May 03 2020

Is the current pandemic going to turn us all into vegetarians?

Published by at 2:13 pm under General

Is the current pandemic going to turn us all into vegetarians?

As meatpacking plants shut down due to Covid -19, take this opportunity to find healthy alternatives.  

With the current pandemic, we are all having to accept a new way of life. We are adopting new practices, adjusting our schedules, learning new skills, and taking on new roles. As we learn to ‘accept the things we cannot change’, we are adapting in ways we’ve never been forced to before. Are you cooking more? Becoming a home school teacher to your kids? Taking your dog for 5 walks a day? Perhaps you are experiencing some benefits from sheltering in place. Are you exercising more, sleeping more, and enjoying a reconnection with your partner or kids that had fallen by the wayside? While there is a virus lingering out there, it is forcing us to reexamine our practices as a society as a whole and look inwards as well. What are some of your takeaways from all of this? *

There is a new concern looming on the horizon and that is of a potential meat shortage in the coming weeks following the closing of more than 20 meatpacking plants after many employees contracted Covid-19. John Tyson, Chairman of Tyson Foods warned of a “…vulnerable supply chain caused by meat processing plants shutting down due to coronavirus outbreaks…” Depending on how much of a carnivore you are, this could be a very challenging adjustment. How will people improvise? Is Covid-19 going to cause us to reexamine how we eat? Will people be forced to do what health care professionals have been advocating for all along and actually eat less meat in their diets?(1,2)*

“…Study after study shows that meat as a protein source just isn’t that healthy. It’s far better to get that necessary protein from plants. Generally speaking, diets heavy on plant matter tend to be healthier. One recent study found that those eating the most fruit-and-vegetable-dense diets had a 31 percent lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and a roughly 20 percent lower risk of overall mortality than those eating animal-focused diets…”(2,3*

A study done by the  American Diabetes Association showed that those following a vegetarian diet “…had a decreased risk of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of risk factors linked to type 2 diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. Study subjects who avoided meat and poultry products tended to have lower blood pressure, blood sugar, and triglycerides, as well as smaller waists than those who regularly consumed those foods. Researchers also discovered that vegetarians experienced less gastrointestinal cancer, such as colorectal cancer, and that vegan women experienced fewer female-specific cancers, such as breast cancer…”3*

Animal meat does contain valuable nutrients, amino acids and vitamins B12, B5, B6, and B7 along with niacin, thiamine, and Vitamins A and K. It is also high in saturated fat, the fat that clogs the arteries. According to researchers, a plant-based diet that consists of beans, nuts, and seeds, is packed full of similar nutrients with the one exception of B12, which plants can’t produce on their own. Vitamin B 12 can be found in supplement form as well as edible seaweed and in other foods that are fortified with B12.(2,4)*

Pound-for-pound, plant proteins offer more nutrients with fewer calories than animal proteins. They also provide fiber… one thing animal protein doesn’t provide. As we know, fiber is key for healthy digestion and promotes a healthy gut and is also associated with lower levels of cardiovascular disease. (2,4)*

But aside from your health, let’s not forget the other reasons for eating less meat is a positive move. It’s not just about our physical health; it’s about the health of the animals themselves and the health of our planet as a whole. If we cut down on meat production, it is better for the environment.4*

It is estimated that animal agriculture produces more greenhouse gases than the entire transportation industry combined. If individuals would lower or eliminate their meat intake, it would have huge implications on carbon emissions.4*

The other thing that is easy to forget as consumers at the grocery stores when buying our meat so nicely packaged is that animals are slaughtered so we can eat them. I’m not trying to lay a guilt trip, as I eat meat too, but when we stop and take a look at the practices involved in getting meat to our tables, it is pretty disturbing. You can do your own research on that if you choose. The millions of cattle and poultry that are killed each year for our consumption is largely being raised in factory farms where conditions are overcrowded and antibiotics are used to speed up growth and prevent disease. This practice has led to antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the supply chain that threatens us all. If you do eat meat, choose pasture-raised, organic, grass-fed, and ethically sourced animal products. Yes, that can be expensive…which leads to my next point.(4,5)*

Eating meat is expensive. By choosing more plant-based foods you can save a lot of money. Depending on the types of meats you are eating, they can really add up to a hefty grocery bill. 4*

Another factor that is not on the front of the daily news is the severe destruction meat consumption is having on The Amazon Forest. “…The Amazon rainforest is a vast tract of the largely untamed jungle that is Earth’s most biodiverse region, filled with plants and trees and teeming with animals of all types and sizes — including many unknown to science. The world’s largest rainforest, it spans more than 2 million square miles across northern South America. While it is mainly in Brazil, it spans into parts of Columbia, Peru, as well as six other nations.6* 

The Amazon is being destroyed to make space for livestock to graze and to grow feed crops for cattle. Scientists worry that deforestation could destroy the delicate ecological balance of this rainforest and cause the entire ecosystem to collapse.  Should this happen, regional economies would be devastated and we would see the loss of many indigenous species. Read more about the Amazon in Resource 6 below.6*

 While there most likely won’t be hoarding of meat the way there was with toilet paper due to the cost, we will most likely see limits and price increases this may still be a good time to ask yourself, can I do without meat? Or can I at least do with less? It becomes a habit to eat meat at every meal, and there are so many good substitutes. Consider cutting your meat intake back, and you’ll find you will be healthier because you did. As always, continue to support the health of your immune system with a daily intake of Body Biotics™ Bio-Identical SBO Probiotics Consortia™.  A strong immune system is always your best defense.*

Healthiest wishes,

Kelli

www.bodybiotics.com

 

Resources:

  1. https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2020/05/01/meat-shortages-how-worried-should-americans-be/3067983001/
  2. https://www.popsci.com/plant-protein-healthier/
  3. https://www.foxnews.com/health/10-benefits-of-eating-less-meat
  4. https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/11-great-reasons-to-eat-less-meat-even-if-youre-not-ready-to-go-vegan
  5. https://www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/food.html
  6. https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/why-amazon-rainforest-important-ncna1051401
  7. https://www.usnews.com/news/healthiest-communities/articles/2020-05-01/cdc-nearly-5-000-meat-plant-workers-infected-by-coronavirus

 

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