Wednesday, July 12, 2017
WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Plant-Based Eating
“If people adopted a plant-based diet, the changes we would see in our individual health and our national health situation and in this physical and environmental world we live in would be profound.”
--Dr. Michael Klaper, MD, from the 2017 film, "What the Health" (whatthehealthfilm.com)
Years ago, I made a conscious change in what I eat. There were several reasons, including a desire to actively prevent cardiovascular disease (prevalent in my family) and the awareness that eating plants and grains instead of meat is an easy way to feed everyone on the planet (thank you, Frances Moore Lappe). The fact is that eating meat is a luxury enjoyed by people in first world countries. People in poor countries rarely eat meat because they can’t afford it.
The evidence continues to grow about the improved health outcomes of people who follow a plant-based way of eating. It certainly costs less. For example, a bag of lentils: $1.12 vs a pound of steak: $8.99. According to an article in the July-August 2017 AARP Bulletin, vegetarians save approximately $750 on their food bill each year. In my opinion, the food savings are even higher for vegetarians.
Working with people with diabetes and heart disease, I see the effects close-up of eating foods high in saturated fats (found only in foods from animals) and refined carbohydrates (like added sugars) and the damage they cause. Almost one in ten Americans has diabetes (estimated to be 9.3% according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Health consequences of diabetes include high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease, kidney disease, amputations, loss of vision, neuropathy, and erectile dysfunction in men. Want to spend a lot of money personally and in our total national health spending? Get diabetes.
Please pass the spinach.
With love and gratitude,
Nancy L. Heinrich, MPH
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.