The Way We Eat Affects Our Lives
What We Know About Eating
Most of us realize at some point in our lives that our health is related to what we eat and how we live. Then, eventually, we all try to figure out how we can keep our old habits and still be healthy, since none of us likes to change. Since I have done a little research on this topic, I would like to share what I have found. Maybe it will help you find a way to keep yourself healthy longer.
Causes of Heart Attacks
Heart attacks are the leading cause of death for Americans. Each person in this country eats 225 pounds of meat per year on average. One half of the population will die prematurely due to heart disease. Both fat and cholesterol build in our arteries.
Just like all animals, our bodies make cholesterol. In fact, our bodies make enough cholesterol to meet all of our body's needs. Additional cholesterol added by eating animal products (meat, dairy, fish, eggs), ends up sticking to the walls of our arteries. The problems resulting from blood restriction from cholesterol lead to heart attacks and strokes. (Jane Brody's Nutrition Book)
Forks over Knives
The Pleasure Trap
I had a friend, not overweight, in his early 50's, who was having chest pains and went to the doctor who admitted him to the hospital immediately for triple bypass surgery.
I read all of the literature the hospital gave him because I was curious to see their recommendations on eating meat. Their literature helped me to understand fats and cholesterol a little better. He had to give up red meat, but he could eat chicken without the skin and fish in moderation. His diet was to be primarily vegetables.
Fat: A skinned chicken breast contains about 1.4 grams of fat and .4 grams of saturated fat. Fish contain anywhere from 1 to 21 grams of fat. For fish, fat content varies.
- Cod....1 gr fat. Multiply by 9 = 9. Divide by total calories (120) and you get
....7% fat per portion!
- Mackerel....21 grams fat. Multiply by 9 = 189. Divide by total calories (299) and you get
....63% fat per portion!!
- Cooked Scallops....1 gr fat. X 9 = 9. Divide by total cal.(128) and you get
...7% fat per portion!
Our government says we should not eat more than 30% of our calories from fat. Many doctors think that figure is too high in order to avoid a heart attack. "We have never seen regression of heart disease at that standard, only progression," according to Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, M.D. of the Cleveland Clinic and one of the leading authorities on heart disease reversal.
Cholesterol also builds in veins and adds to heart attack risk. According to Dr. Walter Willett, M.D., Chairman of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health, "The optimal intake of cholesterol is probably zero." Cholesterol is made by animals. The cholesterol levels between chicken and beef are similar.
Shrimp has 6 times as much cholesterol as beef. The amount of cholesterol in chicken is very similar to the amount in beef. The amount in fish, .5 mg. to 1.5 mg., is also very similar to the amount in beef and chicken. There is no cholesterol in fruits, vegetables, nuts or seeds.
Food and Cancer
While on an airplane one day, I was reading a new book on vegetarianism. The man sitting next to me asked if I eat a plant based diet. He and his brother were traveling back from M.D. Anderson Cancer Hospital in Houston, Texas, because his brother was being treated for cancer. He showed me the literature from the hospital that said the cancer patient should switch to a plant based diet.
"Statistics show clearly that the more fat we eat, the more likely we are to die of colon cancer. The more meat we eat, the more likely we are to die of colon cancer. The less fiber we eat, the more likely we are to die of colon cancer." Diet for a New America: How Your Food Choices Affect Your Health, Happiness and the Future of Life on Earth by John Robbins (page 260).
The problem is that cancer cells are always growing in our bodies. Our immune system has to be strong enough to fight them off. Antioxidants in our foods help us do that. All plant foods have antioxidants, according to the USDA.
Our Diseases from Animals
Chicken Pox originated from chickens; Avian Flu originated from birds; Swine Flu originated from pigs, Mad Cow Disease comes from cows. "Scientists have identified Reston ebola-virus--a member of the deadly Ebola group of hemorrhagic fever viruses--in domestic swine from the Philippines. (July, 2008) Ebola is infamous for being highly contagious and causing death rates as high as 90% in some human outbreaks." Scientific America, September, 2009 issue, page 15.
“An estimated 70 percent of all antibiotics used in the United States are regularly added to the feed of livestock and poultry that are not sick–a practice with serious consequences for our health. Bacteria that are constantly exposed to antibiotics develop antibiotic resistance. This means that when humans get sick from resistant bacteria, the antibiotics prescribed by doctors don’t work.” Union of Concerned Scientists, “Progress Curtailing the Use of Antibiotics in the Feed and Water of Animals”
The Food on Your Table
When we sit down to start eating and health enters our mind, we make conscious choices. Is it safer to eat fish as many sources are saying? Let's see, most of our waterways are polluted. So, when you eat fish, not only are you consuming fat and cholesterol, but you are also consuming PCB's, toxic chemicals, lead and poisons. To say that eating fish is healthy because it has some healthy fat is like saying Twinkies are healthy because they contain a little calcium.
When we are eating correctly, we are consuming plant foods. If you want optimal health for a long time, accept the fact that your bad eating habits have to change. With all of the fast food restaurants and advertising out there for animal products, it is a challenge to eat better. But, it is your health, and your life, so you decide.
- Vegetarianism. We have to look at our history as humans to determine what has shaped out eating habits and why. Why do some people choose to be vegetarian?
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