I had an interesting discussion with one of my kids last night. This is the son that is most definitely not a plant based eater. He said that it was going to take a lot more than health benefits to get a lot of people to consider changing their diet from standard American diet (SAD) to a whole food plant based (WFPB) diet. He thought that things like cost and convenience were very important. As I’ve already posted on Twitter and Facebook this morning, an epidemiological study in Spain reports that those who spend more on their food generally have a healthier diet and weight. But this is not new information. A 2012 article in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine described “Obesogenic Neighborhoods” and make a clear link between zip code and obesity that was at least as prevalent as genetics. In follow up work, a 2015 article in the same journal was the kind of study that doctors and researchers love. The researchers looked at people who moved into poorer socioeconomic neighborhoods and found that people gained weight after doing so.
But I digress. Rather than cover the science, I thought today I would share more personal information. Here’s why I follow a WFPB diet.
- Health. No secret here, WFPB diet is the healthiest diet we know. While there may be some who “feel” that other diets have health benefits, there is little scientific data to support long term health for any pattern of eating other than WFPB. This is particularly true for those who suffer the “diseases of affluence” like cancer, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, vascular disease and all of the non-disease symptoms that are diet related (like abdominal pain and constipation).
- The Planet. There are not a lot of ways individuals can actually make a difference, but this is one. If you won’t do it for yourself, do it for your planet. If you are such a brainwashed dolt as to believe that Climate Change isn’t real, well, go somewhere else and put your head back in the sand. Don’t worry, it will all be fine, just like Fox News said it would be (or, open your eyes and your mind and do a little research, it’s not hard to find). Everyone else knows that emissions from cars is bad for the environment. It turns out, cows are worse. The impact of methane emissions from livestock is worse than the impact of car emissions. A couple of “factoids” taken from The Purple Carrot website:
- each burger you don’t eat saves the impact equivalent of 320 miles of driving
- If everyone in the USA ate not meat or cheese for one day a week for a year (52 times a year) we would save the impact of 91 billion miles of driving
- Eating WFPB for four days a week is the carbon-savings equivalent of three months with no car for a family of four
- It takes 1,811 more gallons of water to produce a pound of beef vs. a pound of vegetables.
- Because I’m mad about being deceived. Yes, this the “let’s stick it to the man” part of me that is likely a product of being raised in the 1960’s. But this has seen a huge resurgence with millennials in response to “Big Tobacco” and it’s pretty clear that “Big Food” doesn’t want to go the way of Tobacco. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) has been at the forefront of trying to hold the government and “Big Food” responsible. They successfully sued the USDA and in October of 2000, the court ruled that the USDA violated federal law by withholding documents and hiding financial conflicts of interest. In 2011 PCRM again sued the USDA over the 2010 dietary guidelines and “food pyramid” the did not give good guidance to Americans on diet choices. In response, the USDA switched to the “Healthy Plate” model that they still use. PCRM has also petitioned the FTC, USDA, and national dairy organization to stop false and misleading ads about the health benefits of milk consumption, which led directly to a cessation of that promotion. Apparently the Center for Consumer Freedom objects to all of this activity by PCRM and led to this “report“. However, the Center for Consumer Freedom is “The Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), formerly the Guest Choice Network, is an American non-profit entity founded by Richard Berman that lobbies on behalf of the fast food, meat, alcohol and tobacco industries.” This whole nutrition thing stinks of greed and profit through purposeful deception and ignorance. I’m grateful that I have the time, energy and education and interest to pursue this and I truly understand that most of you do not. All the more reason why it should not be so difficult to get the truth.
So, that’s it. It’s why I am a WFPB eater. How about you?