Wasteful, harmful and cruel — the Western diet. (Sound Bites)

Continuing with my “sound bite” series; this is the second in the series.

J. Morris Hicks, promoting health, hope and harmony on planet Earth

Bite #1 — Wasteful. On a per calorie basis, our typical Western diet requires twenty times more land, twenty times more energy and more than twenty times more water than does a whole foods, plant based diet.

As Mark Bittman has reported in the New York Times, it would be difficult to design a more wasteful, harmful and unsustainable diet than the one that we are consuming in the Western world. There is simply not nearly enough land, water or energy for this diet-style to continue for much longer. And the simple answer is right under our noses; it’s what we put in our mouths at every meal.

Bite #2 — Harmful to our health. Dr. Colin Campbell of Cornell estimates that up to 80% of our health care dollars are driven by our toxic Western diet. Want to save a quick $2 trillion?

There is now overwhelming scientific and clinical evidence that animal protein is associated with heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke and osteoporosis — just to name a few. We also know that heart disease and type 3 diabetes are easily reversible in 95% of the cases.  

Bite #3 — Harmful to our planet. The 2006 U.N. Report, Livestock’s Long Shadow, implicated the raising of livestock as one of the primary drivers of land degradation & deforestation, water shortage & pollution, global warming and the staggering loss of biodiversity. 

We are running roughshod over our precious planet in search of animal protein that we don’t “need” in the first place. Just in the USA, the solid waste from factory farms is 87,000 pounds per second (1.37 billion tons per year) and most of it eventually ends up in our water supply. As the world population grows and more people adopt this incredibly harmful diet-style, there is simply no sustainable model that can keep up with demand. 

Bite #4 — Cruel. Sixty billion farm animals are raised in horrid conditions for their entire lives so that less than one third of the world’s population can enjoy eating their flesh.

As Jonathan Foer reported in Eating Animals, if the whole world ate as much chicken per capita as does the United States, we would need to raise 165 billion chickens. The numbers are mind-boggling and completely unsustainable. Then, there are the sea creatures. He also reported that for every pound of shrimp that we eat, that there are twenty-six pounds of by-catch that die a miserable death in the process — creatures like dolphin, swordfish, and starfish.


It’s really mind-boggling to think about these numbers, especially when you realize that all of this madness is driven by our perceived “need” for animal protein in our diet. Not only do we not “need” that animal protein, it is literally killing us — driving our cost of health care to unprecedented levels — 17% of GDP in 2010 and projected to hit 31% by 2035. Harmful, wasteful, cruel and grossly unsustainable — what is the answer to this madness? When does it end?

It ends when this type of information is understood by enough caring and thinking people around the world. Up until now, all of these numbing statistics have been out of sight and out of mind for most. That will only change when we share this kind of information with another few hundred million people. Want more info?

NY Times Columnist Mark Bittman “gets it” about food

NY Times…getting it right when it comes to the cost of “disease care”

Unsustainable…by any measure…more from the NY TImes

Suffering of Animals — Remember Michael Vick?

It’s all about the WATER…huge problem – simple solution

Rethinking the Meat Guzzler by Mark Bittman, NY Times

Promoting vibrant health for ourselves while promoting vibrant health for the planet at the same time -- what could be better than that?

Sound bite series…

  1. Big Picture — First edition (7-21-11)
  2. Wasteful, Harmful and Cruel (7-26-11)
  3. Environment — Land & trees (7-27-11)
  4. Environment — Water (7-28-11)
  5. Environment — Climate change (7-29-11)
  6. Environment — Biodiversity (7-30-11)

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. 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

PS: Occasionally an unauthorized ad may appear beneath a blog post. It is controlled by WordPress (a totally free hosting service). I do not approve or personally benefit whatsoever from any ad that might ever appear on this site. I apologize and urge you to please disregard. 

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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2 Responses to Wasteful, harmful and cruel — the Western diet. (Sound Bites)

  1. Bob says:

    Dear Sal, unless you are one super intelligent chimpanzee, start with yourself and jump off a cliff.

  2. Sal Liggieri says:

    The quicker humans become extinct, the quicker animals can live their natural lives. Humans are destined to self destruct but unfortunately not soon enough.

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