Finally, mainstream media covers animal cruelty at factory farms and the attempts to cover it all up by making it illegal to expose. Watch the ABC video here: http://freefromharm.org/videos/media-spots/abc-news-covers-farm-animal-cruelty-investigations-and-proposed-ag-gag-laws/
Posts tagged ‘factory farms’
VegNews’ Colleen Holland explores why companies are clamoring to position themselves as “vegan.”
It wasn’t long ago that the word “vegan” evoked images of emaciated hippies, angry activists, and starving dumpster divers in the mainstream lexicon. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a lean physique, being passionate about a cause, and saving perfectly good food from going to waste, but in the past five years, something has changed. Perhaps the shift occurred when Ellen DeGeneres announced to the world that she was thriving on a vegan diet, or when the pro-veg film Forks Over Knives swept the nation with its sound science and promise that diseases like diabetes and obesity could be cured with a plant-based diet. Or was it the CNN interview with Bill Clinton where he extols the virtues of living without meat and dairy, the exposure to delectable vegan food through the hundreds of meat-free cookbooks now published every year, or the constant barrage of undercover factory-farm footage on major television networks? However the change took place, the perception of veganism is more positive than ever before, and everyone from Anderson Cooper to Arian Foster are talking about it. It is nearly impossible to deny that veganism’s moment has arrived.
According to the latest “how many vegetarians are there?” poll by the Vegetarian Resource Group, roughly 7.5 percent of the population identifies as either vegan or vegetarian, and an astonishing 33 percent eat “mostly veg.” Combine that with the millions more allured by the health benefits of ditching dairy and beef for almond milk and veggie burgers—not to mention the unprecendented 12-percent nose dive in meat consumption over the past five years—and we’ve got ourselves a little vegetarian revolution.
The Power of Vegan
Remember that scary word, vegan? For years, marketers were told to stay clear of using it on product packaging and promotion. It was seen as a turn-off to consumers, and a surefire way to get buyers not to buy a product. But now that it’s 2012, and veganeverything practically grows on trees, I wanted to find out just how far we’ve come. Are companies finally embracing the once-forbidden label? For Seth Tibbott, founder of Turtle Island Foods (a 32-year-old vegan company that makes veggie dogs, sausages, deli slices, and the famous Tofurky), the answer is an emphatic “yes.” He says, “We showcase the term ‘vegan’ as a major point of differentiation from our main competitors. This makes it easier on current vegans, interesting to meat reducers, and intriguing for others.” Earth Balance, an all-vegan food company that produces everything from butter spreads and soymilk to nut butters and mayonnaise, has prominently marketed its products as vegan since the company’s inception in 1998. Marketing Manager Adriane Little emphasizes the importance of communicating this message to consumers as “a way to show that a vegan diet should not be restrictive, but the opposite—a lifestyle filled with good-tasting, good-for-you options.”
But what about non-vegetarian companies? Have they recognized the benefits of marketing their brands as vegan? In my own analysis (spending a day at a natural-food store photographing any product that used the word vegan on its packaging), never before have I seen such a broad use of the once-taboo term. The word is splashed across boxes of Boca burgers (now owned by Kraft); popular pasta-sauce purveyor Victoria Fine Foods has launched an all-vegan line called Victoria Vegan; and Dr. Praeger’s—whose product line also includes seafood—doesn’t hold back when touting vegan on the front of its packaging. Combine this trend with such recent news as Subway testing vegan sandwiches in Washington, DC stores and McDonald’s opening its first all-vegetarian restaurant in India, and it’s just a matter of time, I believe, before major food brands embrace the word vegan to represent health, sustainability, and authenticity. For vegans, these values are nothing new, and according to Tibbott, we’re just ahead of the curve. “Vegans are ahead of their time in terms of eating a diet that we feel will be adopted by more and more people in the coming years. By living their values, they inspire others to consider dietary changes.” I couldn’t agree more.
To see an array of products currently marketed as vegan, check out Colleen Holland’s Vegan Food Slide Show.
Thank you to Staff of Life in Santa Cruz, CA for allowing VegNews to shoot the photography for this piece.
Consider this: what the animal eats ends up in your meat and in you. Laura
The Reality of Feed at Animal Factories
When many Americans think of farm animals, they picture cattle munching grass on rolling pastures, chickens pecking on the ground outside of picturesque red barns, and pigs gobbling down food at the trough.
Over the last 50 years, the way food animals are raised and fed has changed dramatically—to the detriment of both animals and humans. Many people are surprised to find that most of the food animals in the United States are no longer raised on farms at all. Instead they come from crowded animal factories, also known as large confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs).
Just like other factories, animal factories are constantly searching for ways to shave their costs. To save money, they’ve redefined what constitutes animal feed, with little consideration of what is best for the animals or for human health. As a result, many of the ingredients used in feed these days are not the kind of food the animals are designed by nature to eat.
Just take a look at what’s being fed to the animals you eat.
