Posts Tagged ‘ vegetarian ’

5% Of The World (America) Eats 16.6% Of The World’s Meat

Friday, March 21st, 2014

3 years, 4 months.

Dear Jack,

There’s this familiar cliché in which a child doesn’t finish all their food at dinner so one of their parents tells them, “What a shame… there are starving children in China right now.”

The implied concept is that by taking more than we need, it means someone else on the other side of the world (or down the street) will suffer a deficiency of that same commodity.

So if you don’t finish your fruit here in America, in theory, a starving child in China will go without a piece of fruit that he desperately needed for nutrition. Yet somehow, if you don’t waste that piece of fruit, the kid in China doesn’t go without.

I think it is important is to live a lifestyle in which we are constantly asking ourselves, “Am I consuming more here than I actually need? Or do I have enough?”

From food, to water, to clothing, to toys.

As I recently pointed out in an infographic, which I have included again at the bottom of this letter, isn’t it peculiar that Americans consume 1/6th (or 16.6%) of the total meat consumed worldwide even though Americans make up less than 1/20th (or 5%) of the total population?

(That’s more than 3 times our share.)

Nutritionists recommend consuming around 3 ounces of meat per day, for those who choose to consume meat, yet the average American eats about ½ pound of meat (8 ounces) per day; that is nearly 3 times the amount that is recommended for nutrition purposes.

Simply put, America consumes around 3 times more than our share of consumed meat; not only in terms of ratio by population, but also by nutritionists’ standards.

Not to mention, the top leading causes of death in America tend to include heart disease, stroke, Diabetes, and cancer.

So I checked out the website for the Physicians For Social Responsibility, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985. Here’s what they have to say:

“In the U.S. we are faced with an unprecedented amount of diet related disease including obesity, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. There are many different contributing factors to these illnesses and over consumption of meat produced in unsustainable manners is certainly one of them.

Diets high in red and processed meat have been found to be associated with greater mortality from cardiovascular disease and cancer. Additionally, such a diet is connected to higher rates of Type 2 Diabetes. Red meats are often high in saturated fats which increase cholesterol levels leading to greater risk of heart disease and stroke

Most Americans eat far more than the serving size recommended by the USDA Dietary Guidelines adding to overweight and obesity rates and the other health problems associated with these conditions. By reducing meat consumption and opting for a more balanced diet high in whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables, these diet-related diseases can be mitigated.”

I believe that with the right mindset, America could begin to learn how to consume enough.

That is a hard word to process, “enough,” because it’s not often easy to know the difference between actual needs and wants versus perceived needs and wants.

Once we begin recognizing when we are taking more than we need, we can begin to figure out how to give that excess to others who actually need our surplus.

Mommy and I recently watched a relevant documentary on Netflix, called I Am, which is about what happens when we as humans take more than we need:

“There is one fundamental law that all of nature obeys that mankind breaks everyday: Nothing in nature takes more than it needs, and when it does, it becomes subject to this law and it dies off… We have a term for something in the human body when it takes more than its share. We call it cancer.”

How can we love our neighbors as ourselves if we have too much while they don’t have enough? Like I said a couple of weeks ago, there is no law that can force people to love each other.

I’m not saying I’ve got it figured out myself, but in teaching you these important lessons in life, I am able to teach myself this lesson on a daily basis.

So when I mutter to you something about kids in a 3rd world country (or in a poverty situation in the next neighborhood over), this is where it’s really coming from.

No, we’re not going to scrape your leftovers into a container and send them to the other kid. Instead, we’re going to put them in the fridge to give you a few days from now.

How can we keep from wasting in our house? My initial thought is that if we have enough to waste, we have too much to begin with.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

Note: This is an opinion piece of the author and does not reflect Parents magazine or the medical establishment.

Veganism
Source: TopRNtoBSN.com

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I Survived A Year Of Being A Vegan, Part 1

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

3 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack,

A year and a half ago, if I would have read a letter like this on the Internet, I would have read it only out of curiousity, but I would have instantly scoffed at the absurdity of it. In fact, about a month before I become a vegan, I remember saying this to a co-worker:

“Vegans are idiots. They are crazy because they are deprived of protein and vitamin B12. They’re not healthy.”

