The Eco-Impact of Meatless Mondays

I was in Mothers market this week and I found a RAW HUMMUS WRAP that has this on the container

“Adopting a plant-based diet is the single most powerful action an individual can take to stop climate change, end world hunger and save our planet”

This got my attention. So I did my research.

I found that adopting “Meatless Mondays”, we can make a serious impact on our carbon footprint by eating fewer animal foods, according to several studies. Italian researchers performed a life-cycle assessment to evaluate the cradle-to-grave environmental impact of several dietary patterns (European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2006.) They discovered that an organic vegan diet had the smallest environmental impact, while a conventionally farmed diet that included meat had the greatest impact on the environment. The more meat is consumed, the greater the eco-impact. Here are a few reasons:

  1. large amounts of chemical pesticides and fertilizers are used  to produce animal feed
  2. large volumes of water and fuel are needed to take animals to market.
  3. Byproducts of animal food production include high greenhouse gas emissions, toxic manure lagoons, deforestation and pollution of groundwater, rivers, streams and oceans.

Beef  has the single greatest impact on the environment. In essence, animals make inefficient “food production machines” because they use large amounts of feed, water and fossil fuels to turn plants into protein, said the scientists. Producing one calorie from beef requires forty calories of fossil fuels, whereas producing one calorie from grains requires only 2.2 calories of fuel. Thus, plant-based diets can play an important role in preserving environmental resources and in reducing hunger in poor nations.

The EWG found that eating less meat can significantly reduce one’s carbon footprint. If a person ate one less burger per week for one year, it would be the equivalent of driving 320 miles less. And if a four-person family took steak off the menu one day per week for one year, it would be like taking their car off the road for almost three months. If everyone in the U.S. ate no meat or cheese for just one day a week, it would be like taking 7.6 million cars off the road.

Thank the “Meatless Monday” program for fueling the idea that everyone – not just vegetarians – should eat less meat and more plants. Its message is sweet and simple: People and the planet can benefit by eating less meat – so just shun it one day a week. Countless organizations, restaurants, schools and hospitals have jumped onto the bandwagon to celebrate this simple concept.

Sugar Linked To $1 Trillion In U.S. Healthcare Spending

Sugar addiction concept as a human head made of white granulated refined sweet cubes as a health care symbol for being addicted to sweeteners and the medical issues pertaining to processed food.

An article in Forbes magazine in 2013 highlighted the Credit Suisse report on sugar which is worth highlighting.

30% – 40% of healthcare expenditures in the USA go to help address issues that are closely tied to the excess consumption of sugar.” Credit Suisse Report

Assuming a U.S. National Healthcare Expenditure of $3 trillion per year – and further assuming we simply take 33% (the lower end of the Credit Suisse range), the calculation is easy. Basically, the U.S. healthcare system spends about $1 trillion per year (and possibly more) fighting the effects of excess sugar consumption.

The health effects around that excessive consumption of sugar include coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Other known risks – mostly around being overweight and/or obese – include osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, gout, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and cancer. A broader summary list of findings in the 40 page report include these:

The 2012 Global Burden of Disease report highlighted obesity as a more significant health crisis globally than hunger and/or malnourishment.

More than half a billion adults (over age 20) worldwide are obese.

The world average daily intake of sugar and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is now 70 grams (17 teaspoons).

A scientific statement issued by the American heart Association in 2009 recommends that women take no more than six teaspoons of added sugar a day and men no more than nine.

A single, 12 ounce can of regular soda has about 8 teaspoons of sugar.

While the toxic health effects of sugar are generally well known, there is mounting evidence to suggest that sugar has addictive properties as well.

“Sugar may not pose the clear addictive characteristics of illicit drugs such as cocaine and heroin, but to us it does meet the criteria for being a potentially addictive substance.” Credit Suisse

SOURCE : FORBES 

Mind and Modernity

An article in the Los Angeles Times today really got my attention. I am a supporter of “Lifestyle Medicine” and I saw this article that discussed how air pollution, Western Diet and digital screens may influence how are brains work. Do you think? To me, that is obvious. It seems researchers are exploring how all kinds of 21st century conveniences are changing the way our brains work. For better and for worse.

Environmental pollutants — such as car emissions, as well as pesticides among people in farming communities — could also be affecting brain health, some studies suggest. But researchers’ understanding of how they do so, and how significant the effects, is incomplete.  Exposure builds up over decades, these pollutants might contribute to cognitive decline as more and more of us live longer.

What I do know is that STRESS is one of the biggest ways we can damage our brain and risk early cognitive decline. The stress hormone, cortisol, tends to suppress the brain’s ability to engage in systematic thought.