As you may have read here, My husband and I are not vegan’s or vegetarian’s, but we do try to eat a mostly plant based diet. We might have meat on Sunday’s at our massive family dinners, but during the week, we are plant based. I can’t remember the last time I cooked meat. The man who got us really motivated to adopt this way of life was Rich Roll. His book, Finding Ultra, gave us the final kick we needed. His dramatic transformation from out-of-shape mid-lifer to one of the top endurance athletes is inspiring and amazing.
As he talks about in his book, when some people go ‘vegan’ or ‘vegetarian’ they really don’t become much healthier because they think that as long as they aren’t eating meat it’s ok- well, that’s not the case. That is why Rich Roll instead calls it: plant based eating vs vegan/vegetarian. Our health begins with what we put on our plate. Here are some reasons taken from Rich Roll, and what I have learned, as to why we believe in the plant based way.
- It prevents, and can reverse, chronic disease. You can count calories all you want, or limit this carb or that and lose weight, yes, but you will not truly be healthy. 1 out of 3 people will die of heart disease in America. 70% of Americans are obese or overweight and our diabetic rates are sky rocketing. Our fast food lifestyle is killing us. Going back to basics and adopting a whole food plant-based diet has been scientifically proven to prevent and even reverse these.
- It conserves water & land. Livestock covers 45% of the Earth’s total land and more than half of all late consumed in the U.S. is used for animal agriculture. The meat and diary industry uses a full third of the entire planet’s rest water. A meat eater requires 18 times the amount of land necessary to feed someone eating a plant-based diet.
- It cuts greenhouse gas emissions. We all hear about global climate change but we really don’t do much about it. We think about fossil fuels or fracking. The one we don’t talk about is animal agriculture. It is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the exhaust from all transportation combined. Let me put it this way, if every single American would not eat just one serving less of chicken per week, it would save the same amount of CO2 emissions as removing 500,000 cars from the road. A plant-based diet can cut your carbon footprint by 50%!
- It helps prevent species extinction and marine life destruction. Animal agriculture is a leading cause of species extinction. I could not believe this when i read it: More than a hundred animal and insect species are lost every day from rainforest destruction. As for marine life, some scientist believe we could see fish-less oceans by 2048. Also, the waste runoff from animal agriculture leads to ocean dead zones- a place so oxygen deprived animal life can not survive.
- It slows deforestation. 91% of Amazon destruction is due to animal agriculture. This is so sad. 1-2 acres of rain forest are cleared every minute for grazing and growing feed for livestock.
- It helps alleviate world hunger. The U.S. alone could feed 800 million people with all the grain that livestock eat. “Hunger isn’t a scarcity issue, it’s an allocation and distribution issue.”
- It boosts athletic performance. I can’t say it any better than a top endurance athlete: “I truly believe that eating plant-based is a secret weapon for maximizing athletic performance, primarily because it optimizes immune system functionality and significantly expedites physiological recovery from exercise induced stress. For the non-athletic, maximizing athletic recovery is the holy grail of actualizing performance potential. If I could do what I’ve done athletically on nothing but plants in my mid and late 40’s, imagine your own untapped capabilities.
Our planetary problems are perilous and profound. The U.S. is the most prosperous nation on Earth, yet we have never been more unhealthy. The standard American diet isn’t just making us sick. And it isn’t just inefficient. It’s outdated tech.”
I am not saying that everyone can make the shift to a plant-based lifestyle overnight. What I am suggesting, and what everyone can do, is to start slowly making changes and see the benefits for yourself. I challenge you!! Don’t eat meat for every meal. Adopt a few nights a week to try a plant based recipe. Make your meat portion much smaller and increase your other sides instead. These are things you can do and I promise you will see the difference. If you need some motivation- go read Rich Roll’s book, Finding Ultra and order his cookbook, The PlantPower Way.
As you can tell, this man has played a huge role in changing the way I see things and also my overall health. We were planning on going to his Italy “camp” last October but it overlapped with my St George Marathon Race– but, we will go one year, and he and I will do a run together some day, he just doesn’t know it yet ;).