Let me be clear that I’m not advocating any type of diet. In fact crash diet can be detrimental to your health. Especially if the change is so rapid your body can’t cope. However, staying true to satisfying my curiosity (which may kills the cat), I’m one for digging deep into the questions that I encounter in my daily living.
One of it centered around how I can feel healthier?
Previously, having no direction in my life, I did not pay particular attention to health. Not surprisingly, most of the time, I felt lethargic, less able to focus and downright lazy. Around this time, I found out that we can’t run away from the good old adage of how to live a healthy life – simply get sufficient sleep, regularly exercise and eat well.
I am having issues with the last rule – eat well.
Primarily because there are a lot of wisdom out there preaching and lambasting each other by saying their way is the best way. You have low carbs, adkins, low fat, paleo, and vegetarian. Not to mention the myriad subsets of those, you’d be spinning with dizziness trying to make sense of all the diets.
If this was me 2 years ago, vegetarian is the first one to be discarded – coz adopting it will mean I need to give up eating my favorite fried chicken.
As I goes deeper into understanding how should we structure our lives to allow for best performance, I can’t help but notice the common threads with a lot of people that I admired.
For example, Rich Roll is an ultra marathoner whom at 39 years old suffered massive heart attack, overturned his life on a cleaner diet and currently boast running 50 miles a day, as a slow run day.
Then I saw someone like Brendan Frasier who was previous 50K champion from Canada.
What sets them apart from their peers in their exploits in fitness is the fact that they are advocates of vegan diet.
Wait a minute. My previous assumptions about vegan, are that they must be skinny, weak and definitely not healthy due to deficiency of protein. However, I have been floored again and again by seemingly never-ending examples of people who adopt this eating but completely opposite to what most of us would assumed. These ‘vegan’ are the most enthusiastic people I know, they cared so much about how they live and how they are going to impact surrounding world.
The vegan that I meant, is not only those who frowned meats and it’s byproducts, but also an excessive processing, coloring, and preservatives that littered the vast segment of our foods with the ever-present ‘sugar’. It’s beyond my scope in this writing to debunk other type of diets, but in the eyes of above crazy triathlon guys; there are 2 central cases:
Good A Must to Your Health
When we talk about good eating habits; grains, vegetables, legumes, fruits and other raw foods are being marked as a side dish where you can choose about eating them or not. Well, according to these gentlemen; having this important food just as the side dish meant that we’ll be having other food as the main dish. Normally it will be meat or poultry or rice. It’s relatively less harmful if it’s rice, but having too much meat might pose a problem.
In a 2005 book by T Colin Campbell entitled The China Study, loosely deriving his conclusion based on a massive study done in various parts of China geographically with diverse eating habits. He found that people with meat-skewed eating habits are more likely to contract cancer and other first world disease like osteoporosis and kidney disease.
This is baffling, since all this while we have learned in school that protein is good. Well, yes protein is required but not to the amount that we have believed in and perhaps the answer is not all in animal protein.
If I can only bring home one point, it is this.
The best gift that you can gift to your loved ones are good eating habits.
My number one priority to my daughter is the need for her to like vegetables and fruits. Because, I have learned that taste is malleable. The definition of good taste of me and you might be radically different. If you have lived 20-30 years depending on high level of sugar diet or food high that needs to be fried – of course there will be withdrawal syndromes when you are changing.
I propose we do focus on the new good and nutrient dense food rather than focusing on the food that we are giving up. When I am giving up KFC and Mc Donalds, I will make sure I have my beloved fruits around (the blackberry grapes). Do you know that for a McDonald meal, you can have a 500gram of blackberry Australian grapes?
Moreover, I began to notice people who adopt veganism embodies the intangible benefits of an air of peace. They have less digestion issue, less hunger pangs, and downtime (notice the downtime after eating a huge beef rather than a bowl of salad?). This is due to the fact that the body need to divert the energy to digest the meat that you’re eating and as a result less brain function can be executed resulting sluggishness and less able to focus. Sounds familiar?
Eating Clean Saves the Earth
And then I stumbled into Fork over Knives and Cowspiracy. These are documentaries that opened my eyes to the merit of giving up meat. For the longest time, I thought I am being environmentally savvy by being prudent to reduce electricity usage, or be sure to avoid any leaks from my water pipe. What if I told you, those are microscopic effort compared to your choices of your meal?
if you’re eating one hamburger; it is the equivalent of you, using your shower for 2 months! This is due to the fact that to produce one hamburger we would roughly requires 660 gallon of water.
We would notice the effort by the multiple parties to reduce greenhouse gas by advocating sharing of cars or using electric/hybrid cars or giving up car altogether.
Well you know what, these efforts that we do and heard everyday can enable the change to impact 13% of greenhouse gas emissions. This includes all cars, trains and planes and any transportation which emit dangerous gaseous onto our beloved planet. Anyone can guess how many percent coming from livestock agriculture? A whopping 18%.
Wait, I don’t get it. But seeing the effort to combat 13% (transportation) and 18%(livestock agriculture), it didn’t pan out with the right correlation. One would expect that a bigger effort being placed to re-educate our kids that perhaps this is our time to be more responsible. That’s the gist of Cowspiracy.
Maybe there’s a conspiracy blinding us from seeing the big white elephant in the room?
There’s numerous other facts to that tune, and simply opening my eyes to these fact is mind blowing. Eating meat and it’s byproduct is not sustainable to feed 8 billion people. I get that now! Our vote by eating meat or not will directly impact the sustainability of our planet.
What Should I Do?
I am not in any way, asking you to get back and stash away your poultry and meet in your refrigerator.
Nor screaming bloody murder to someone who eat meat, because it’s already deep in our culture.
We have been brought up thinking that meat is good for us. I am still eating chicken (especially fried chicken) but when I ate them, it’s not because I am making excuse to myself that I need protein or my body requires meat to live, it’s because I love the taste. Changing that mindset is the first step that I want to ask and stir.
Just have a long thought and watch these two documentaries, Cowspiracy and Fork Over Knives.
You’re lucky I have given the bits over here, but otherwise you’d be in for huge surprise.