- Same Species Meat
- Diseased Animals
- Feathers, Hair, Skin, Hooves, and Blood
- Manure and Other Animal Waste
- Drugs and Chemicals
- Unhealthy Amounts of Grains
Are these ingredients legal? Unfortunately, yes. Nevertheless, some raise human health concerns. Others just indicate the low standards for animal feeds. But all are symptoms of a system that has lost sight of the appropriate way to raise food animals.
You’re watching your weight, so you opt for chicken rather than red meat as your go-to smart diet choice, right? We all thought of chicken as lean, protein-rich food that’s good for weight watching, but the truth is chicken might actually be making us fatter! I wrote inThe Lean about overweight chickens bred on factory farms that may be passing their weight problems on to us. It turns out chicken at the grocery can have far more fat than protein!
Here’s the skinny (well, not really): Virtually all commercially-available chickens now have what many call the “obese gene,” which makes birds gain weight quickly to speed up production from birth to slaughter. That, combined with no exercise and a constant supply of high-energy (caloric) food, makes today’s chicken the opposite of lean: The amount of fat in modern chicken may be five or even 10 times what it used to be, according to a UK-based study published in the journal Public Health Nutrition. So if you serve a whole chicken to your family like grandma did, you may be serving them 10 times as much fat than the days of yesteryear. That’s a whole lotta fat, and big trouble for the waistline.
The nonprofit Farm Forward explains that this is another consequence of inhumane factory farming.
“This type of chicken husbandry needs to be reviewed with regard to its implications for animal welfare and human nutrition,” wrote lead researcher Dr. Yiqun Wang. “The cocktail of gene selection for fast weight gain, lack of exercise and high-energy food available 24 hours a day, is a simple and well-understood recipe for obesity.”
Farm Forward is on to something important, and they are taking the research even further. They teamed up with Kansas State University to compare the fat and protein content of heritage birds to commercial ones found in the grocery store. KSU professor Dr. Liz Boyle started the research in February with heritage chickens from Frank Reese Jr. of Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch in central Kansas. Heritage birds are the genetic breeds that existed before the days of industrialized meat. Reese’s chickens take at least 120 days to mature. Most all chickens available at the grocery store take about 40.
Fast-growing chickens go right alongside chicken welfare problems, explains Farm Forward, so the worse the conditions they are raised in (cramped and barely able to move or support their unnatural weight), the fatter (and more fattening) the chicken meat is. For chickens raised in factory farms (99 percent of the meat at market is from factory farms), their pitiless fate seems to be accompanied by a drastic rise in fat grams. “The fat went from less than 2 grams to 23 grams of animal fat per serving, twice as much fat than ice cream,” says physician and author Dr. Michael Greger, who has his own interesting commentary on Dr. Wang’s study. “So now chicken has 10 times more fat and ten times more calories, so that could explain why chicken has been tied to human abdominal girth.”
Ten times more fat and 10 times more calories can be related to a fat belly, that’s for sure. It makes sense that our crisis of obesity might very well be closely tied to the daily consumption of chicken by many millions of Americans.
Farm Forward and KSU plan on conducting more studies when this one is complete. “The consequences of disregarding animal welfare go far beyond the question of cruelty,” Dr. Aaron Gross of the University of San Diego and CEO of Farm Forward explained to me. “What we are discovering more and more is that many of the environmental and public health problems with meat are intimately connected with animal welfare.” So basically, what’s bad for the chickens is bad for us; it’s all related.
We’ve all seen chicken portrayed as the low-fat, heart-healthy alternative to red meat for years, but it no longer adds up. You might want to lean away from eating birds and lean toward more plant-based options of protein like black beans, lentils, tofu, chickpeas and whole grains. No cruelty, far less fat, zero cholesterol. It’s a sensible swap for the waistline and good news for the birds!
For more by Kathy Freston, click here.
BY CHINA DESPAIN FREEMAN MAY 25, 2012
If you’re a vegan or a vegetarian, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ll hear this question at least once in your life: “But where do you get your protein?!” Despite plenty of scientific evidence to the contrary, there is still a pervasive belief that humans must eat meat — and lots of it — to ingest adequate amounts of protein and build muscle.
Not only that, but there’s also a stigma, particularly for men, that being vegan is somehow less “manly” than following a carnivorous diet. In fact, a recent study found that people tend to describe meat as more “masculine” than vegetables. The study’s authors say that, “To the strong, traditional, macho, bicep-flexing, All-American male, red meat is a strong, traditional, macho, bicep-flexing, All-American food. Soy is not. To eat it, they would have to give up a food they saw as strong and powerful like themselves for a food they saw as weak and wimpy.”
This is clearly a misconception that needs to be addressed, so we’re doing our part to show that there’s nothing wimpy about vegans. In fact, there are plenty of examples of strong, studly, masculine dudes who abstain from animal products, and we’re here to prove it. So, without further ado, we present our choices for the top 10 brawniest vegan men, with a vegetarian bonus.
Robert Cheeke is a bodybuilder whose vegan diet helps him maintain his ripped physique. He grew up on a farm in Oregon, an experience he credits with helping develop his compassion toward animals, and at age 15, he gave up all animal products. Now he gets his protein from legumes, greens and plant-based protein powders, and considers fruits and nutrient-dense burritos his go-to foods. “Yams and potatoes, quinoa, kale and artichokes are some of my other favorite whole foods. Thai and Indian dishes, especially Masaman and Yellow Curry and vegetable samosas and Aloo Matter, are by far my favorite dinner meals. Avocado rolls are another menu item I indulge in regularly,” he says.
