There has been a recent push towards a plant-based diet, and less emphasis has been placed on animal-based products–and for a good reason. What was once considered unpopular is now seen as vital to not only our health but the health of the environment as well.
Changing Our Mindset
Our society once had the mentality that in order to build muscle and live healthy lives, we needed to up our protein intake and maintain a “meat and potatoes” diet. It was because of this mentality that I completely overlooked the benefits that a plant-based diet has. Dr. Milton Mills states that there is a common misconception that bodybuilders or men who want to put on muscle mass must eat animal-based protein. He goes on to say that the largest, strongest terrestrial animals in the world are herbivores.
Canada’s Food Guide encourages us to put more emphasis on consuming plant-based foods– about half our plate. The health benefits of plant-based diets show a reduction in high blood pressure, diabetes, coronary heart disease and also improved longevity. Plant-based diets also facilitate all the necessary fats, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals for optimal health while containing more fiber (McManus, 2018).
Danger Of Animal-Based Diets
I recently watched a documentary on Netflix called “What the Health,” where they discuss the negative effects animal-based products have on our health. Experts concluded that each fifty-gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by eighteen percent. According to the World Health Organization, processed meats are classified as group one carcinogen– that’s the same group as smoking and asbestos. Pardon me?!
According to the World Health Organization, processed meats are classified as group one carcinogen– that’s the same group as smoking and asbestos.
Dr. Neal Barnard is quoted as saying, “Diabetes was never caused by eating a high carbohydrate or high sugar diet; rather, it is caused by a high animal-based diet.” Harvard studies show how one serving of processed meats per day increases our diabetes chances by fifty-one percent. As well, large amounts of dairy products such as eggs, cheese, milk, or yogurt can increase a man’s chance of prostate cancer by thirty-four percent. Although the documentary was eye-opening, it was a little frightening to think of what this may have done to my health over the years. However, Dr. Joel Kahn says we can stop and reverse heart disease with a plant-based diet by ninety-nine percent.
On a personal level, I recently transitioned to a more focused plant-based diet and noticed positive changes. When I would consume an animal-based diet, I would constantly feel lethargic while feeling bloated. One of the main reasons for making this change was when I met my wife. I was immediately turned off by the idea of changing diets simply because, well, admittedly, I can be stubborn and did not feel that eating an animal protein-based diet was an issue. Slowly but surely, I came around to the idea, and now I am thankful my wife pushed me to make a change. In my opinion, animal-based diets and the sustainability of our planet do not go hand-in-hand in relation to the health and longevity of the world we live in.
The world we live in is important, is it not? The Bible talks about how we need to be stewards of the earth. Genesis 1:28 says, “Then God blessed them and said, ‘Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.’” Unfortunately, our society has not abided by this principle. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the number one source of water pollution is raising animals for food. Twenty-five hundred gallons of water is needed to create one pound of meat, whereas it takes only twenty-five gallons to produce a pound of wheat. Animal agriculture is accountable for more greenhouse gases than all of our transportation systems collectively (PETA).
Think critically about how your daily choices are affecting the earth and what small changes you can make.
These are just a few of the facts, but believe me when I say there is so much more. We are fortunate to have access to information and research recently uncovered to shed light on the impact we are globally having on our earth and our individual health. God has given us the ability to make our own choices. I encourage you to think critically about how your daily choices are affecting the earth and what small changes you can make. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own, you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies”.