Green Polka Dot Box

Green Polka Dot Box
Organic Groceries Delievered to Your Door

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Vegetarians live longer, healthier lives!

Compared to people who eat meat daily, vegetarians can look forward to a longer and healthier life.  In fact, vegetarians live about 7 years longer, and and those on a strict vegan diet with no animal products live about 15 years longer than meat eaters according to a study from Loma Linda University.

Red and processed meat intakes are associated with an increase in risk of cancer mortality, cardiovascular disease mortality, and an overall increase in total mortality in both men and women, according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine

Important factors that are linked to a longer life expectancy are elimination of “bad” fats and the inclusion of a multitude of antioxidants to the diet. Vegetarians also tend to have lower BMI values (body mass index) which add years to life expectancy.  It is important to note that a healthy vegetarian diet would include more than 60% whole fruits and vegetables.

The leading cause of premature death in the U.S. is heart disease. This is associated with the consumption of animal fats, particularly from red meat. In reality, heart disease would be more aptly named “artery” disease, because it is the buildup of plaque in the arteries that ultimately leads to the demise of the heart. This is a condition that can actually be reversed or cured with adherence to a strict vegan diet. (Read more on the link between animal fat and heart disease.)

Another leading cause of premature death is cancer of all types, to include prostate cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, and blood cancers. Numerous clinical studies have shown that vegetarians are far less likely to develop cancer of any type, but especially the types mentioned above.  You can find more info on the cancer-diet connection here.

Finally, obesity has become an epidemic and contributes substantially to a shortened lifespan. A healthy diet that consists mostly of vegetables and fruits will fill you up with substantially fewer calories than a diet high in animal fats and protein. Fewer calories translate to less or no weight gain and longer life expectancy.  The connection between meat consumption and obesity has been highlighted in numerous studies.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Meat Production and Commercial Fishing Cause Animal Extinction

Livestock grazing is the number one cause of threatened and extinct species both in the United States and in other parts of the world. 

 In the U.S., livestock grazing accounts for 26% of the species on the federal endangered/threatened list. "The impact of countless hooves and mouths over the years has done more to alter the type of vegetation and land forms of the West than all the water projects, strip mines, power plants, freeways, and subdivision developments combined," states Philip Fradkin of the National Audubon Society. 

Worldwide, especially in the fragile rain forests, it’s estimated that each hamburger made from rain forest beef causes the demise of approximately 25 different plant species, 100 different insect species, and many more bird, mammals, and reptile species.

To satisfy the increasing demand for meat by the world population, enormous tracts of land are used to grow crops to feed the billions of animals raised for food each year. Smithsonian Institute scientists have estimated that the equivalent of seven football fields of land is bulldozed every minute, the majority of which is used to create grazing for farmed animals. About 80% of all agricultural land in the U.S is used in some way for livestock production—that's roughly 50% of the total land mass of the U.S.  It is generally thought that deforestation for the purpose of livestock only happens in third world countries; however, more than 260 million acres of forests in the United States have been clear cut to create crops to grow feed grain for the livestock production industry. 

Also at fault, the commercial fishing industry is causing species extinction in the world’s oceans. In fact, marine ecosystems are on the brink of collapse. The fishing industries have been indiscriminately pulling vast amounts of fish out of the sea, destroying the ecological balance, resulting in the demise of habitat and vast amounts of marine life. Fishing methods that include bottom trawling and long-lining devastate millions of miles of ocean and push many marine species close to extinction.

For more information:
Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Meat and dairy are contaminated with toxic chemicals.

Did you know that by eating one large steak, you could exceed the daily dioxin limit proposed by the EPA.
sunnyside up-SpiegeleiImage by alles-schlumpf via Flickr

Dioxins are some of the most toxic chemicals known to man.  In fact, the EPA has determined there is no “safe” level of exposure.   Dioxins are the byproduct of many industrial processes, yet humans are exposed mainly through their diet of meat and dairy.  The EPA designed the chart below to show how the North American diet is contaminated by dioxins, as presented in the EPA Dioxin Reassessment Summary 4/94 - Vol. 1, p. 37.

Dioxin exposure has been linked to cancer, birth defects, miscarriage, infertility, endometriosis, diabetes, learning disabilities, immune system suppression, lung problems, skin disorders, lowered testosterone levels and much more.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Studies link meat diets to male infertility.

