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Why Some People Choose Plant-Based Eating and Living Sustainably: Tips to Go Vegan
It’s garden time and I love the idea of going to get fresh herbs, veggies, and fruits on my deck. This year I am doing raised beds and so far, the plants are doing well. I hope to keep the squirrels far away, so we can benefit from our produce. The changes we make today can affect not only the quality and length of our lives, but our planet as well.
Living sustainably means different things to different folks.
Ultimately, sustainability is about living within our means, and if possible, leaving the planet in better shape for future generations. The term sustainability has been a hot topic of interest lately. Everything is advertised as being ‘Green,’ but don’t be fooled, marketers are just appealing to our emotions.
We all want to believe we’re doing our part when it comes to the environment, but what if there’s more we can do for our health at the same time?
As we all know, the focus of health and wellbeing is surrounded by lifestyle choices, mainly diet and exercise. This is nothing new, but, do you understand the benefits associated with plant-based eating?
Plant based eating is associated with reduced risks of:
-high blood pressure
The environmental benefits include:
-lowering your carbon footprint
According to the United Nations, “choosing healthier traditional Mediterranean, pescatarian, or vegetarian diets could not only boost human lifespans and quality of life, but also slash emissions and save habitat for endangered species.”
The term “carbon footprint” isn’t new, but few understand its meaning. “Footprint” describes the total impact of “carbon” which refers to greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases are various gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. These compounds are released into the environment at alarmingly high rates due to the use of fossil fuels and agriculture.
So how does eating a plant-based diet reduce your carbon footprint?
-consuming less meat reduces the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from livestock production
-less land needed for livestock production equates to more land for carbon-trapping crops
-lower demand for livestock
-by changing to a plant-based diet, the U.S. could meet greenhouse gas reduction goals
When we think of water conservation, we consider watering the lawn less frequently and maybe shortening our showers. However, the livestock industry guzzles gallons upon gallons of our dwindling supply of fresh water. Did you know that approximately 70% of the Earth’s surface is water, with over 95% of this being ocean water?
Now for some hard facts:
-agriculture accounts for 80 to 90 percent of our limited supply of fresh water
-just one hamburger uses 660 gallons (for comparison, an average shower uses approximately 17 gallons of water)
-producing a pound of beef requires a total of 1,800 gallons of water
-it requires about 100 times more water to produce a pound of animal protein than a pound of grain protein
-it takes 1,000 gallons of water to produce just ONE gallon of milk
Livestock agriculture produces large quantities of manure and urine which contaminates our air. Modern farming practices have evolved to keep costs down. Unfortunately, this has resulted in tens of thousands of animals being crowded into small spaces, making the animal waste problem even worse. The concentrated waste being produced equates to approximately 2.7 trillion pounds of manure, which is 10 TIMES that of what is produced by all American citizens.
But what happens to all the waste?
Farmers use ‘manure lagoons’ to store all the waste. While once believed to be safe, in 1995, 25 million gallons of manure and urine spilled from a hog farm lagoon into the New River in North Carolina. This resulted in killing more than 10 million fish and the closing of 364,000 acres of coastal wetlands. Since I am from North Carolina I am very concerned about these hog farms. I have witnessed this myself. Dead Zones have become increasingly apparent and are linked to pollution from animal waste and chemical fertilizers. The Gulf of Mexico houses a 7,000 sq. mile where no aquatic life can survive, making it one of the largest dead zones in existence.
Now that we know the benefits, let’s talk about what plant-based eating actually is. The goal of plant-based eating is to increase your intake of nutrient-dense plant foods while limiting processed foods, oils, and animal foods. This style of eating is healthier because of the limited unhealthy fat intake. Foods to eat more of include vegetables, fruits, beans, peas, lentils, seeds, and nuts.
Numerous studies back the health benefits associated with increasing plant-based foods in your diet while also decreasing processed foods.
Many base their decision to not follow a plant based diet due to the strictness or stigmas surrounding the label vegan or vegetarian. But this doesn’t mean you can’t follow a vegetarian or vegan diet during the week and flex in other foods on weekends.
It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
That’s the beauty of a plant-based diet! If you’re looking for a style of eating that allows a little more flexibility, try the following:
Whole-foods, plant-based, low-fat (Encourages: plant foods in their whole form, especially vegetables, fruits, legumes, and seeds and nuts. Limit: animal products and fat)
Mediterranean (Similar to whole-foods, plant-based diet but allows small amounts of chicken, dairy products, eggs, and red meat once or twice per month. Fish and olive oil are encouraged.)
Studies reveal adopting a Mediterranean, pescatarian, or vegetarian diet could reduce the incidence of type II diabetes by about 25 percent, cancer by about 10 percent and death from heart disease by about 20 percent relative to the omnivore diet. These diets are also associated with lower greenhouse gas emissions and habitat destruction. A win-win!
Ok, so now that we’ve identified the health and environmental benefits of plant based eating and various types of plant-based diets, it’s time to talk food! I have a resource available if you want help for only $27. It’s on this site https://www.mybodysite.com/dr-corinne/plantbasedeating
One thing we haven’t addressed yet is monetary cost. Many people feel plant-based diets are more expensive. While, it’s true that fresh produce can add up quickly, you can do a plant based diet on a budget! Beans are a great meat replacement, simply take your pick of black, pinto, kidney, garbanzo, cannellini, navy, etc!
