The food we eat — and health, hope & harmony on planet Earth
Let’s begin with our own health — two examples
One. Not too long ago Dr. Oz had three women on his show to test what he called our “prehistoric diet.” Nothing but raw plants. The test was simple, they arranged for the women to live in a tent at zoo in New Jersey for 48 hours. Their results.
- Blood pressure: 128/91 was lowered to 115/72
- Triglycerides: 138 down to 88
- LDL cholesterol: down an average of 37 points
- Weight: average loss was 4 pounds.
- In just 48 hours. And these women were normal looking, not obese.
Impressive results indeed. But how long can you live in a zoo and eat nothing but raw plants? Not for long, agreed the three women. BUT, back at the studio in NY, they learned how they could make a greatly-improved plant-based way of eating — fun, delicious and easy. At the end of the 20- minute segment, he looked them all in the eye and asked them slowly and sincerely:
Do – you – think – that – you – could – stay – on – these – kind – of – foods – for – the – rest – of - your – life?
The answer. A unanimous chorus of ABSOLUTELY along with big smiles and thumbs up all around. (Click for more on that show)
Two. The incredible power of plant-based nutrition to promote health — as proven by many prominent physicians, including Caldwell Esselstyn (Cleveland Clinic) and Dean Ornish (UCSF). Both influenced President Clinton to switch to mostly plant-based eating. Dr. Ornish said it best in his endorsement of our book:
Although heart disease and diabetes kill more people each year worldwide than all other diseases combined, these are completely preventable and even reversible for at least 95% of people today by changing our diet and lifestyle. This book shows you how. (Click to see all endorsements)
Just so you know, we’re not necessarily talking about a vegetarian or vegan diet. We’re talking about a diet-style featuring an abundance of whole, plant-based foods. We know that an “all or nothing” approach doesn’t fly for most people so we have incorporated some flexibility into our 4-Leaf Program of healthy eating.
Now, let’s talk about hope.
There are some pretty important things going on in this world that are greatly affected by what we choose to eat. Let’s talk about four of them briefly.
- Water. To produce one pound of potatoes requires 12 gallons of water. To produce one pound of beef requires 1,560 gallons of water. 75% of the world’s water is used for agriculture (mostly for growing feed for livestock, 20% for industry, and only 5% for domestic use. (Hope for abundant water for everyone)
- Land. To feed the average American requires about 3 acres of arable land. On that same amount of land, you could feed twenty people a health-promoting plant-based diet. And, by the way, there are only 1.1 acres of arable land per person in the world today — and it is dropping fast. (Hope for ending world hunger)
- Energy. It takes two calories of fossil fuel to produce one calorie of energy from soybeans. Sounds high right? Not compared to beef, where it takes fifty-four calories of fossil fuel for that single calorie of energy. (Hope for reducing our dependance on the finite supply of fossil fuel)
- Animal suffering. Not only is our practice of eating animals incredibly wasteful, but it is horribly cruel. The wealthiest 25 percent of the people in the world today are now growing sixty billion animals in horrid, almost unconscionable conditions — for our dinner tables. With a growing population and more people trying to eat our rich Western diet, the number of animals required could soon grow to 100 billion, then 200 billion — where does the madness end? (Hope for the end of this unnecessary animal suffering)
Just think about the huge implications for the above four categories. A move back to the natural, plant-based diet for our species isn’t going to solve all of our problems overnight, but it would be a pretty good start — by far the most powerful single move that we humans can make to promote our own health, lower the cost of health care, nurture our fragile environment, feed the world’s hungry, reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and end the widespread suffering of animals in the world’s factory farms. (Watch “Earthlings” if you’ve got the courage.)
Ultimately, we simply must return to harmony.
Life began on this planet 4 billion years ago and there have been many millions of species of creatures. But we humans are the only species in the history of the world that has not lived in harmony with Nature. In short, we have taken far more than we have given back — and it’s getting alarmingly worse all the time.
In just the last 50 years, humankind has inflicted more damage on the fragile harmony of nature than all previous generations of humans combined — for the past 200,000 years. (Watch HOME, the movie — it could change your life.)
What we have today is completely unsustainable; either we’ll take the initiative to get us back on the right track, or we’ll leave Mother Nature no other choice but to do it herself. The final paragraph in our book reads:
Ultimately, your decision is a simple matter of health, hope, and harmony. As each of us begins to take charge of his or her own health, we simultaneously plant the seeds of hope, accelerating the pace with which the human race can return to living in harmony with nature. Since we consider ourselves smarter than all the other creatures, we should be able to figure out how to make our world a better place. The time for that action is now.
Have you had your blinding flash of the obvious yet? If not, please take another 20 minutes to review my own “big picture.”
If you like what you see here, you may wish to join our periodic mailing list. Also, for help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4-Leaf page. And if you like what 4-Leaf eating is doing for you and your family, you might enjoy visiting our new “4-Leaf Gear” store. From the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.
If you’d like to order our book on Amazon, visit our BookStore now.
—J. Morris Hicks…blogging daily at HealthyEatingHealthyWorld.com
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