VegNews named him one of its 15 most influential vegan athletes, and in 2006, Cheeke released a documentary about vegan fitness. He has also been involved in animal advocacy campaigns for PETA and VegSeattle.
Photo credit: Mikkei
Mac Danzig, an MMA fighter and UFC competitor who has won numerous titles, including King of the Cage Lightweight Champion and Gladiator Challenge Lightweight World Champion, is a strict vegan who has campaigned with PETA for animal rights. ”Animals on factory farms and in slaughterhouses don’t have a fighting chance,” Danzig says in the PETA ad. “I don’t eat animals because I don’t want to contribute to their suffering — it’s that simple. Do yourself a favor, do the planet a favor, and help end animal abuse — go vegetarian. I am a fighter in the best shape of my life.”
In 2008, he was listed as a finalist in Men’s Health magazine’s 25 Fittest Guys in America, and in the profile, he explained how, due to an allergy, dairy was detrimental to his health. “A lot of people don’t realize how hard milk, whey, and other dairy products are on the sinuses and respiratory system, and the dairy industry would like you to believe that you need milk to get calcium. That notion is as oxymoronic as you can get. Although not everybody has as severe an allergy to dairy products as I did, I just wanted to point out that after years of battling with ear and sinus infections, eliminating dairy completely cured my problems. Anyone with similar problems may want to try it for a while,” he said.
Photo credit: PETA
He may have suffered a number of ups and downs in his career, but there’s one thing that can’t be disputed: this brawny guy was a really great boxer. A former heavyweight champion of the world, Mike Tyson holds records as the youngest boxer to ever win the WBC, WBA and IBF titles (he was 20 at the time). Now retired from the sport, Tyson lives a much more peaceful life overall, shunning all animal products from his diet.
He credits the diet overhaul with helping him shed 130 pounds (revealing a sleeker, stronger physique), and explained in 2010 that it was part of an overall plan to revamp his life and improve his mental and physical health. “I wanted a different life. I felt like I was dying. I had an incident in life where I lost my 4-year-old daughter in a tragic accident at home. I don’t know. I didn’t want to live anymore. So I said, that in order to go there, I had to change my life. I am going to change everything I dislike about myself. I changed everything that I was as a human being. I started that journey in October or November…I don’t smoke anymore. I wanted to give up everything. I had to change my life.” Mission accomplished.
Photo Credit: CarlaVanWagoner / Shutterstock.com
This Canadian athlete is proof that a vegan diet is more than enough to fuel an active lifestyle. A former triathlete, Brendan Brazier won 50-kilometer ultramarathons twice: once in 2003, and again in 2006 (If you don’t do metric, that’s about 31 miles. In other words, a really long way to run!). An advocate for a plants-based lifestyle, Brazier is also the man behind the Thrive Diet and the Vega sports nutrition line (fellow brawny dudes Robert Cheeke and Mac Danzig are fans).
Brazier discovered veganism as a teenager, and has never looked back, even though he no longer competes professionally. “I’ve been vegan since I was 15, and I got into it just because I wanted to be a better athlete, I didn’t care what I ate,” he says. “At the time I would’ve eaten anything if I thought it would have made me a better athlete. And I just tried different ways of eating…That’s what brought me to it, it was really selfish reasons. I mean, I’m kind of embarrassed to admit it. Then I found that a properly put together, plant-based diet was a real performance advantage, and I started racing professionally.” The rest is triathlon history.
Photo credit: Iknowiknowithink
This MMA and UFC competitor is a lifelong vegetarian and current vegan who cites the SunWarrior brand as his protein powder of choice. A middleweight and welterweight champion, Jake Shields is an animal rights advocate who teamed with PETA to support vegetarianism. The Srikeforce champ denounced the way slaughterhouses treat animals, and cited himself as an example of a successful vegan athlete. ”I’m living proof that you can further, train harder, and pack a meaner punch without eating animals,” reads his PETA ad.
Shields has been advocating for a meat-free diet for years. Back in 2009, he explained, “I’m a life-long vegetarian and the diet obviously works. I also have two brothers that are strong and healthy. But you do have to have a good balanced diet and eat healthy foods. There’s plenty of ways to get protein other than eating meat.” Well said.
Photo Credit: PETA
The success of vegan documentary “Forks Over Knives” helped make Rip Esselstyn a household name (his father is one of the doctors profiled in the film), and now he has his own documentary touting the benefits of a meat-free diet. A former All American swimmer and top triathlete and current firefighter (and Lance Armstrong workout buddy), Esselstyn’sfitness background is impressive: ”[Esselstyn] took first place in many major events, including the 2001 Police and Fire World Games, the world’s largest athletic competition. He also won the Capital of Texas triathlon eight times and was the leader and top-three finisher at many televised events, including the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon, where he was first out of the frigid, shark-infested waters six years in a row. Rip still competes in various events, recently winning the master national championships and setting the national record in the process.”
