The Truth Is So Far Removed From Your Dinner Plate
New Year, New Me!
At the time of writing this article, it’s just about time for the new year, new me insanity to go in to full effect. Gym memberships will skyrocket, google searches will change to ‘how do I lose weight’. People will buy exercise videos, pay for personal trainers, and buy gadgets that track their daily activity. But just how many of these people will truly understand how powerful the food they eat is.
A study in the United States, released in August of 2013, showed that the human diet is responsible for the most amount of deaths and disability each year. The top things our diet causes? Cancer, cardiovascular and circulatory diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, liver diseases, neurological dysfunction, digestive conditions as well as mental and behavioral health conditions. Whew, that’s a long list! What’s even scarier about this list is that the next item down that causes the most problems is tobacco use. It causes almost 250,000 less deaths and disability each year than our diet!
Here we go again
Ask anyone who is a regular gym member about January and February at their local gym. They’re likely to roll their eyes with annoyance. Why? Because memberships will jump, the gym will be crowded, they’ll have to wait for their equipment. But they’ll go on to tell you that it will fizzle out. People will stop coming by the end of the second week and by the end of February, it will generally go back to normal. Some people will stay the course, a few will become regulars. Year after year after year. And still, people are getting unhealthier and diseases are rising. Because, contrary to popular belief, exercise is a tool, but it is not the answer.
There are no weight loss miracles
Whaaaaat? You know that, right? There is no weight loss scheme or gimmick out there that will allow you to eat whatever you want and remain or get fit and healthy just by going to the gym a couple of times a week. Yet this cycle of eating terribly and trying to burn it off continues, all the while, for the second year in a row, the life expectancy of the average human has decreased again.
Yet, with all of this information, the answer just isn’t clear to the vast majority of people. They continue to push their body to extreme physical exertion, they deprive themselves, they have small successes and bigger failures. They go back to poor eating because it’s easier. They resign to be unhealthy with mediocre happiness rather than hungry and stressed out.
Why aren’t medical providers doing more?
It is well known that physicians spend very little time learning about nutrition in medical school. They have so much to learn about keeping people alive, and so nutrition is put on the back burner, which is very ironic. However, the problem is so much bigger than that. The conversation about nutritional health, one the most important conversations that a physician should have with a patient, is not very useful. Generally, providers say something to the effect of ‘eat less, move more’. Right. What exactly, are people supposed to do with that information when they’ve been taught next to nothing about nutrition since birth? When they’ve been taught that eating animals and dairy is not only good for them, but will help them! And, while some physicians may elaborate and talk about the importance of fruits and veggies, rarely are people advised to seek nutritional counseling. Even if they were, out of pocket costs to see a nutritionist are high and very few insurance companies will pay.
It is what you eat, and always will be
Humans have spent generations eating poorly. Thinking that lean animal protein, dairy and calorie restriction is the answer to over eating, the answer to eating high calorie and high fat foods. A study by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that began a decade ago continues to show that people who eat a well-planned out plant based diet have significantly lower rates of curable disease and body mass index than those who are omnivore. Yet, when presented with the idea of eating plants instead, despite this and other evidence of positive outcomes, of diseases cured, the idea is so often rejected. Those happy neurotransmitters resulting from consuming animal products are so strong that people would rather spend exorbitant amounts of money on gym memberships and activity gadgets and would rather cause themselves exercise anxiety, than turn to eating plants instead of animals.
So how do we change generations of poor diet?
Pro-dairy and animal consumption advertising is released every single day. People are comfortable with these messages. They believe the meanings behind them and they believe in them. Their physicians are omnivores and they trust them. It seems like an insurmountable hurdle, yet more and more people are becoming plant-based every single day. Athletes, celebrities, chefs, physicians, parents and kids are all becoming plant-based.
The stereotype of people disliking and avoiding change stands true here. Education on eating for health is needed, and kind education at that. While the health of the human race is in turmoil, people generally respond negatively to the scary truth. Especially when that truth will make them uncomfortable. If there is any shred of evidence that says consuming animal products is good for you, people will latch on to it and use it as a defense in every discussion. Even more so when the layers and tragedies of the animal agriculture industry begin to become unraveled. It is and will continue to be, very difficult for humanity to face their own complicity in the horror of what animals are put through. Because of that, the conversation has to keep going and going and it has to remain respectful and educational. As much as we would like it to, the change will not happen overnight so preserverance in the face of adversity will prevail.
After all, if the public themselves took so long to recognize cigarettes as a carcinogen, imagine the time it will take for people to believe that we should not eat animals?
The truth is so far removed from your dinner plate. Educate yourself. Join the revolution.
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Please continue to read all about a plant-based and compassionate lifestyle here at Raise Vegan.
Tags: eating plants, getting healthy, gym membership, how to go plant based, lose weight, new me, new year new me, plant based, plant based eating, why is dairy bad, why is meat bad