Interestingly, here is what has happened to me in the past 365 days since I have become a vegan, on March 8, 2013.

My severe eczema (dyshidrosis) is forever gone. Not one sign of it even coming back. That’s the biggest thing, but wait, there’s more…

I no longer produce any white or yellow mucus, which now I realize, was the cause of the several sinus infections I got each year from 1992 to 2013.

Similarly, the constant sinus pressure I had for those 21 years also vanished… just two days after I became a vegan. My allergies to animals have completely disappeared as well.

Here’s another grandiose claim for skeptics: My eye doctor was amazed a few months ago when I went in for a check-up.

“How in the world have you been wearing these glasses?! These are way too strong for your eyes. Way too strong. Have you undergone any major lifestyle changes?” she asked.

After explaining that I had become a vegan, she was not surprised. It was not the first case of this she had seen: Eye sight actually improving, after a person becomes a vegan. At age 32, your eyesight typically doesn’t just get better on its own like that; it gets worse.

The absense of animal products in my bloodstream, or as I’ve pointed out before, consuming more than 0% cholestrol but less than 1%, because in my findings, it’s basically impossible to consume more than 1% of your daily cholestrol with plant-based fats alone, causes my body to feel more… balanced.

It wasn’t long before I had no desire to drink alcohol anymore. I’m not saying we don’t have a bottle of red wine in our pantry, but I am saying it’s interesting how it just sits there in the corner, all alone and neglected. I guess Mommy uses it for cooking now.

Similarly, I completely gave up caffeine as well; realizing that it is the world’s most unregulated addictive drug in world. Life is great without coffee, actually.

I realize now the only reason I ever needed coffee to wake up every morning was because I was addicted to coffee: Circular reasoning is all it ever was.

However it’s not only my life that has changed because of my decision. I’ve never pressured you or Mommy to be like me in my “plants only” decision. But I’ve noticed Mommy stopped buying cow’s milk, period. (You two were both already vegetarians before my vegan conversion.)

She now gives you almond milk with dinner, instead of cow’s milk; and uses almond milk to make your mac-and-cheese.

So while you and her aren’t completely vegan, an ounce or two of cheese per week is about the only thing keeping the two of you from being 100% like me.

I will always respect your choice in regards to whether you ever decide to eat animal products. Granted, this is all you know.

By now, I’ve written several letters to you about veganism already, explaining what our family eats to get proper amounts of protein, fat, and nutrients.

A few examples include The Difference Between Vegan And Plant-Based, Part 1… and Part 2… and The Benefits Of Quitting Dairy… and Best Advice For Jay Z On Going Vegan For 22 Days.

Well, I’ve got more to say about this. In fact, I’ve got something pretty cool I want to show you. Make sure you read the 2nd part of this letter.

Click here to read the rest.

 

Love,

Daddy

Note: This is an opinion piece of the author and does not reflect Parents magazine or the medical establishment.
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Daddy, Is Ice Cream Healthy? And Cookies, Too?

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

3 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

Last week your teacher at school introduced you and your classmates to a new concept: that not all food is healthy.

Since then, you have been asking me if every single food item you can think of is healthy or not.

“Is ice cream healthy, Daddy?” you genuinely asked me.

The same happened about cookies, too.

You later asked me about cheesy crackers, though you didn’t bother to ask about cake. However, for some reason, you’ve yet to ask me if vegetables, like broccoli and carrots, are healthy.

I snapped a few shots of your health-related project at school.

You had to decide which pictures, cut out from magazines, best resembled the kinds of foods we regularly buy each week when we get groceries, by placing the cut-outs in a paper sack.

I had to laugh at yours, compared to your friends.

Yours was so… politically correct, as the token vegetarian kid of the class:

Bell peppers, blueberries, tomatoes, and apples. That’s it and that’s all.

What I learned from this is that you are definitely paying attention when Mommy and I pick out the fruits and veggies at Whole Foods. Beyond that? Not so much.

