surgeries, stents, drugs, and exercise sometimes treat and control heart disease, but only a plant-based diet has been able to reverse this leading cause of death. Eating plant-based meals isn’t nearly as radical as heart attacks, strokes, cancer, and dying prematurely.
“In America today”, Dr. Joel Fuhrman advises, “about half of all Americans die of heart attacks and strokes. And about 30% of adults die of cancer as well… The diet to be healthy has to be mostly… fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds.”
The American Institute for Cancer Research declares that a plant-based diet can lower risk for many cancers. Maria Petzel, senior clinical dietitian at MD Anderson Cancer Center, emphasizes that the evidence that plant-based diets reduce one’s cancer risk is “overwhelming”.
In the comprehensive China Study by Colin Campbell, PhD and Thomas Campbell, MD, “People who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic disease… People who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest and tended to avoid chronic disease.” This vital conclusion should not be ignored.
The pandemics of the last century — including the flu outbreaks of 1918, 1957, and 1968, each of which killed millions of people — originated in raising animals for meat. COVID-19 also likely originated in animals and the human appetite for them, as did SARS, ebola, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS.
Whenever animals are crammed together, inevitably in cruel conditions, or we encroach on their habitat, we risk contagion. The prestigious Lancet reports “all new infectious diseases of human beings to emerge in the past [generation] have had an animal source.”
“If there were no poultry industry”, Neal Barnard, M.D. concludes, “there would be no epidemics of bird flu.” If there were no cattle industry, there would be no E. coli outbreaks, Christina Fisanick adds, or mad cow disease. And if there were no hog industry, there would be no swine flu. There would also be much less deforestation, species extinction, and climate change. We kill animals and the animals we eat end up killing us.
“At the individual level”, Roni Neff of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, implores, “it seems pretty clear that the No. 1 thing that can be done is to eat less meat and dairy.” It’s really that simple.
The ADA states that “well-planned vegan and other types of vegetarian meals are appropriate for all stages of the lifecycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence… Vegetarians and vegans have been reported to have lower body mass indices than non-vegetarians, as well as lower rates of death from ischemic heart disease; vegetarians also show lower blood cholesterol levels; lower blood pressure; and lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and prostate and colon cancer.”
Plant-based eating is a form of preventive medicine, substantially reducing the incidence of doctor visits and drugs, excessive medical costs, loss of productivity, and other issues. Plant-based eating is not only better for your personal health, it is also better for public, animal, worker, and environmental health, making plant-based eating also planet-based eating.
The meat, dairy, and egg industries are unhealthy, unethical, unsustainable, unjust, unhappy, unsafe, and unwise. Overall, vegetarians and vegans live longer, healthier, happier lives. Eating plant-based has me feeling physically, emotionally, cognitively, and spiritually better. Find out what it will do for you!
Dan Brook, PhD teaches sociology at San Jose State University, is on the Board of San Francisco Veg Society and the Advisory Board of Jewish Veg, and is the author of Eating the Earth: The Truth About What We Eat and Justice in the Kitchen.