By Kristen Johnson
Focusing on our health is a good thing, particularly in light of the travesty that makes up our healthcare system in the U.S. (Or should I say lack of healthcare, given the current dismantling of healthcare in Congress.) In spite of the fact that we should be focusing on preventative care, we instead focus on pharmaceutical care – kind of like trying to fix something that shouldn’t be broken in the first place. Where do we begin to fix our health before our health is irretrievably broken? It’s easy – fix what we put into our mouths.
Food Choices is an absolutely fascinating documentary about just exactly that – choices. We choose what to put into our bodies. Nobody forces us to do it. Choosing a whole plant-based diet is arguably the best thing we can do for our personal health, and science absolutely overwhelmingly backs up that statement. If you want to do the best thing you can do to avoid diabetes, heart disease, and cancer (or to do your best to fight these things if you already have them) – then eating plants is the best way to do it.
The film shows a LOT of experts in nutrition, medical doctors, and (just for fun) several ultra-endurance athletes who live only on plants. The science was really the most compelling argument for adopting a plant-based diet. I particuarly enjoyed the rather lengthy discussion of the various myths associated with refusing to eat meat. It turns out that we don’t need massive amounts of protein to live (in fact, it’s the opposite. It’s absolutely dreadful for our kidneys and other organs.) We don’t need dairy to survive – and, we don’t need nearly the amount of calcium that the dairy-industry would have you believe you need to have to thrive. The only real reason people eat meat is for convenience or taste. We don’t need it to survive!
The primary focus of the documentary is on health, which I really enjoyed. Though I am a vegan for personal ethical reasons, the fact that I am healthier because of it is a nice side effect! In addition to the focus on health, the film does also touch on the environmental effects of meat and dairy consumption as well as the animal-rights bonus.
When it comes to the environment, we already know (or we darn-well should know if you read my blog!) that the meat industry is the number one contributor to global warming and climate change in the entire world. The negative effects of it go way above and beyond use of fossil fuels many times over. What I did not know was that so-called “grass fed” cattle (which is quite the trend these days and includes a number of my personal family members as users) is actually worse for the environment. The land needed for these animals and the water consumption, etc. produces more emissions that the animals that are being tortured on factory farms!
Fair warning that the last 5 minutes of the film focuses on the animal-rights aspect of why a plant-based diet is clearly one of compassion. They do show several film clips. After my many years of reading about factory-farm torture, you’d think I wouldn’t still flinch at it, but I do. It really is as bad as I think it is. Also, the discussion about why we eat cows, pigs, and chickens but not horses, dogs and cats is interesting and thought-provoking. The fact is that we don’t eat our pets because we are culturally conditioned not to eat them. People eat dogs, cats, and horses in other parts of the world and it isn’t any more nauseating or disgusting than it is to eat cows, pigs, and chickens. They are all sentient beings who want to live just like the rest of us. People only eat those animals because they selfishly choose to eat them – not for any health benefit or need. It was also interesting to note the video regarding fish and how they do, in fact, feel pain and the environmental damage to oceans from over-fishing is absolutely unreal. The fact is that when I started out as a vegetarian, I initially ate fish and dairy. I’m incredibly happy that I gave up both after about 6 months and I’ve been a very happy, healthy, compassionate vegan for nearly a decade.
You can view this wonderful film online at: http://www.foodchoicesmovie.com.
Be the change you want to see – for your health, the planet’s health, and the animal’s health.
1 Corinthians 10:31 (NRSV): So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.
Serve all with love.
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