|Hello, I am Vegan!
There are many paths that lead to
The 50 year old man at the doctor's
office, shocked by finding out his blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol
levels are sky high AND he's tested positive for colon cancer;
The school teacher in the classroom
explaining to her students the growing threat of global deforestation,
water and air pollution, and habitat destruction caused by live stock production,
is killing the earth and all of us on it;
The Animal Right's Worker who goes
inside the slaughterhouse for the first time hearing the screams of terrorized
animals and smelling the stench of death as they watch the underpaid employees
risk their own safety, being exposed to personal injury.
All of these are facts. Sad, scary
facts. Yet we all have been subjected to years of a constant stream of
advertisements and endorsements by the powerful meat and dairy industries
telling us erroneously that animal consumption is is not only healthy,
but absolutely necessary for good nutrition, all in the name of turning
a profit at the expense of all of ours health, our local and global environment,
and the realization that all creatures have feelings and families.
In reality, good health and nutrition,
our ecological and planetary wellness, and the acknowledgement that all
of us are sentient beings are all facts that are paths that lead to Vegan.
So let's hear what the experts say;
the people with all the facts:
Fact: The Intergovernmental Panel
on Climate Change (IPCO), describes plant-based diets as a major opportunity
for mitigating and adapting to climate change, and includes a policy recommendation
to reduce meat consumption (Schiermeier, Q., Nature, August 2019).
||Fact: Factory Farms perpetuate
climate change, produce volumes of manure, pollute the air and water, exploits
workers, fuels antibiotic resistance, and harms rural communities (Food
and Water Action, August 2019).
Fact: Plant-based diets are associated
with a lower risk of incident cardiovascular disease, cardiovascular disease
mortality, and all-cause mortality in a general population of middle age
adults (Journal of the American Heart Association, August 2019).
Fact: Large cohort studies demonstrate
that the prevalence and incidence of Type 2 Diabetes are significantly
lower among those following plant-based eating patterns compared with omnivores
and even semi-vegetarians (Journal of Geriatric Cardiology, May
Fact: One University of Toronto study
found that people eating a plant-based diet rich in special cholesterol-lowering
foods lowered their LDL cholesterol by nearly 30 percent in just four weeks
(Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, 2019).
Fact: Campbell and colleagues found
that a group of diseases (notably cancers of the colon, lung, breast, brain,
as well as leukemia, cardiovascular disease, diabetes) were all associated
with a diet of nutritional extravagance - meaning a diet that was associated
with higher levels of blood cholesterol and blood urea nitrogen. These
risk markers were directly associated with the intake of milk, meat, eggs,
dietary fat, and animal protein and inversely associated with dietary fiber
and legumes (Cornell-Oxford China Study conducted in the 1970s and 1980s).
So, now we know that a plant-based
diet is the best possible nutrition for humans, and the best possible answer
to our global environmental problems, as well as animal welfare.
But who wants to give up that juicy
burger, crispy bacon, or delicious savory chicken???
In response to the growing demand,
more than $16 billion has gone into U.S. plant-based and
cell-based meat companies in the past decade, with $13 billion of
it in 2017 and 2018, according to two recent reports from The Good Food
Institute (Jul 22, 2019).
Impossible Foods, known for its very
beef-like plant based burger, announced that it closed a new $300 million
funding round, bringing total venture investment in the company to more
than three quarters of a billion US dollars.
On April 29, Burger King says that
it plans to start serving Impossible Whoppers nationwide (the burger is
already sold in more than 7,000 other restaurants up form just 70 two years
ago and will be in retail stores later this year).
McDonald's is serving a new vegan
burger in Germany and a vegan Happy Meal in the U.K. Nestle has started
selling its own "Incredible Burger" another realistic plant-based burger.
And KFC is testing out a plant-based
alternative that it says tastes just like its original-recipe fried chicken.
I was recently in Montreal and discovered
A&W's Beyond Burger, which was absolutely delicious. And I even found
2 types of fantastic plant-based Poutine (yes, Poutine) at Herbivores Vegetalien
Vegan options can now be found throughout
Canada at Carl's Jr., Harvey's, Red Robin, and yes, even Tim Horton's!
I was also thrilled to find some
of my very favorite brands at the grocery stores: Gardien, Field Roast
Grain Meat Co., and Lightlife Foods.
If you're interested in transitioning
to a plant based diet for your health, or to lessen your carbon footprint
on the planet, help is just a click away: Forks Over Knives is a great
way you can get started. For fantastic recipes you can make at home, Lauren
Toyota (from Toronto) with Hot for Food can be found on YouTube, or go
to her HotForFoodBlog.com... she
makes great Pierogi! And for finding great restaurants, check HappyCow.net.
I hope I've been helpful to you in
improving your life in one of the most meaningful of ways possible...
Cherie Erwin is an Animal Rights
Activist and has worked as a Caregiver for New World Monkeys at Jungle
Friends Primate Sanctuary in Florida. She's been vegetarian for 46 years.
She received her Vegan Chef training and Diploma from the Vegan Society
in the U.K. She built, owned, and operated TV stations in Hawaii and California,
and produced television programming for satellite television. Now, she
lives with her 18 year old cat Else, and the whales and eagles on Whidbey
Island, just across the border from Vancover Island, B.C.