You didn’t choose pasta, bread, beans, or rice, which are all staples in your diet. Just bell peppers, blueberries, tomatoes, and apples.

I’m pretty sure you were the only kid to not include meat in your brown grocery sack.

But with your selection, you made it look like our family is a bunch of fruitarians.

(Yes, that’s a real thing! And yes, technically, bell peppers and tomatoes are considered fruits, depending on who you ask.)

One day you’ll fully understand what meat is. All you know is that the other kids at school eat it but you don’t- you either get soy butter or veggie patties instead- which you love, by the way.

You always think I’m joking when I try to explain what the butchered meat is at Whole Foods. You ask me each week, ‘Daddy, what’s that red stuff?”

But hey… as long as we’ve got bell peppers, blueberries, tomatoes, and apples, though; that’s apparently all we need anyway.

 

Love,

Daddy

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Best Advice For Jay Z On Going Vegan For 22 Days

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

3 years.

Dear Jack,

Today, rapper, record producer, and entrepreneur Jay Z has asked for my advice on his 22 day experiment with veganism, with wife Beyonce joining him.

Okay, well, I should clarify…

Jay Z isn’t asking for my specific advice, but he is asking his fans. Given that only about 2.5% of the American population identifies as vegan, I happen to be part of that curious minority who lives the plant-based life every minute of every day.

While I’m already witnessing on the Internet a wave of criticism for his decision to try out, and possibly stick with, the vegan lifestyle, I happen to be one of the few to actually have some good advice for Jay Z.

Because when it comes to being a vegan, I know what I’m talking about.

I’m not a heckler in the crowd who mocks veganism by saying, “We’re all going to die at some point, right?” Instead, I am a living science experiment for everyone to see.

This very week makes 9 months that I’ve been a vegan (an extremely strict one, too: no honey!) and 2 whole years since I’ve been a vegetarian.

Of course, my dive into the plant-based life was several years in the making, since I started out 5 years ago by going kosher (no pork or shellfish).

And that journey led me here.

So, if by some chance Jay Z happened to read this letter I am privately writing to you today, what would be my best advice for him?

Simplify it…

It’s not about what you “can’t” eat, it’s about what you can.

I break it down into the 6 “Vegan Food Groups” or what I call, “The Big 6″:

Vegetables, fruits, beans, grain, nuts, and seeds. As a vegan, you can eat as much of those 5 things as you want. And it doesn’t take long before you realize that those 6 things are so full of protein, fiber, “good fats” and “good sugar” that you aren’t left wanting for more.

Basically, and this is only my theory, being a vegan means your cholesterol intake is more than 0% (from good fats, like avocados, cashews, coconuts, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, etc.) but less than 1% (because of no animal fats). I think part of the reason vegans feel so much better after nixing animals products is because they are no longer experiencing another living (at one time) animal’s cholesterol and fat running through their veins.

Based on how much better I feel after having become a vegan 9 months ago, I believe the human body functions perfectly on more than 0% but less than 1% of the daily allowance for cholesterol.  (One large chicken egg alone equals way more than half of the daily allowance.) 

Yet, I don’t believe everyone should “go vegan.” It’s something you have to want in your heart, especially after having watched any of the following documentaries on Netflix:

Forks Over Knives, Hungry For A Change, Vegucated, The Beautiful Truth, Dying To Have Known, Supersize Me, and Food, Inc.

Also, it’s important to listen to your appetite. If you’re craving a big, fat, juicy cheeseburger, ask yourself what your body is actually craving.

A large cheeseburger contains a lot of (and by that I mean way too much!) protein and saturated fat.

So, out of vegetables, fruits, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds, which have a lot of protein and fat?

Protein: Vegetables and beans.

Fat: Nuts and seeds. (That includes avocados, cocunuts, and cashews; all of which are in weird food categories.)

But after all that, you’re still craving something sweet, like soda or candy?

Well… how many servings of fruit have your had today?

Craving sweets is your body’s way of telling you that you need the nutrients of fruits, which are packed with “good sugar” (as opposed to Monsanto-drenched high fructose corn syrup) and fiber.