Esselstyn is also the creator Engine 2 diet and hosts its companion film, “Forks Over Knives Presents: Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue” (it streams on Netflix if you want to check it out), which features him teaching two families basics of a plant-based diet. He initially created the Engine 2 diet to help save the life of one of his firefighter co-workers (it worked!), and now works with Whole Foods to spread the message about the benefits of a vegan diet.
Photo credit: Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue
Canadian athlete Georges Laraque may have retired from hockey, but the 6’3″ forward made quite an impression on the ice in his day: in 2003, he was named “Best Fighter” by The Hockey News, and Sports Illustrated crowned him “Best Enforcer” in 2006. Despite his tough on-ice persona, Laraque lives a decidedly more peaceful life outside the rink as a PETA supporter and vegan restauranteur. In a PETA video, Laraque says, “I don’t put up with much, and I certainly don’t want to put up with the cruelty of the meat industry. I’m Georges Laraque, and I’m vegan.”
His decision to abstain from animal products came after watching the documentary “Earthlings.” “After I saw that video…I encouraged people to watch it, because I am sure people, like me, are sensitive to cruelty. And when you see that animals go through so much cruelty, why would you want to encourage that?… I felt better, I have much more energy, and I feel even stronger, so the stereotype that says that big guys cannot be vegan, if you don’t eat meat, you can’t be strong, it’s not true,” he says. And not only did the film lead him to change his diet, but it brought on a whole new level of activism for Laraque,including participation in fur protests. Now that’s a fight we’d like to see him win.
Photo credit: PETA
It takes a lot to fuel 6’11″ of muscle up and down a basketball court, but former NBA starJohn Salley knows the key to a healthy diet is abstaining from animal products. Salley has had a varied entertainment career since he retired from sports, but his real passion is health, and he’s an outspoken raw vegan who has worked with PETA and the PCRM and who has his own line of organic, vegan food products.
Salley’s discipline is both physical and mental; he considers his body a temple, and takes care of it through fitness, diet and spiritual study. And he believes it’s up to adults to spread the message of good health to our children. “As a former athlete, I know that the nutrition of the food I eat has a direct impact on my physical and mental performance on the basketball court. More fruits, vegetables, and other vegetarian foods help you stay healthy, fit, and alert. Adults influence kids’ eating habits. We have to improve kids’ eating habits — and re-educate adults about what is food and what is not food. People can have pizza and pastries without dairy products and eggs. They can have tofu mozzarella cheese or egg substitute and they should use agave in place of high-fructose corn syrup and refined whole sugar,”he said back in 2010. Here’s hoping his suggestions catch on.
Photo credit: Joe Seer / Shutterstock.com
Also known as Daniel Bryan and the Red Dragon, this vegan WWE superstar has a litany of credits to his name, including: “former Ring of Honor World champion, two-time Pro Wrestling Guerrilla World champion, a one-time Westside Xtreme Wrestling Heavyweight champion, a one-time FIP Heavyweight Champion and a one-time World Heavyweight Champion in WWE.” He’s also integrated veganism into his villainous wrestling persona to elicit crowd reactions.
Like many of the athletes on our list, he’s partnered with PETA to promote the benefits of a vegetarian diet. In a video for the animal-rights organization, he says, “As a WWE superstar, staying healthy and having a lot of energy helps me succeed in the ring, and that’s why I choose to be a vegetarian. My vegetarian diet allows me to lead a healthier lifestyle, reduce my carbon footprint, and save the lives of more than 100 animals every year. I’m stronger and healthier than ever, and I feel good about doing something positive for myself, animals, and the planet.”
Photo credit: PETA
Carl Lewis is one of the United States’ most decorated athletes. Standing tall at 6’3″, this former track and field athlete competed from 1979 to 1996, racking up nine Olympic gold medals, one Olympic silver medal, eight World Championship gold medals, one World Championship silver, one World Championship bronze, and three Pan American Games medals (two golds and a bronze). He was also drafted by both the NBA and the NFL, although he opted not to play in either league. All this and he’s a vegan — now that’s what we call impressive.
So, just how did his meat-free diet enhance his career? Lewis says, “In the spring of 1991 – eight months after beginning to eat vegan…I was drinking 24 to 32 ounces of juice a day. I ate no dairy products. And I had my best year as an athlete ever! You have total control over what you put in your body. No one can force you to eat what you don’t want to eat. I know that many people think that eating a vegetarian diet – and especially a vegan diet – will require sacrifice and denial. Jannequin Bennett demonstrates…that eating vegan does not have to be tasteless and boring. As she says, ‘vegan eating is a truly indulgent way of life, as vegans regularly partake of the very best foods that nature has to offer.’ Your body is your temple. If you nourish it properly, it will be good to you and you will increase its longevity.” Well said, Mr. Lewis.
Photo credit: Manfred Werner
Michael Clarke Duncan
Actor Michael Clarke Duncan is the 11th guy on our list, and we’re including him as a bonus. He’s not a vegan (yet!), but he adopted a vegetarian diet three years ago, and is a prime example that meat is not necessary to maintain a strong, manly physique (according to Wikipedia, he’s 6’5″ and 315 pounds). The star recently teamed up with PETA to advocate his animal-friendly diet, which helped him lose weight and improve his overall health.
