Nutrition: Vegetarian Style
With Earth Day rolling around the corner, I felt an urge to take a few minutes to chat about vegetarianism. As always, I am sharing what has worked for me and my life; no preaching, no judgement, no telling you what you have to eat—just sharing ideas.
Most of us want to help the planet, but often stumble when trying to figure out how to implement our thoughts or ideals into actionable items.
According to ChooseVeg.com, “The answer could be sitting right in front of us — three times a day. By going vegetarian, we can reduce the impact of climate change, rainforest destruction, and pollution, while saving water and other precious resources.
“Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”-Albert Einstein
In regards to the dietary portion of Mr. Einstein's statement, we could spend days delving into the beneficial nuances of vegetarian nutrition: calories, protein synthesis, glycolysis, minerals, vitamins, supplements, micronutrients, macronutrients... the list goes on and on. While those intricate details are important, I feel that we are better served sticking to the basics.
“The beef industry has contributed to more American deaths than all the wars of this century, all natural disasters, and all auto-mobile accidents combined. If beef is your idea of “real food for real people” you’d better live real close to a real good hospital.”-Neal D. Barnard
- Switching to a Vegan Diet (No meat, dairy, or eggs) saves more carbon emissions than driving a Prius by a whopping 50%!
- 30% of the Earth’s land mass is now used solely for raising animals as food
- 70% of the grain grown in the United States is fed to farmed animals. Imagine the impact we could have on world hunger by re-appropriating that food.
- Cattle pasture has taken over nearly 80% of land deforested in the Amazon
- One pound of animal protein takes almost 12 times as much land as one pound of soy protein; it also uses 15 times the amount of water, and 13 times as much fossil fuel
Nutritionally and environmentally speaking, “You can’t out-exercise a bad diet” -Anonymous. Exercise won’t “take back” the environmental impact of your food, nor will it fuel your body with the proper nutrient balance. Food is not the enemy; unhealthy, unethical food is the enemy. Unfortunately, we live in a society where we are constantly “on the go”, and processed food has become the societal norm. We are constantly inundated with media that promotes a “Fast-Food Nation”, and prepackaged lifestyle. Over the past few years, several documentaries have done a phenomenal job illustrating the flaws in the “typical” American diet: Fed Up, Food Inc., Forks Over Knives, Super Size Me, Food Matters, and Hungry For Change just to name a few. These films highlight a silent revolution that emphasizes the galvanization of citizens to become aware of where their food comes from, and why it matters.
"Every time you eat or drink, you are either feeding disease or fighting it" -Heather Morgan
Want to know the good news? YOU have the ability to decide what you put into your body. “Every time you eat or drink, you are either feeding disease or fighting it”-Heather Morgan. Each bite, sip, gulp, nibble, or taste is an opportunity to make a good decision. How empowering is that!?! Once you start being cognizant of what you are putting into your body, it is likely that your actions will change, and you will start to feel better!
Want even more good news? You can eat a clean, healthy, vegetarian diet and still lead a “normal” lifestyle. You can start ever day off correctly with a balanced breakfast, prepare delicious lunches for the work week, eat healthy snacks to get you through the day, have a nutritious dinner at home OR out on the town, and engage in the occasional indulgence. As of late, more and more restaurants are listing their nutritional information on the menu, or online. If the establishment you are dining at does not provide this information, you can typically get a generalization on this site.
I do believe that you have the ability to make empowered decisions that will make you a healthier, happier version of you!
PS: For more Vegetarian and Vegan Quotes from notable philosophers, athletes, physicians, and celebrities--click here