Causes of infertility, data compiled in the Un...Image via Wikipedia

Recent studies have concluded that vegetarian diets play an important role in the production of healthy sperm, whereas diets high in animal fat contribute to male infertility:
  • A diet of red meat had a negative impact on the sperm implantation rate according to a study published by Brazilian scientists  in Fertility and Sterility, November 2011. This study also concluded consumers of red meat had a diminished chance of pregnancy.
  • A 2011 study by the Harvard School of Public Health links a diet that includes high intakes of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, to healthier sperm.  Conversely, diets heavy in red meats and processed grains had a detrimental effect on sperm motility (the ability to swim towards the egg). 
  • A 2005 study from the University of Rochester concluded that infertile men were twice as likely to have low intake of fruits and vegetables compared to fertile men.
  • Researchers in Spain have also noted a relationship between food intake and male infertility in a 2009 study. They noted that frequent intake of animal fat such as milk and red meat has a negative effect on sperm quality, whereas high consumption of fruits and vegetables maintain and improve sperm quality.
The causal relationship is unknown, however, scientists suspect the beneficial effects of natural antioxidants found in whole fruits, vegetables and grains may help to keep sperm healthy.

Men who regularly consume meat also have higher levels of PBDE, a substance used in flame retardants, and known to cause infertility.  Studies in Canada have found significant PBDE contamination in red meat, poultry, butter, cheese and salmon.

For more information:
Enhanced by Zemanta

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The cure for heart disease is a plant-based diet.

Bill Clinton - yes, I took this photoImage by Creativity+ Timothy K Hamilton via Flickr
Can heart disease be cured by a vegetarian diet?  Bill Clinton decided to switch to a vegan diet in order to stay healthy and to reverse his heart disease and he has gone public with his lifestyle choice in an effort to alert the public to the fact that heart attacks are completely preventable through a plant-based diet. There is substantial evidence to indicate that heart disease is not a fate of bad genes or age, but is largely the result of unhealthy food choices.  In particular, a sustained consumption of animal protein over many years is probably the main culprit that triggers plaque in the arteries, the precursor to heart attacks and strokes.  Even thin, active people who do not smoke are not immune from heart disease if they include animal protein in their diets.  

It is a common misconception that one’s blood cholesterol numbers are predictive of future heart problems.  In reality, that number is useless because that number does not tell you whether cholesterol is building up in the form of plaque on the arteries. Much more important is the amount and type of LDL, a component of cholesterol, that is circulating through the blood.  Large particles of LDL are not particularly dangerous; however, small particles of LDL can catch and build up on the lining of the arteries, and eventually occlude the blood flow to the heart.  Result:  heart attack.

Diets high in animal fat, such as red meat, eggs and dairy are known to increase the ratio of the bad cholesterol (LDL) to good cholesterol (HDL).  Switching to a plant-based diet, such as the Ornish diet, has proven to actually reverse plaque build-up.  This is a feat that statin drugs have never been proven to accomplish.  

According to the American Heart Association, in the US alone, over 50 billion dollars a year are spent on heart bypass procedures annually, and a heart attack occurs ever 30 seconds. All this  in spite of the fact that heart disease is completely preventable through a plant-based diet.  

 Related articles
Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, November 11, 2011

Processed meat doubles the risk of Type II Diabetes.

Bacon!Image by Dinner Series via FlickrDid you know that eating just two strips of bacon or one hot dog a day will DOUBLE your risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus? A study published in 2011 by the Harvard School of Public Health shows a very strong link between consumption of processed meats and type 2 diabetes.  This was a huge study, consisting of 442,101 participants—almost 30,000 of which went on to develop type 2 diabetes during the study.

Processed meats include items such as hot dogs, packaged lunch meat, deli meats such as pastrami and breakfast items such as sausage and bacon.  Only a single serving of one of these items a day will double-up your odds of eventually becoming diabetic.  Even if one avoids processed meats altogether, the consumption of a single 100 gram serving (3.5 oz.) of unprocessed red meat each day, such as a hamburger or steak, also increases diabetes risk by almost 20%. On the other end of the scale, the Harvard study shows that replacing red and processed meat with healthier proteins, such as nuts or whole grains, can significantly lower the risk.

What are the consequences of diabetes?  It is the leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, and amputations of legs or feet not due to accidental cause.  

Here’s a scary fact:  According to the CDC, if current trends hold, 1 out of 3 people will have type 2 diabetes by 2050.  Just last year, almost 2 million new cases were diagnosed.  If these trends are not reversed by shifting the world to a healthier plant-based diet, the current health care systems will be overwhelmed.

Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes accounting for 90-95% of all cases. It is caused when the body loses its ability to produce and use insulin, which is the hormone that converts sugars into energy. When this happens, glucose and fats remain in the blood, and over time will cause the body to degenerate.

