Posts tagged ‘environment’
57 Health Benefits of Going Vegan
Vegans are frequently misunderstood as fringe eaters with an unnatural passion for animal rights. While many vegans do feel passionately about animals, its time for others to see that a vegan diet and lifestyle go way beyond animal rights. Following a healthy, balanced vegan diet ensures a host of health benefits as well as prevention of some of the major diseases striking people in North America. Read these blogs to find out about the health benefits or going vegan or just provide better information to your patients.
All of the following nutritional benefits come from a vegan diet full of foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, and soy products.
- Reduced saturated fats. Dairy products and meats contain a large amount ofsaturated fats. By reducing the amount of saturated fats from your diet, you’ll improve your health tremendously, especially when it comes to cardiovascular health.
- Carbohydrates. Carbohydrates provide energy for your body. When you don’t have enough carbohydrates, your body will burn muscle tissue.
- Fiber. A diet high in fiber (as vegan eating usually is) leads to healthier bowel movements. High fiber diets help fight against colon cancer.
- Magnesium. Aiding in the absorption of calcium, magnesium is an often overlooked vitamin in importance to a healthy diet. Nuts, seeds, and dark leafy greens are an excellent source of magnesium.
- Potassium. Potassium balances water and acidity in your body and stimulates the kidneys to eliminate toxins. Diets high in potassium have shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
- Folate. This B vitamin is an important part of a healthy diet. Folate helps with cell repair, generating red and white blood cells, and metabolizing amino acids.
- Antioxidants. For protection against cell damage, antioxidants are one of the best ways to help your body. Many researchers also believe that antioxidants helpprotect your body against forming some types of cancer.
- Vitamin C. Besides boosting your immune system, Vitamin C also helps keep your gums healthy and helps your bruises heal faster. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant.
- Vitamin E. This powerful vitamin has benefits for your heart, skin, eyes, brain, and may even help prevent Alzheimer’s Disease. A diet high in grains, nuts, and dark leafy greens is full of Vitamin E.
- Phytochemicals. Plant-based foods provide phytochemicals, which help to prevent and heal the body from cancer, boost protective enzymes, and work with antioxidants in the body.
- Protein. That protein is good for your body is no surprise. It may be a surprise to learn that most Americans eat too much protein and in forms such as red meat that are not healthy ways of getting protein. Beans, nuts, peas, lentils, and soy products are all great ways to get the right amount of protein in a vegan diet.
Eating a healthy vegan diet has shown to prevent a number of diseases. Find out from the list below what you could potentially avoid just by switching to a healthy, balanced vegan way of eating.
- Cardiovascular disease. Eating nuts and whole grains, while eliminating dairy products and meat, will improve your cardiovascular health. A British study indicates that a vegan diet reduces the risk for heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. Vegan diets go far in preventing heart attack and stroke.
- Cholesterol. Eliminating any food that comes from an animal and you will eliminate all dietary cholesterol from your diet. Your heart will thank you for that.
- Blood pressure. A diet rich in whole grains is beneficial to your health in many ways, including lowering high blood pressure.
- Type 2 diabetes. Not only is a vegan diet a weapon against Type 2 diabetes, it is also “easier to follow than the standard diet recommended by the American Diabetic Association.” Read more about it here.
- Prostate cancer. A major study showed that men in the early stages of prostate cancer who switched to a vegan diet either stopped the progress of the cancer or may have even reversed the illness.
- Colon cancer. Eating a diet consisting of whole grains, along with fresh fruits and vegetables, can greatly reduce your chances of colon cancer.
- Breast cancer. Countries where women eat very little meat and animal products have a much lower rate of breast cancer than do the women in countries that consume more animal products.
- Macular degeneration. Diets with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens, carrots, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes, can help prevent the onset of age-related macular degeneration.
- Cataracts. Much the same way macular degeneration is headed off by a vegan diet, cataracts are also thought to be prevented through the intake of the same fruits and vegetables. Produce high in antioxidants are also believed to help prevent cataracts.
- Arthritis. Eliminating dairy consumption has long been connected with alleviating arthritis symptoms, but a new study indicates that a combination of gluten-free and vegan diet is very promising for improving the health of those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
- Osteoporosis. Bone health depends on a balance of neither too much or too little protein, adequate calcium intake, high potassium, and low sodium. With a healthy vegan diet, all four of these points set a perfect scenario for preventing osteoporosis.
In addition to good nutrition and disease prevention, eating vegan also provides many physical benefits. Find out how a vegan diet makes your body stronger, more attractive, and more energetic.
- Body Mass Index. Several population studies show that a diet without meat leads to lower BMIs–usually an indicator of a healthy weight and lack of fat on the body.
- Weight loss. A healthy weight loss is a typical result of a smart vegan diet. Eating vegan eliminates most of the unhealthy foods that tend to cause weight issues. Read more about weight loss and a vegan diet here.
