Contrary to popular belief, consumption of meat and/or dairy at every meal, or even daily, is not necessary for optimal health and wellness. In fact, diets high in meat – especially red meat and ultra-processed meat – have been repeatedly associated with an increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and premature death. While it is true that animal products contain substantial amounts of protein and iron, these foods are also high in cholesterol and saturated fat. Being at the top of the food chain, agriculture animals also ingest and accumulate high concentrations of toxins from their environment, such as pesticides and heavy metals, a process known as bioaccumulation.
Do you eat meat?
No, I’m vegan, which means I do not eat, use, or wear animal products. With this being said, it is important to understand that my goal in providing nutrition education to the public is to improve public health; which, can easily be achieved by providing science-based nutrition and fitness education and inspiration.
My point is, I am not here to argue with those who believe minimally processed animal products that are raised by small, local farmers who utilize sustainable and humane agricultural practices may be healthful when consumed as part of a plant-based diet. My hope is that everyone will choose to eat clean and green with great respect for the environment and rights and welfare of others.
“The true teacher defends his pupils against his own personal influence.” – Amos Bronson Alcott
Americans’ appetite for meat and dairy also takes a toll on the environment. During the last two decades, scientists have become increasingly concerned about the impact of meat and dairy production on the environment. Producing all of this meat requires massive amounts of natural resources (e.g., land, feed, and water) and widespread overgrazing results in loss of natural habitats and biodiversity. According to a new report published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the livestock sector generates more greenhouse gas emissions than transport.
Excessive meat consumption is considered to have a high impact on the environment, but also poses a risk to public health. In addition to the documented long-term negative effects of meat consumption on individual health, consumption of animal products is also contributing to antibiotic resistance, one of the greatest public health threats of our time.
In September 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released their first report on the subject, Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States. According to the report, more than 23,000 Americans die each year as a result of antibiotic resistant infections. While there is no doubt that the misuse of antibiotics in humans has contributed to the growing threat of antibiotic resistance, the excessive and unnecessary use of antibiotics in animal agriculture is largely to blame.
“A post-antibiotic era – in which common infections and minor injuries can kill – is far from being an apocalyptic fantasy, instead, is a very real possibility for the 21st Century.” – WHO
Tips for Meat Eaters
The lifestyle choices that we make every day have a profound effect on health and the environment. By eating fresh and healthy food, we can greatly reduce our environmental impact, while improving our own health.
Individuals who choose to consume animal products should limit their intake to lean cuts of meat and/or low fat dairy products that are raised by local, small farmers who utilize organic and humane* certified agricultural practices. Considering agricultural animals are the primary consumers of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), individuals who wish to avoid GMOs should limit their intake of animal products to those that were fed a natural diet (free of GMOs).
*There is no single definition of “humane meat,” and many animal advocacy organizations and activists believe that the term is misleading and an absolute myth (i.e., there is no such thing as “humane meat.”). Animals raised on factory farms are NEVER raised humanely, despite the use of labels such as “Cage Free,” “Free Range,” “Grass Fed,” “Organic,” and “Local.”
If you choose to consume fish and/or shellfish, opt for sustainable seafood products that are low in mercury. According to Seafood Watch, more than 90 percent of the world’s fisheries are now fully exploited or collapsed.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women, infants, and children should not consume seafood products containing mercury as the developing brain and nervous system is especially vulnerable to the effects of mercury exposure (even low dose). Babies exposed to mercury while in utero and/or during early childhood may be at greater risk of developing neurological disease including Autism and ADHD. In the photo gallery below you’ll find a poster that provides additional information regarding mercury content of fish and shellfish.
To learn more about my lifestyle, visit the page titled Rebel Lifestyle.
To view photos of my grub, check out the page titled Rebel Grub.
To view meal planning information, head over to the page Meal Planning.
To view shopping lists, visit the page titled Shopping Lists.
Posters and Charts
To view my posters and charts, hit up the page titled Posters.
Pinterest and Facebook
Big hugs and rebel love,
Posters and Charts
Except where otherwise noted, content on this site is licensed under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license. This means you are free to use my work for personal use (e.g., save the file to your computer or share via social media) as long as you do not modify the image or use the image for commercial purposes ($).
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