The bottom line is this, your body tells you which of the “Big 6″ (vegetables, fruits, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds) you need.

The problem is, if you’ve grown up with the Western Diet of eating highly processed foods, at first, your brain only knows to speak to you in the form it recognizes by experience.

So you have to retrain your brain on where to get the best source of the nourishment it’s actually wanting.

Granted, this means there’s no such thing as a “quick bite from the drive-thru” anymore.

In the likeness of how Dave Ramsay says you have to tell your money where to go or it will tell you where to go…

You have to plan your meals out days in advance. You can’t leave it up to the mercy of a busy schedule to dictate what and when you eat.

That’s why Mommy keeps a schedule on the fridge so everyone knows all week “what’s for dinner.” (Most of her recipes are from the flawless vegan recipe website: Oh She Glows.)

Anyway, that’s what I’d tell Jay Z if he happened to somehow be reading this.

But, hey, you’re my son, you live with me and know all this stuff already first hand. It’s “normal” to you.

Or, I should say… It’s a plant-based life for us!

Love,

Daddy

Note: This is an opinion piece of the author and does not reflect Parents magazine or the medical establishment.

How to Eat Healthy: Raising Nutrition-Smart Kids
How to Eat Healthy: Raising Nutrition-Smart Kids
How to Eat Healthy: Raising Nutrition-Smart Kids

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Our 1st Successful Diaper-Free Public Outing

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

3 years.

Dear Jack,

So, seriously… this is a pretty big deal in my book. And by “my book,” I’m evidently referring to this ongoing collection of the 846 letters and stories (so far) I’ve already written about you or to you in regards to being your dad, called The Dadabase.

For the first time ever, over Thanksgiving weekend, you traveled in a car to a restaurant not wearing a diaper and didn’t have an accident. That’s awesome!

After Mommy cooked our fancy vegan Thanksgiving feast (and I did the dishes), we were ready for a meal without work required. So Nonna and Papa (my parents) took us out to our to our favorite restaurant, The Wild Cow Vegetarian Restaurant.

While I am sincere in saying that it’s our family’s favorite restaurant, it’s also the only restaurant in Nashville that we ever eat at… unless Whole Foods counts.

I’ve admitted before that you could have probably already been officially potty-trained a few months ago if Mommy and I only had the time to focus on it with you.

But since we don’t, whenever Nonna and Papa drive up from Alabama, they work on that with you.

In the midst of all the Thanksgiving activities, I didn’t realize you were exclusively wearing your new set of Disney “big boy underwear” the whole time.

I remember halfway to the restaurant, driving us in the Rav4 that I was reviewing, thinking, “Oh… Jack’s not wearing a diaper! This could be bad… What happens if he can’t hold it until we get there?”

Not only did you not have an accident, but you went potty, twice, in the Wild Cow Vegetarian Restaurant while we dined on our divine meals.

Mommy and I were so proud of you, we decided it was only appropriate to let you have a special dessert treat: A vegan chocolate cupcake, shipped in from Nashville’s vegan bakery, Khan’s Desserts.

It apparently was so good, you went cuckoo there for a minute…

I have a feeling now that you’ve succesfully been in the car for more than 20 minutes one way in the Rav4, and then back, plus making it through our entire meal without having an accident…

But instead, going potty in the bathroom there, I think Mommy and I are at a good place, concerning your journey of potty training.

It’s not something I’ve let bother me. Maybe I should.

Nor is it something I compare myself to other parents about. Maybe I should.

Really though, I don’t think I have to worry about you. You are so seriously motivated by getting to wear your “big boy underwear” and not getting them dirty, the motivation is there for you already.

All I really have to do is facilitate the situation.

I wasn’t expecting this part to be this easy.

And by the way…

You lasted about 5 minutes in the car ride back home before you crashed on Papa’s arm, for Napsville.

Yeah, you were no match for that well-earned vegan chocolate cupcake.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

Disclaimer: The vehicle mentioned in this story was provided at the expense of Toyota, for the purpose of reviewing.

 

 

 

 

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