Food. Yes, food. We need it for survival, we actually crave it. It is a resource the average United States citizen thinks nothing about on a day to day basis. We know which foods we should eat, and we eat the foods we shouldn’t. This is why our culture is plagued by food-related illness such as obesity, which can cause a large host of other issues. The food we consume over time can, and will, directly affect our overall health and can set us up for a short, or long, life. Food is one of the unforeseen plagues of our culture in this generation. The most heart-wrenching side of this issue is the vast over-consumption we have here. (Before I continue, I’m not placing blame on individuals, because our culture has instilled these “instant gratification” and “indulgence” ideologies into our lives, and I have been guilty to succumbing as well.) Because the United States has an extremely disproportionate percentage of wealth to its percentage of population, food rarely makes the “worry list” for people here. This is not true around the globe. There are many people in many villages in many countries who literally do not know where their next meal is coming from. I have never in my entire life had to question whether I would have food to eat. I have witnessed extreme poverty such as this first hand, and it is heart breaking. All this to say: appreciate what you have, and don’t take it for granted. Moderation is key. There is, however, another side to the food issues we have in the States. The overall health of our food has been at jeopardy for quite some time. I have included a chart of the food subsidies at of 2005, compared to the FDA recommended nutritional proportions. Can you see how awful it is? We are eating too much of the substances that are awful for us and not enough of those that are good for us because we can’t afford to eat healthy. Lets talk about meat. I hope the sound of bursting bubbles doesn’t deafen anyone, but its a fact that meat is not essential to the human diet. “Lies! How would we get protein?!” Every food item has protein. The difference is what kinds of protein and how much it contains. One can easily obtain more than enough protein through a diet of only fresh, plants and plant-based foods. I’ve been doing it for months now. With this being said, there is no reason for meats, dairy, sugars, and oils to have such a large portion of the food subsidies. They are simply not necessary. We need sugars and oils in our diets, but lo and behold: plants contain sugars and oils. So we have established that we don’t need two large recipients of food subsidies, and we need plants. It’s not that meat and dairy are all together bad. I don’t claim to have a lifestyle that will work for everyone, but I do not a few things:
1. We eat more meat and consume more dairy in the United States than in anywhere else in the world.
2. We know that cultures that consume mostly plant based diets have the lowest risks for cancer, heart disease, and pulmonary artery disease. This still holds true in countries that we would consider to have “primitive” healthcare.
3. We are the most obese nation in the world.
4. Obesity related illness now surpasses smoking related illness as the cause of the majority of deaths in the United States. Also, if one attributes a large percentage of cancer to the chemicals we are exposed to from the food we eat, which modern research suggests is an accurate assumption, that statistic becomes even more shocking.
5. The United States has some of the most relaxed food laws in the world, and even developing nations have stricter guidelines for food production and the substances that can be contained in food.
I’m not saying you need to put down the steak forever, but what I am saying is that if you find yourself in a state of health you don’t want to be in, don’t just take a pill. Feed your body the nutrients it craves and allow it to heal itself.