In our modern day American society it seems that a lot of people want to have their food fast, easy, convenient and inexpensive. And why not? The problem is that there aren't a lot of healthy options like that out there. Often, not a lot of thought goes into what you're eating as long as it tastes good, is fast, and cheap, right? But where it came from, how it got on your plate and how it effects your body and health is actually pretty important and deserves some serious thought.
The Standard American Diet is centered around meat, dairy and refined wheat products. These are the culprits of so many health problems. The majority of these foods are being processed, genetically modified and treated with pesticides, antibiotics and hormones. They're also added with excessively high amounts of oil, sugar, salt, artificial ingredients and preservatives. Along with other unhealthy habits it’s no wonder why chronic, lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and cancer are at an all-time high.
Startling fact: In 1909 the average American ate less than 4 pounds of cheese each year. Today, an average American eats more than 33 pounds every year. This is important because cheese is an incredibly unhealthy food and has made it's way onto and into everything! Dairy products- especially cheese- are the top source of saturated fat in the American diet. This can lead to insulin resistance (the precursor to type 2 diabetes) and high cholesterol which can lead to heart disease- the number one cause of death in the US today, and stroke. It's also loaded with sodium, another blood pressure raiser. Dairy proteins-which are highly concentrated in cheese-have also been linked to several other conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, allergies, asthma, migraines, digestion problems, acne, infertility and more. Dairy also contains a huge amount of hormones (both natural and artificial) which has been linked to hormone-related cancers. One of the reasons behind the dramatic increase in dairy consumption is due to the Dairy Industry's sleek and at times-false advertising, as well as being subsidized by the USDA. And it's taking a serious toll on our health. Dairy cows and their offspring also suffer tremendously. The picture of a laughing cow? Milk does a body good? False advertising at its very finest.
Many people think genes play the biggest role in developing such lifestyle diseases as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity and cancer. But the truth is they only count for 10-20% of the risk. The other 80-90% of risk is diet and lifestyle, which are habitual. And habits run in families. But habits can be changed! America is one of the richest countries in the world but also one of the fattest and sickest. We have the most expensive health care in the world as well, along with higher rates of
disease, and shorter life spans than other developed countries.
Our mental health also needs some closer attention. The amounts of stress people feel these days- socially, environmentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually- are substantial, and stress is extremely hard on the body. If people want to be healthier and feel better then they need to stop, feel, think, plan and try implementing some healthy changes! We're taught to put ourselves last because it's selfish to put our needs first. But the truth is you can't be the best person you can be, nor be any good to others if you don't take care of yourself!
We are at a tipping point. The environment today is in a state of emergency, largely from animal production for food consumption. The largest amount of greenhouse gas emissions comes from animal agriculture. It uses a huge amount of water as well as land for growing crops to feed them. Raising animals for food causes deforestation and the extinction of many species. Rainforests are being destroyed at an alarming rate- 30 million acres per year have been lost every year since the 1970's. Why is that important? Because rainforests recycle carbon dioxide into oxygen, which we need to breath in order to survive. Our oceans are also being depleted from overfishing. Fertilizers and pesticides from farms pollute our waters and create "dead zones" in their wake. The one in the Gulf of Mexico is now the size of New Jersey. Most grain crops go to feeding the animals for our consumption- it's unnatural. If we took just half of the grain we feed to animals raised for our consumption and gave it to those who were hungry, it would end world hunger.
Also, the majority of animals consumed are raised on factory farms in horrible conditions- having to be fed copious amounts of hormones and antibiotics just to survive and to grow at unbelievably fast, unhealthy rates. Neglect, abuse and torture run rampant. For example, if human babies were made to grow at the same rate as most broiler chickens, they would weigh 660 pounds at just 2 months old! All animals raised for food or clothing suffer similar or worse lives. These innocent creatures are just a number with a dollar sign attached awaiting a violent and torturous death. Billions upon billions of animals annually! If we could reduce the amount consumed and change how animals are being "raised" it would truly help our health, our environment and the animals in an enormous way. The future of our planet depends on it! And the wonderful thing is that it's so easy nowadays to replace unhealthy foods with healthy ones and plant based foods instead of animal products. Not only do they make you feel great, but improve your overall heath in the long run and help protect the environment and animals as well. It's a win-win-win!
Being an animal lover, a person who cares about the environment and the future of our planet and the health of it and its inhabitants, I have a passion and emotional calling to educate and enlighten people on how to become healthier, more mindful and hopefully, feel better overall. I wish more people would take the time to think about the long-term effects of how we live these days. We need to stop, think and hopefully act, providing us with a brighter future for mankind (and no, I'm not being overly dramatic). The time for change is NOW!
I am here to help those who want to improve their health, happiness and well-being. I am not here to lecture, but to enlighten. I am here to inspire positive change in any way that I can. I am here to motivate. It all starts with one small step forward in the right direction. Small hinges swing big doors! Here's to getting healthy and feeling great- from the inside out. You can do it!! I look forward to hearing from you!