In the video for the campaign, he says, “The best thing about being a vegetarian for me, number one, is I know I’m not harming any animals. The number two thing is increased strength. I’m a lot stronger than I was when I was eating meat. Most of your most powerful animals in the wild are vegetarian, so I’m trying to get my strength to that level…Don’t think that you have to have these gigantic steaks to get your protein. The protein you put in from the beans, legumes, fresh fruits, and vegetables will last way longer, and you’ll get more out of it than you will in that 12 ounces of meat.”
Photo credit: PETA
This pretty much proves it — there’s nothing un-masculine about abstaining from meat. On the contrary, these guys all concur that it’s not possible to be healthy, fit and strong on a vegan diet, it’s actually easier! And not only are they taking care of themselves, they’re also helping to save lives and protect the planet. That level of kindness is just plain hot.
Featured image: Shutterstock.com
About China DeSpain Freeman
China DeSpain Freeman is an Atlanta and San Antonio based writer and blogger. She loves pop culture, animal rights, health and fitness, international travel, books and wigs. You can find more of her work at themodernista.comand writefork.com. Follow China on Twitter: @ChinaDeSpain
Could there be a greater controversy in the health realm than the vegan vs. omnivore debate over protein? If you’ve been living a plant based lifestyle for a while now, you probably chuckle when someone makes a comment like “there’s no way you can get enough protein from vegetables”, or the alternative, you might get a little bit annoyed after hearing it for the 100th time. But let’s face it, there’s a ton of confusion surrounding what we should eat in the world, and some of us have been downright convinced that vegetables are nothing more than water.
My intention is to show what’s possible if you’re choosing to go plant based and opt out of animal protein, for whatever reason. Maybe you’re hoping to heal a dis-ease or health condition, lower your blood pressure, lose weight or increase your energy. These are all common reasons for choosing plants over flesh. But before we get into it, let me be clear that this post is in no way pushing plant based living as the only way to live. In this world, we must live according to our individual paths, and for some of us that means consuming animal flesh and for others it means consuming plants.
My greatest concern when it comes to consuming animals, is the disregard we’ve developed for the animals life, the abuse and suffering that goes on in factory farms, and the inevitable consequences on our bodies when we consume the stress, hormones, anti-biotics and fear based energy of those animals. I could go deeper into why some animal products don’t contribute to healthful living, but this post isn’t about that. For a lot people living in modern urban areas, hunting for food or purchasing from a local organic farmer is not an option. This is a problem, and the solution is going plant based. It’s far safer for you to consume a plant based diet, than to consume factory farmed meat, eggs, milk or dairy.
So What Are Some Reliable Plant Based Protein Sources?
- Sprouts of all kinds are nutritional powerhouses with a high protein content ranging from 20-35% protein. Not only that, but they’re also excellent sources of nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
- Broccoli sprouts contain 35% protein
- Pea Sprouts contain 25% protein
- Dark Green Vegetables will serve your protein needs and provide your body with calcium, chlorophyll, vitamins, minerals and amino acids
- Broccoli contains 45% protein
- Spinach contains 30% protein
- Kale contains 45% protein
Nuts & Seeds
- Nuts & Seeds are also sources of good healthy fats like omega 3, 6 & 9′s. There is a concern however surrounding the overconsumption of omega 6′s and not getting enough 3′s. For this reason, eating nuts and seeds as part of a raw, vegan or vegetarian diet shouldn’t be considered the main protein source but used in addition to other foods with a lower fat content like sprouts & green vegetables.
- Hemp Seeds are the only food known to have a perfect harmony of omegas 3,6 & 9. They’re also 22% protein.
- Pumpkin seeds are 21% protein.
- Almonds are 12% protein per ounce.
- Spirulina is about 68% protein and also helps detoxify the body. It’s packed with vitamins and contains EFA’s (essential fatty acids).
- Chlorella is about 60% protein and is known for it’s rapid tissue repair properties. It’s a great food if you’re very physically active or have higher protein requirements. Use it in your shakes to help speed up recovery times.
Gabriel Cousens discussed the use of spirulina and chlorella for protein supplementation in an interview with Dr. Mercola. He gave an example of someone who wanted to consume 45g of protein per day (which is almost twice as high as what the American Nutritional Journals and World Health Organization recommend). If you were to consume 2 tbsp. of spirulina or chlorella with each meal (let’s say in a juice or smoothie), you would easily hit this mark for protein.
Sunwarrior Raw Vegan Protein
Visual Examples of Fit, Muscular Vegans
I’m excited to share these examples of super fit, muscular looking vegans that Caleb and I have come across in our googling adventures. Since coming across these amazing examples, we’ve begun to connect with some of them as well so we can continue to give you insight into what their diets and lifestlyes really look like. Stick around to watch this protein discussion evolve in the very near future.
Vegan Bodybuilder Frank Medrano
Female Vegan Bodybuilder Marzia Prince
Ultimately, it comes down to personal choice. There are many different lifestyles you can follow, some will make you look really good and fail you when it comes to nutrition, and some will serve you not only through physical results, but through internal results.