- Energy. When following a healthy vegan diet, you will find your energy is much higher. This blog post in Happy Healthy Long Life describes how NFL tight-endTony Gonzalez started eating vegan and gained energy–while playing football.
- Healthy skin. The nuts and vitamins A and E from vegetables play a big role in healthy skin, so vegans will usually have good skin health. Many people who switch to a vegan diet will notice a remarkable reduction in blemishes as well.
- Longer life. Several studies indicate that those following a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle live an average of three to six years longer than those who do not.
- Body odor. Eliminating dairy and red meat from the diet significantly reduces body odor. Going vegan means smelling better.
- Bad breath. Vegans frequently experience a reduction in bad breath. Imagine waking up in the morning and not having morning breath.
- Hair. Many who follow vegan diets report that their hair becomes stronger, has more body, and looks healthier.
- Nails. Healthy vegan diets are also responsible for much stronger, healthier nails. Nail health is said to be an indicator of overall health.
- PMS. When switching to a vegan diet, many women tell how PMS symptoms become much less intense or disappear altogether. The elimination of dairy is thought to help with those suffering with PMS.
- Migraines. Migraine suffers who go on vegan diets frequently discover relief from their migraines. Read more about the food-migraine connection in this article.
- Allergies. Reduction in dairy, meat, and eggs is often tied to alleviation of allergy symptoms. Many vegans report much fewer runny noses and congestion problems.
Too Much in the American Diet
The typical American diet not only consists of too much food, it also relies on too much of unnecessary food products or toxins. The following list explains how a vegan diet can eliminate these problems.
- Animal proteins. The average American eats twice as much protein as necessary for a healthy diet and much of that is from red meat. Getting protein from beans and grains is much healthier and reduces the risk for osteoporosis (see above).
- Cow’s milk dairy. The human body is not designed to digest cow milk and cow milk dairy products, yet the idea of milk being healthy is pushed through advertising. As many as 75% of people in the world may be lactose intolerant and many people suffer from undiagnosed milk allergies or sensitivities. By eliminating cow’s milk from your diet, you are improving your overall health.
- Eggs. Many nutritionists believe that the number of eggs in the American diet is too high. While sometimes disputed, it has been shown that eggs can raise cholesterol levels.
- Mercury. Most of the fish and shellfish consumed has mercury in it. While some fish have less than others, it is almost impossible not to be putting mercury in your body when you eat fish.
- Sugar. Most people have heard that Americans consume way too much sugar. Relying on other sweeteners that are not synthetic, processed, or derived from animal products is a healthier way to eat. Many vegans do not eat processed sugar due to the fact that most of the cane sugar is refined through activated charcoal, most of which comes from animal bones.
In addition to the health benefits above, following a vegan lifestyle and diet also provides these benefits as well. From helping the environment to avoiding serious bacterial infections, learn other benefits to eating the vegan way below.
- Animals. Many people begin a vegan diet out of concern for animals. Whether opposed to the conditions of animals intended for food or eating animals in general, going vegan will help your conscience rest easily.
- Environment. Growing plants takes much fewer resources than growing animals. By eating vegan, you can help reduce the toll on the environment.
- E. coli. E. coli comes from eating contaminated red meat and is the leading cause of bloody diarrhea. Young children, those with compromised immune systems, and elderly people can become extremely ill or die from E. coli. Eating vegan means completely avoiding the risk of E. coli infection.
- Salmonella. Another gastrointestinal illness from animal products, salmonella food poisoning is closely related to E. coli. The most frequent way people contract salmonella food poisoning is through contact with raw eggs or raw chicken meat from chickens infected with salmonella. Again, going vegan means eliminating this risk altogether.
- Mad cow disease. It’s safe to say that most people would want to avoid contracting a fatal, non-treatable disease. One way to ensure you don’t get Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is by not eating animals infected with mad cow disease. While the incidence of mad cow disease is not reportedly so high in North America, it does exist.
- Global food supply. Feeding grain to animals meant as food sources reduces the amount of food that is available to underdeveloped nations. Many people will go hungry while that same food they could be eating is given to animals raised for slaughter. Eating vegan ensures that you have removed yourself from the participation of this imbalance.
- Hormone consumption. Eating animals that have been given hormones to speed growth (a common practice in the meat industry) means those hormones go into your body. Not only can this disrupt the natural balance of your hormones, but some of the hormones given to animals have shown to cause tumor growth in humans.
- Antibiotics. Antibiotics are frequently given to feed animals, which can lead to bacterial resistance. Many of the antibiotics used to treat human infections are also used in feed animals.
Read the rest at: http://www.nursingdegree.net/blog/19/57-health-benefits-of-going-vegan/
Conversations with a meat eater generally go like this:
“You are vegan?”
“Do you eat chicken? What about fish?”
“How do you get your protein?”
