A Doctor’s Advice – A Vegan Lifestyle
Joseph Teel, MD Middletown, Connecticut
A Doctor’s advice
We are living at a time of great historical importance. The world’s current populace and leaders have the ability to improve this world, or continue us on the current path of environmental, social and personal destruction. As we look around our world, one can see ravaging of our biosphere, religious and cultural intolerance and worsening global health. Luckily, a few individuals are trying to change the tide. A small number of people across the globe are making choices to halt environmental destruction, improve their personal and communal health and foster a sense of tolerance for others. These goals are accomplished, in part, by choosing a vegan diet. These same individuals must now expand their circle of influence to span the globe through word of mouth and print. The environmental, personal, spiritual and cultural health of the world must be improved.
Since the dawn of the agricultural revolution that allowed humans to farm, we have dominated our environment. This dominance accelerated with the dawn of the industrial revolution and our need for raw materials, including fossil fuels. Today, we have further hastened this consumption, partially driven by a growing world population and partially driven by an endless need for a higher standard of living. This higher standard also brings a desire to eat richer foods, such as meat. Unfortunately, this wealth and new food choices come at a striking environmental toll. Meat and dairy production are tremendously inefficient, wasteful and polluting processes.
The energy required to produce one pound of meat is fifteen times that needed to produce one pound of grain. We are, therefore, clearing countless numbers of acreage worldwide for unnecessary grain production simply to feed livestock. This livestock production also carries the further damaging side effect of local environmental pollution. Dairy and meat farms contribute a huge amount of noxious run-off to local streams and rivers, contributing to algae blooms and other damaging processes. A view of the Chesapeake Bay prior to the modern protection efforts stands as testament to the damaging effects of dairy/livestock farms upstream. Modern civilization has to take these changes to heart and realize how their daily dietary decisions impact their environment. People must also make a change for their own health.
Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States and is on a marked rise in countries undergoing Westernization. While other factors, like smoking and sedentary lifestyles, play a large role in this pattern, diet and its link to obesity is one of the strongest influences within our society. Americans are unbelievably overweight. More than half of the country is overweight and a large percentage fall into the obese or morbidly obese category. This alarming rise in overweight adults and children is tied to an ever-increasing dependence upon fast, cheap, nutritionally deficient food; most of which is heavily based upon meat and dairy. We have to reclaim our health.
As a physician, I talk to my patients daily about the link between their health and the food choices they make. I explain the need for wholesome, nutritious, low-fat, organic food as a mainstay within our diets. Unfortunately, most people have never experienced this type of food in their lives. They need education and resources; resources including cookbooks like Vegan Fusion World Cuisine. I explain with great enthusiasm the fun and great tasting experience people can have making dishes such as Acorn Squash with Wild Rice Pilaf, or Split Peas and Roasted Parsnip Soup. I want all of my patients to experience the health related and physical benefits of a vegan diet through weight reduction, cholesterol control and improved blood pressure. I also believe people feel better about themselves in the knowledge they are contributing to the health of the world through their daily actions.
Most people in this world want to be good people. We all want to make the world a better place and there are many ways to do this. Some people give their lives to service through social causes, religious organizations, or though their own families and neighborhoods. By doing this, we enrich the lives of those around us and fill our lives with joy and positive emotions. I set forth the adoption of a vegan diet as another personal way to enhance this feeling of positive energy. The knowledge that one’s daily decisions have a direct impact on the world around them is empowering. It reinforces itself. It makes us want to do more good. Starting with ones food choices, we can inspire people to make this world a better place through environmental initiatives, or simply accepting other individuals as equal.
Our world grows smaller daily. Multiculturalism is becoming the norm. Even within the smallest most remote towns or villages across this globe, we see an infiltration of knowledge and ideas. This can sometimes be accepted with open arms, but it can just as easily be rejected. Cultural heritage must be preserved, but we all have to realize the richness foreign influence brings. It adds perspective, tolerance and richness to our lives. This is seen in literature, art and food. Vegan Fusion World Cuisine is a perfect example of this. It exhibits the benefits of cultural exchange and how enriching a variety of influences can be for one’s life.
We are all responsible for our own health and the health of the world around us. While, at times, it may seem an unobtainable goal, we can make this world a better place. We have the power to make changes in our own lives which benefit other humans, animals and the environment. One powerful change we can make is the adoption of a vegan diet. It is an obtainable goal.