A plant based lifestyle can provide a host of benefits, many of which I touched on already and in aprevious post on protein. Some people will be quick to judge and say this cannot be true, but those same people have likely never tried a vegetarian diet, let alone a raw vegan diet. When we open our mind up to possibilities, we gift ourselves the chance to experience optimal health, whatever that looks like for us. The key is to be open to experimentation. If your current lifestyle isn’t working for you, considering giving a plant based lifestyle an honest shot. Even a 7 day trial is a great place to start!
I’d love to hear some of your favourite protein sources in the comments below!
Learn how to integrate raw foods into your lifestyle in our 3 months course How to Go Raw, Not Crazy!We’re taking a few more student testers, if you’d like more details on how you can get a discount on registration you can email us with the subject line “how to go raw”.
Why High Animal Protein Diets Age You Faster
Animal Protein and the Environment
How can environmental issues contribute to aging? Polluted air and waterways contribute to the toxic sludge that builds up in your body over time, depleting your energy and keeping your body from functioning at its optimal best.
Production of animal products has a profound impact on the environment, contributing significantly to water and air pollution. Factory farms generate nearly 2 billion tons of animal waste every year. In fact, about 20 tons of livestock waste is generated for every household in the United States. All of that waste has to go somewhere. Unfortunately, where it often winds up is seeping into groundwater, being dumped in the waterways, and winding up in the foods we eat and the water we drink.
Animal production also contributes to toxic gases in the environment. The butchering, processing, and shipping of animals consumes more than 1/3 of fossil fuels used in the United States. These fossil fuels dump dangerous and toxic chemicals into the air we breathe, further increasing your toxic load.
Animal Protein is Acidic
Your body functions within a very narrow range of pH at about 7.0, which is slightly alkaline. When the foods you eat move your body out of this range of alkalinity, the cells don’t function properly. In these cases, your body then seeks to pull mineral salts from cells and bones in order to restore alkalinity. This can result in free radical formation, which accelerates the aging process. It can also contribute to bone demineralization, which leads to weakened bones and, ultimately, osteoporosis.
Animal protein is one of the most metabolically acidic foods humans eat. It creates conditions of acidity within the body after ingestion, forcing the body to seek to return to an alkaline state through demineralization of the bones and the cells. The result of eating significant amounts of animal protein is accelerated aging.
Antibiotics and Hormones
Factory farmed animals exist in almost incomprehensible conditions. Instead of roaming free and feeding on the natural foods available in pasturelands, factory farmed animals are piled nearly one on top of the other with very little room to move about freely. This results in easily spread infection and fecal contamination. To combat this, factory farmers supply antibiotics in the animals’ feed as a preventive measure.
Because there is such demand in the Western diet for animal protein products, factory farmers also seek ways to enhance the animals’ growth so they reach maturity far more quickly than their normal life cycle would indicate. To do this, they supply hormones in the animals’ feed to enhance growth and increase production.
If your food consumes these things, then so will you when you eat that food. Factory farmed animal products are laden with hormones and antibiotics. In many cases, the animals are also filled with the pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and genetically modified food products the farmers’ use to feed them. This means that you, too, are ingesting pesticides, genetically modified products, and fertilizers every time you eat a factory farmed animal product. This increases the amount of toxic sludge in your body, which keeps you from efficiently digesting the foods you eat, absorbing nutrients, and using your life energy well.
Antibiotics in animal proteins also kill the beneficial flora in your colon. That flora is essential in intestinal health. Why is intestinal health so important? Because your colon serves as one of your body’s chief organs of detoxification. When it doesn’t function properly, then your colon is unable to thoroughly and efficiently eliminate the toxins that age you.
Most of the products you find in grocery stores come from factory farmed animals. Even animal proteins labeled as “organic” or “natural” may be laden with these toxins. If you do eat animal protein, I recommend purchasing them from a trusted local source that uses sustainable ranching practices, allowing the animals to reach maturity naturally while grazing on indigenous, organic plants.
Animal Proteins and Putrefaction
Your body does not digest animal proteins well under the best of circumstances. If you regularly eat animal proteins, then chances are they are not digesting. Instead, the proteins putrefy in your colon and become part of the toxic sludge, blocking efficient digestion ofhealthier foods that contribute the important enzymes and nutrients to keep you youthful and energetic.
Vitamins, Minerals, Fiber, and Enzymes
Aside from having protein and vitamin B12, animal protein has very little to offer nutritionally- being devoid of fiber and low in vitamins and minerals. Furthermore, unless you are eating it raw, animal foods have been heated, which denatures the amino acids which make up protein chains, reducing the actual amount of protein your body is able to use and assimilate. When you fill up on animal proteins, you don’t eat as much of the nutritious foods your body needs for vibrant health, such as raw green veggies. Similarly, animal proteins may keep you from consuming the fiber you need to clean your intestines.
Eating to Prevent Aging
An anti-aging diet, then, is one that is low in animal products (including meat, dairy, and eggs). Instead, it is high in beneficial raw plant foods like green vegetables, other vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. These foods fight the free radicals that age you. They also create alkalinity in the body, protecting cellular function and promoting health.