It is at this point that we, vegans, have a choice about how to have a conversation that is informative and perhaps even inspirational. The protein question gets everyone going because for some protein is a synonym for meat. Suggesting that it is not necessary (or healthy) to eat meat goes right to the heart of the issue, which is that we have been taught to believe something and, because it is a way of life, most people don’t question it.
“We eat beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh, spinach, peas, walnuts, cashews, almonds, quinoa, millet, etc.”
“Aren’t you hungry? Don’t you need to eat meat to get iron?”
“Not hungry, I eat all day long! And I especially love to indulge in homemade cookies. No, you don’t need to eat meat to get iron. I get it from broccoli, walnuts, lentils, spinach, oats…”
Sometimes meat eaters stop here, nod and wish me luck mumbling something about making sure I eat enough. Others want to debate the protein issue. I am fully armed with answers based on my own experience and my Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from Cornell.
The bottom line is this: there are no nutrients in animal based foods that are not better obtained from plant-based foods. Plants have protein too!
It is interesting that a vegan never questions a meat eater’s ability to take in all of the nutrients necessary for a balanced and healthy diet. We don’t question their food choices. Instead, we are the ones who need to defend ourselves. But at the end of the day, the key is to not get defensive. The key is to offer some information that will hopefully cause the person to, at a minimum question their own dietary habits, and at a maximum will convert them on the spot!
We could talk about the benefits of a vegan diet for our health. We could talk about The China Study and explain how some cancers, diabetes and heart diseases are hitting levels of epidemic proportions due to the intake of animal based foods. We could talk about the outrageous sums of money being spent on health care instead of preventative medicine. We could talk about how it is much more extreme to have major heart surgery and live on medication forever versus making dietary changes. We could offer President Clinton’s story about his decision to go vegan and why.
We could talk about the animals. We could reveal the secrets of the factory farm and the inhumane treatment of, not just the animals, but those that work at the slaughterhouses. We could explain how a steady diet of hormones and antibiotics given to the animals create more disease and illness. We could talk about how dirty the food supply really is.
We could talk about the environment. We could quote the report from the United Nations that says that methane emissions from all of factory farmed animals are contributing more to global warming than all of the cars, trucks and buses in the world. We could talk about the oceans are being depleted and how the world is going to suffer because of it.
Any or all of these tacks make for good conversation. In my experience however, most meat eaters can’t listen to this stuff. Truth be told, it is tough to talk about and tough to hear. I have my elevator speech, my condensed explanation that encompasses points about our health, the health and welfare of the animals and the planet.
I believe that the best way to have a productive conversation with a meat eater is not to have conversation at all. Invite them out to a delicious vegan restaurant or even better invite them over and cook for them. Change the conversation.
Long Island, NY Lisa Dawn is an advanced certified Jivamukti yoga teacher, vegan food blogger, wife and mom. She is working hard to spread the vegan love through her cooking, teaching and blog. Lisa Dawn studies and teaches the yoga sutras. She divides her time between NYC and Northport, Long Island. Lisa Dawn is the co founder of NAVA NYC, a meditation and yoga company designed to bring yoga and meditation to corporate clients.
Photo credit: TDIV
Such good information. I especially love the graphic What it Takes to Make a Quarter-Pound Hamburger.
June 27, 2012
by ELIZA BARCLAY
As Allison Aubrey and Dan Charles reported today on Morning Edition, meat has more of an impact on the environment than any other food we eat. That’s because livestock require so much more food, water, land, and energy than plants to raise and transport. (Listen to the audio above for their conversation withMorning Edition’s Linda Wertheimer.)
Take a look here at what goes into just one quarter-pound of hamburger meat. (Mobile users: To see the images, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on “View Non-Mobile Version Of This Story.”)
What It Takes To Make A Quarter-Pound Hamburger
Source: J.L. Capper, Journal of Animal Science, July, 2011.
Credit: Kevin Uhrmacher/Eliza Barclay/Jessica Stoller-Conrad/NPR
And that’s not even including the animal’s waste or the methane emissions from its digestion.
Still, there are fewer cows around these days: Beef consumption per person peaked in 1976, as Dan Charles reported on Tuesday.
But to be clear, if you look at the last century, meat consumption in the U.S. rose dramatically. It’s only in the last few years that it has begun to drop a bit.
U.S. total meat consumption, in billion pounds
Source: Earth Policy Institute
Credit: Angela Wong / NPR
Though meat consumption in the U.S. has dropped off slightly in recent years, at 270.7 pounds per person a year, we still eat more meat per person here than in almost any other country on the planet. Only the Luxumbourgers eat more meat than we do.
Sources: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) 2010, Livestock and Fish Primary Equivalent, 02 June 2010, FAOSTAT on-line statistical service, FAO, Rome
As U.S. beef consumption began to decline in the 1970s, poultry began to rise quickly. A couple of years ago, chicken surpassed beef as our no. 1 meat of choice. Our consumption of pork has also risen slightly over the years.
U.S. meat consumption per person, in pounds
Source: Earth Policy Institute
Credit: Angela Wong / NPR