A pound of beans runs for about $1.20, while a pound of lean ground beef now costs $5.70. That’s a pretty significant difference!
The following offers a comparison of price per gram of different protein sources:
Rolled Oats: 0.7 cents per g
Dry Beans: 1.1 cent per g
Dry Chickpeas: 1.1 cents per g
Dry Lentils: 1.6 cents per g
Brown Rice: 1.9 cents per g
Steak: 4.5 cents per g
Ground Beef: 4 cents per g
Milk: 2.7 cents per g
Ham: 2.6 cents per g
Eggs: 2.5 cents per g
Chicken: 1.5 cents per g
Transitioning to a plant-based diet may seem daunting, but you can start gradually.
-Start by eating more of the plant-based food you already enjoy
-Try adding more veggies into current meals
-Keep your favorite food in the rotation
-Start by eliminating animal foods you don’t eat often
-Meet other veggie friends
-Collect recipes that peak your interest
-Stock your kitchen only with foods you want in the house
-Do food prep straight form unloading grocery bags
Most foods will probably already be offered in your current grocery store, however, don’t be afraid to try somewhere new. Even try going to a different location if you’re set on a particular store. You may be surprised to see different items! Natural food stores can be pricey so look for deals or just shop for hard to find items. Most cities now offer a variety of fresh farmers markets. Buying seasonal and local organic foods will be better for both you and the environment plus you’ll get to support a local farmer. Soaking and sprouting grains can help remove the phytic acid protective covering, making them more digestible in moderation. However, for most people it is best to avoid grains in the early stages of gut healing all together.
Exposure to toxins is unavoidable. We are exposed to them on a daily basis between the pesticides on our food, contamination of our water, pollutants in the air, and chemicals in our common household products.
To reduce and prevent this toxic overload, there are many ways to minimize exposure such as:
- Organic, Non-GMO Foods
- Air Purification Systems
- Water Filters
- Toxic-Free Household Items
To further detox from these toxins, you should implement some of these methods:
- Proper nutrition
- Ample hydration
Or try growing your own garden like I am doing this year!! Make sure you buy organic to reduce your toxic overload.
If you’d like to learn more about the topics covered today, I’ve provided a list of reading materials I have found interesting and helpful:
-The China Study by T. Colin Campbell
-How Not To Die by Michael Greger, M.D.
-A Plant-based Life by Micaela Cook Karlsen
-The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan
-Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal by Eric Schlosser
If you have been having some health issues one of the ways to take action on your health is to test. When someone is having gut issues I always test what foods are causing them inflammation. For your gut to heal you have to remove the foods that are causing an immune system response. A good overall metabolic profile is the best way to determine if you’re following the correct diet, if you need to supplement your diet or make changes to your supplement regimen and to make sure there isn’t anything critical creeping up on you. Many diseases can be seen in the blood long before you have symptoms.
By knowing deficiencies and toxicities that make up one’s metabolic analysis, one can evaluate their lifestyle and make better choices to optimize their health. It’s not easy knowing where to start. Contact us for a professional assessment and laboratory analysis to detect your body’s biochemical and physiological state. Let us help you get on the road to better health … today!
If you want more healthy tips you can subscribe to my YouTube channel here https://www.youtube.com/drcorinneweaver. Like and comment on my channel so I will know what tips and topics you want to know about. I am forming a community of people who want to take action in their own health with my social media channels and I want to know what health topics you want to hear.
I hope my column speaks to you and you can wake up each morning with a purpose. What I do every day is a calling, and I give God the glory for allowing his gifts to work through me. I do believe in miracles, because I get to see them every day! For more information you can go to www.nomoremedsmovement.com and sign up for my closed Facebook group #NoMoreMeds-Community for more healthy tips.
Dr. Corinne Weaver is a compassionate upper cervical chiropractor, educator, motivational speaker, mother of three, and internationally bestselling author. In 2004, she founded the Upper Cervical Wellness Center in Indian Trail, North Carolina. Over the last 13 years, she has helped thousands of clients restore their brain to-body function. When she was 10 years old, she lost her own health as the result of a bike accident that led to having asthma and allergy issues that she thought she would always have to endure. Then, after her first upper cervical adjustment at age 21, her health began to improve thanks to upper cervical care and natural herbal remedies. This enabled her to create a drug-free wellness lifestyle for herself and her family, and she also enthusiastically discovered her calling to help children heal naturally.
Dr. Weaver was recently named one of Charlotte Magazine's "Top Doctors" in 2016 and is now a number-one internationally bestselling author to two books: Learning How to Breathe and No More Meds.
Upper Cervical Wellness Center is known for finding the root cause of health concerns through lifestyle changes, diagnostic testing, nutraceutical supplementation, and correction of subluxation (as opposed to just medicating the symptoms). The practice offers cutting-edge technological care at its state-of-the-art facility, including laser-aligned upper cervical X-rays, bioimpedance analysis (measures body composition), digital thermography (locates thermal abnormalities characterized by skin inflammation), and complete nutritional blood analysis, which is focused on disease prevention.