April 9, 2012, 3:55 PM
Live From the Cutting Room FloorBy MARK BITTMAN
I was a guest on “Up w/Chris Hayes” Saturday, talking, it seemed, about everything: a bit of an ambitious agenda. When I go back, the conversation will continue.
Meanwhile, since the initial topic was “pink slime,” about which I wrote last week, I used my pre-air time in the studio to outline the issues I thought were worth mentioning. We didn’t get to a tenth of this, so I thought it worth posting.
(I was taught never to apologize for a story submission, but these are close to stream-of-consciousness. But hey: that’s why god invented blogging.)
Perhaps you’ll find some things of interest:
1. Democracy. Are we entitled to know what goes in our food? The answer’s easy, but Big Food thinks it’s “no.” It’s not just ammonia in beef, it’s arsenic and antibiotics – banned antibiotics at that, and Prozac and all kinds of drugs – in chicken and pork. It’s growth hormones in milk, it’s genetically engineered ingredients in just about everything. And we’re told about none of this unless some concerned and often courageous citizen or journalist starts making noise about it.
That’s what’s been encouraging about this pink slime business (and that’s what’s encouraging about ag-gag laws) – how hard it’s being fought. Not that we’re going to get rid of it, not because it’s a major issue in the great scheme of things — it matters, of course, but there are many other, greater problems — but that public pressure is causing changes, like improved labeling. (Almost everyone polled wants to know whether there are genetically engineered products in their foods, and whether ultimately that’s important or not doesn’t really matter, if it’s something everyone wants.) Public pressure can also reduce our reliance on factory farms and industrial agriculture in general, public pressure can make our food supply safer and better, and in turn make us a healthier country.
That’s why the pink slime campaign is important: it’s a victory for public pressure over corporate power and therefore one for democracy. Note, too, that this happened nationally, which shows once again that noisemaking and protests are good for more than local issues.
2. Why is this happening in the first place? Pink slime and E.coli/salmonella; the chicken arsenic and inspection issues about which Nick Kristof wrote last week, cuts in funding at the U.S.D.A., F.D.A., E.P.A., and so on … what we’re seeing are budget cuts as a form of deregulation, and that deregulation is geared toward allowing producers to raise the animals in our food supply any damn way they please, in the most profitable way possible.
As anyone who’s been following these issues knows, cattle are meant to eat grass, not grain. Yet most cattle are fed grain, almost exclusively, and grain messes with their digestive systems. Those cows’ messed-up stomachs become breeding grounds for E.coli — which can cause kidney failure and death — and salmonella, which is rarely deadly but can be extremely unpleasant. (You know how when you have the flu you want to die? Like that.) To combat this, producers must use boatloads of antibiotics — 80 percent of all antibiotics used in this country are given to animals, and the vast majority of those are given prophylactically — and resort to techniques like treating meat with ammonia or (perhaps a shade less distastefully) irradiation.
You might argue that these are public health measures, and in a perverse way they are — they’re making an unsafe product less so — but why do we need them in the first place? Because our production methods create problems. And Big Food, which finds these methods enormously profitable, wants us to deal with the symptoms of the problems (wash tainted meat in ammonia) rather than the problems themselves (raise healthy cattle). To defund programs that attempt to bring those production methods — the real problem — under control, to make them safer, better and healthier, is the equivalent of defunding sewage systems because we’re able to wash down our streets with ammonia. If you get my drift. It ain’t pretty.
3. The jobs issue: I am really annoyed about the “this costs jobs” nonsense, which is simply a line Republicans dredge up when they don’t like something. They’re not complaining about Apple doing all its manufacturing in China, and they don’t make noise when auto workers are laid off, and they certainlydon’t care when budget cuts reduce the number of ag inspectors or administrators in the SNAP program. They only kvetch about job losses when it suits them politically.
We need to push Democrats to have more spine to support intelligent measures even if they “cost jobs.” The extreme example is tobacco: I’m sorry if tobacco farmers can’t sell their crop, but their crop breeds death; I’ll be sorry, too, when Americans stop eating so much meat and people in that industry start losing jobs. I’d be sorry for people on the automatic weapons assembly line if gun control ever develops any teeth. (I’ll be sorry for the unemployed grief counselors, too.)
But if a product means death for you or your neighbor or the environment, we simply shouldn’t be producing it. If people lose their jobs as a result, I’m sympathetic, but we can’t be supporting a process that poisons our citizenry. The extreme example would be to complain about health care workers losing their jobs if we were to eat less industrially processed food and get healthier as a result. If the only way to keep unemployment “down” is to employ people creating deadly products or dealing with their consequences, maybe that’s worth looking at.
If you want to create jobs in the food supply, let’s have real farmers raise real animals, and let’s double the number of inspectors, so we can create jobs that protect people, not jobs that kill them. Sheesh.
4. Finally, a word about Michael Taylor, the so-called food safety czar who is a former Monsanto lobbyist. At the moment we have little room for hope that the food system will be fundamentally changed, but it’s not precisely Taylor’s fault. The changes we need to see are not forthcoming because a) they’re not priorities for the Obama administration and b) even if they were, the administration would be fought to death on them.