It is suspected that the nitrates used to preserve processed meats as well as the higher amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol in both processed and unprocessed red meat are responsible for triggering type 2 diabetes. 
Related articles
Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Meat production costs taxpayers billions of dollars.

cattle_feedlot_04Image by NDSU Ag Comm via Flickr
It is impossible to calculate the extraordinary monetary costs when taking into account the huge environmental and medical impacts that are produced by the ever increasing demand for meat.   What is the cost of a rain forest?  What is the cost of a fatal heart attack?  What is the cost of a polluted water supply?  Obviously, these are things that cannot be measured to any degree of accuracy in monetary terms.

There are, however, costs to eating meat that can be calculated, and American taxpayers would be surprised and shocked to know that billions of their tax dollars are used to coddle and subsidize the industrial livestock corporations.  The US subsidizes land use, water use, insurance, environmental clean-up and feed grain for the multi-billion dollar conglomerates that monopolize livestock operations today. 

The US started subsidizing grain during the depression in order to help the farming community made up mostly of small family farms.  However, in this day and age, the main beneficiaries of these subsidies are large agribusiness corporations who buy over half of subsidized feed grains.  US subsidies significantly depress the price of agriculture commodities, which serves little benefit to the local farmers, but gives huge economic advantage to the transnational livestock industry.  The price they pay for feed grain is below the farmer’s cost of production.

The US state and federal governments also subsidize the ridiculously high amount of water it takes to produce livestock. It is estimated that 2500 gallons of water are used to produce just one pound of beef, and yet livestock producers pay pennies on the dollar of what urban taxpayers pay for their tap water. 

The US taxpayers also subsidize the livestock industry by charging them a token grazing fee of only $1.35 per month for one cow and her calf to graze on federal lands.  Sadly, the Obama administration recently rejected a proposal to increase those fees, leaving the taxpayers to pay the costs of maintaining the land and mollifying the environmental impacts of compromised wildlife habitat, water quality, scenic views, and native vegetation.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, November 7, 2011

Diets high in animal protein increase risk of breast cancer.

Pink RibbonImage via WikipediaWomen who frequently eat meat substantially increase their risk for development of breast cancer.  Countries with the highest rates of consumption of animal protein correspondingly have the highest rates of breast cancer.  A Japanese study showed that affluent women who consumed the highest amount of meat were 8.5 times more likely to develop breast cancer than poorer women who rarely, if ever, ate meat. (Hirayama T. Epidemiology of breast cancer with special reference to the role of diet. Prev Med. 1978;7:173-195).  Many other studies come to the same conclusion, as cited by The Cancer Project, sponsored by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

How meat contributes to increased cancer risk continues to be studied.  It is suspected that the residue of growth hormones that are used liberally by the cattle and dairy industries may contribute to the risks.  Other known and proven risks are the HCA’s, a family of carcinogenic compounds, which are produced when meat is cooked at high temperatures, such as grilling and frying.  Lastly, the high content of saturated fat in meat products is known to be responsible for increased incidence of most types of human cancers. 

A diet rich in vegetables, fruits and legumes, has been shown to help protect women from breast cancer.  (European Journal of Cancer, Volume 36, Issue 5, March 2000, Pages 636-646).  In particular, cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cauliflower, have a strong protective effect.  A recent study also showed walnuts to be protective. For women recovering from breast cancer, a diet high in vegetables and fruits, combined with exercise, improved survival rates by 50%.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, November 4, 2011

Diets high in meat are linked to high blood pressure.

US Navy 070808-N-4954I-021 Hospitalman Brian R...Image via WikipediaIt is no wonder that the DASH diet, was rated by experts as the most healthy and nutritional diet in US News and World Report. The DASH diet was originally designed to treat hypertension (high blood pressure), and includes a whopping 8-12 servings of fruit and vegetables per day. Admittedly, the diet does allow up to 2 servings of lean meat per day, but would the DASH diet be even more effective if meat servings were eliminated? In fact just one single high-fat meal can increase blood pressure. (Jakulj F, Zernicke K, Bacon SL, Wielingen L, et al. A High-Fat Meal Increases Cardiovascular Reactivity to Psychological Stress in Healthy Young Adults. J Nutr. 2007;137:935-939). 

According to Dr. Rashmi Sinha, a nutritional epidemiologist at the National Cancer Institute, elevated blood pressure has been shown to be associated with eating more red and processed meat. 

There are numerous studies that indicate that diets rich in fruits and vegetables are greatly beneficial in reducing all the risks of heart disease, in particular hypertension. This can be attributed to the abundant amount of antioxidants in fresh produce. Scientists also believe that the nitrates found in plant food plays a big role in reducing hypertension. Nitrates can be found in spinach, lettuce, and it is particularly high in beets. In one study, participants who drank two cups of beet juice had a significant drop in blood pressure one hour later, and the beneficial effects lasted up to 24 hours. Vegetable protein high in glutamic acid is also known to lower blood pressure—to include soy beans, peppers, and lentils.
Enhanced by Zemanta