“Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.”
Mindful eating increases our longevity and improves the
quality of our lives. By making healthful dietary choices, we can
avoid the toxins associated with animal-based food sources and
the decreased nutritional value of all highly processed foods.
The majority of environmental toxins come from the foods we eat,
both those derived from animal sources and those that are commercially
processed, whether plant or animal. Animals raised for food are
treated with hormones and antibiotics to increase the amount of
meat produced and to prevent outbreaks of disease. When we eat
these “commercially grown” animals, we eat the same
toxins the animals eat. We also eat the pesticides, herbicides
and fertilizers that are used to grow their food.
At the same time, the commercial processing of food products,
whether animal or plant, robs them of their nutritional vigor,
while introducing potentially toxic elements that don’t occur
in the natural state. Under even the purest conditions, every stage
of fortification and preservation lessens the health-promoting
benefits of all foods, even plants, which are the most healthful
food sources. Research indicates that plant foods with minimal
processing offer maximum health benefits.
By choosing to eat mindfully, we can prevent most, if not all,
of the illnesses that cause nearly 90 percent of deaths in the
United States today. Animal-based diets and those that include
highly processed foods lead to a host of health problems, including
colon, breast, ovarian and prostate cancers. The incidence of hypertension,
stroke, kidney diseases and liver disorders is significantly higher
among those who follow a diet that includes animals.
The China Project, a seminal study conducted by an international
team of researchers, is the most ambitious and thoroughgoing investigation
of its sort. The study established links between animal-based diets
and most degenerative diseases plaguing our civilization. The findings
showed that “[even] small intakes of animal products were
associated with significant increases in degenerative diseases.”
In contrast, a lifestyle that includes plant foods with minimal
processing significantly reduces the occurrence of these diseases,
and can even reverse the progression of advanced diseases of the
heart and blood vessels, which kill more Americans each year than
virtually all other illnesses combined.
Plant-based diets increase longevity and improve the quality
of daily life. Reported physiological benefits include increased
energy levels, stamina and sexual potency, as well as decreased
severity of psychosomatic illnesses such as arthritis, asthma and
diabetes. Psychological benefits of plant-based nutrition include
decreased irritability and anxiety levels, improved clarity of
thinking and a greater sense of well-being and equanimity.
Spiritually, plant-based diets help to protect and preserve our
planet, with ecological benefits that support conservation of Earth’s
water, land and atmosphere. Finally, plant-based diets reflect
a moral and ethical commitment to the practice of non-violence
and compassion for all living beings, including the animals with
whom we share the planet.
Simply put, we are what we eat. A diet that consists of plant
foods with minimal processing promotes wellness and longevity,
with benefits to our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual
health, helping us to live longer and happier lives.