I do want to remind everyone, however, that candidate Obama thought G.M.O. labeling was a great idea; President Obama, evidently, doesn’t care so much. Yet a million people signed a petition asking the F.D.A. to mandate labeling of G.M.O. foods and in polls, something like 80 or 90 percent of Americans want that to happen. The fact that it hasn’t happened is not Taylor’s fault, but because Monsanto still has a disproportionate amount of influence, which it would no matter who was in charge of this stuff. Margaret Hamburg, ostensibly Taylor’s boss, is one of the good guys.
Not that I’m in favor of Taylor, and not that I think he’s going to be helpful in getting G.M.O.s labeled. But once again, he’s a symptom — not the disease.
Arsenic in Our Chicken?
Published: April 4, 2012
Let’s hope you’re not reading this column while munching on a chicken sandwich.
Damon Winter/The New York Times
Nicholas D. Kristof
Nicholas Kristof addresses reader feedback and posts short takes from his travels.
Plan to Let Poultry Plants Inspect Birds Is Criticized (April 5, 2012)
Times Topic: Factory Farming
That’s because my topic today is a pair of new scientific studies suggesting that poultry on factory farms are routinely fed caffeine, active ingredients of Tylenol and Benadryl, banned antibiotics and even arsenic.
“We were kind of floored,” said Keeve E. Nachman, a co-author of both studies and a scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Center for a Livable Future. “It’s unbelievable what we found.”
He said that the researchers had intended to test only for antibiotics. But assays for other chemicals and pharmaceuticals didn’t cost extra, so researchers asked for those results as well.
“We haven’t found anything that is an immediate health concern,” Nachman added. “But it makes me question how comfortable we are feeding a number of these things to animals that we’re eating. It bewilders me.”
Likewise, I grew up on a farm, and thought I knew what to expect in my food. But Benadryl? Arsenic? These studies don’t mean that you should dump the contents of your refrigerator, but they do raise serious questions about the food we eat and how we should shop.
It turns out that arsenic has routinely been fed to poultry (and sometimes hogs) because it reduces infections and makes flesh an appetizing shade of pink. There’s no evidence that such low levels of arsenic harm either chickens or the people eating them, but still…
Big Ag doesn’t advertise the chemicals it stuffs into animals, so the scientists conducting these studies figured out a clever way to detect them. Bird feathers, like human fingernails, accumulate chemicals and drugs that an animal is exposed to. So scientists from Johns Hopkins University and Arizona State University examined feather meal — a poultry byproduct made of feathers.
One study, just published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, Environmental Science & Technology, found that feather meal routinely contained a banned class of antibiotics called fluoroquinolones. These antibiotics (such as Cipro), are illegal in poultry productionbecause they can breed antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” that harm humans. Already, antibiotic-resistant infections kill more Americans annually than AIDS, according to the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
The same study also found that one-third of feather-meal samples contained an antihistamine that is the active ingredient of Benadryl. The great majority of feather meal contained acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol. And feather-meal samples from China contained an antidepressant that is the active ingredient in Prozac.
Poultry-growing literature has recommended Benadryl to reduce anxiety among chickens, apparently because stressed chickens have tougher meat and grow more slowly. Tylenol and Prozac presumably serve the same purpose.
Researchers found that most feather-meal samples contained caffeine. It turns out that chickens are sometimes fed coffee pulp and green tea powder to keep them awake so that they can spend more time eating. (Is that why they need the Benadryl, to calm them down?)
The other peer-reviewed study, reported in a journal called Science of the Total Environment, found arsenic in every sample of feather meal tested. Almost 9 in 10 broiler chickens in the United States had been fed arsenic, according to a 2011 industry estimate.
These findings will surprise some poultry farmers because even they often don’t know what chemicals they feed their birds. Huge food companies require farmers to use a proprietary food mix, and the farmer typically doesn’t know exactly what is in it. I askedthe United States Poultry and Egg Association for comment, but it said that it had not seen the studies and had nothing more to say.
What does all this mean for consumers? The study looked only at feathers, not meat, so we don’t know exactly what chemicals reach the plate, or at what levels. The uncertainties are enormous, but I asked Nachman about the food he buys for his own family. “I’ve been studying food-animal production for some time, and the more I study, the more I’m drawn to organic,” he said. “We buy organic.”
I’m the same. I used to be skeptical of organic, but the more reporting I do on our food supply, the more I want my own family eating organic — just to be safe.
To me, this underscores the pitfalls of industrial farming. When I was growing up on our hopelessly inefficient family farm, we didn’t routinely drug animals. If our chickens grew anxious, the reason was perhaps a fox — and we never tried to resolve the problem with Benadryl.
My take is that the business model of industrial agriculture has some stunning accomplishments, such as producing cheap food that saves us money at the grocery store. But we all may pay more in medical costs because of antibiotic-resistant infections.
Frankly, after reading these studies, I’m so depressed about what has happened to farming that I wonder: Could a Prozac-laced chicken nugget help?