The Food Wars

Elements of agriculture and the food industry have been at war with healthy lifestyles for decades.

For example, on one side there is the fast-food, sugar, soda, meat and dairy industry motivated by profit. On the other side, we have the PCRM, who supports healthy lifestyle choices.

I recently read about one of the battles in this food-health war at Yahoo’s Shine Foods. I have no idea how long Yahoo will leave this link active, because Yahoo—curse their stingy RAM policies—usually deletes what they publish after a few days or weeks probably to save space so they don’t have to buy more RAM.

Here’s the headline and link for the Yahoo Shine Foods piece: McDonald’s McDouble: Cheapest, Most Nutritious Food in History? No Way

I think: some brain-dead idiot named Kyle Smith [inspired by another brain-dead idiot who has a podcast through Freakonomics] wrote a column for the New York Post and praised the McDouble’s $1 burger claiming it was a cheap way to eat healthy.

Everyone has a right to his or her opinion in the United States but in this case Kyle Smith is—dead—wrong. Literally!

The truth is that there are three kinds of people out there when it comes to food. There are those who live to eat; those who eat to live and then some who are confused and ignorant.

I belong to the minority who eat to live. The majority—the live to eat people—are usually fat or obese. In fact, more than two-thirds [68.8%] of U.S. adults are overweight or obese. In 2008, medical costs associated with obesity were estimated at $146 billion. Source: CDC

I’m almost sixty-eight and I take no meds; I’m not overweight, and my doctor at the VA says more than 80% of people my age take two or more meds daily because of health problems and those health issues mostly come from lifestyle choices.

What does PCRM stand for?

Answer: The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

Since 1985, the PCRM has been influencing advancements in medicine and science. They advocate for preventive medicine, especially good nutrition, conduct clinical research, and advocate for higher ethical standards in research. The membership includes 150,000 health care professionals and concerned citizens.

PCRM is a nonprofit 501c3 organization headquartered in Washington, D.C.

Imagine that—150,000 doctors, health care professionals and concerned citizens who care about your health even if you don’t care about it.

On the other hand, the meat industry employs 487,600 workers. Their combined salaries total more than $19 billion. In 2009, the meat and poultry industry sales totaled $154.8 billion for-profit industry. Source: meatami.com

America’s sugar industry generates more than 142,000 direct and indirect jobs and almost $20 billion in annual revenues. This is another for-profit industry. Source: Sugar Alliance.org

The revenue for the dairy industry—another for-profit industry—is $38 billion and this industry employs 180,000 people. Source: ibisworld.com

The tobacco industry is also a for-profit industry.

In America we live in a so-called free-choice country. The theory is that Americans may decide if we want an eat to live or live to eat lifestyle even if we don’t know the consequences of our choice.

Who are you going to listen to: Kyle Smith—a big mouth for the meat, sugar and dairy industry—or the PCRM?

Discover Growing up with Oranges

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine, Vietnam Veteran and English-journalism teacher.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

My Vegan Journey, and why I never had a chance to say, “Let lips do what hands do.” – Part 4/4

Regardless of what you might hear from the Sarah Balfours of the world, more than one reputable study proves that vegetarians live longer, healthier lives.

The Huffington Post reported, “The most impressive data arises from a study of 1,904 vegetarians over 21 years by the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsche Krebsforschungszentrum). The study’s shocking results: vegetarian men reduced their risk of early death by 50%! Women vegetarians benefit from a 30% reduction in mortality.”

More recently, medical research has found that a properly balanced vegetarian diet may, in fact, be the healthiest diet. This was demonstrated by the over 11,000 volunteers who participated in the Oxford Vegetarian Study. For a period of 15 years, researchers analyzed the effects a vegetarian diet had on longevity, heart disease, cancer and various other diseases.

The results of the study stunned the vegetarian community as much as it did the meat-producing industry: “Meat eaters are twice as likely to die from heart disease, have a 60 percent greater risk of dying from cancer and a 30 percent higher risk of death from other causes.”

In addition, the incidence of obesity, which is a major risk factor for many diseases, including gallbladder disease, hypertension and adult onset diabetes, is much lower in those following a vegetarian diet. According to a Johns Hopkins University research report on 20 different published studies and national surveys about weight and eating behavior, Americans across all age groups, genders and races are getting fatter. If the trend continues, 75 percent of U.S. adults will be overweight by the year 2015.

The American National Institute of Health, in a study of 50,000 vegetarians, found that the vegetarians live longer and also have an impressively lower incidence of heart disease and a significantly lower rate of cancer than meat-eating Americans.

In fact, even back in 1961, the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that a vegetarian diet could prevent 90-97% of heart diseases.

I wonder how many former U.S. Marines that are Vietnam combat veterans don’t drink alcohol and follow a vegan lifestyle?  Maybe that puts me into even a smaller minority to be discriminated against by the Sarah Balfours of the world.

Return to My Vegan Journey – Part 3 or start with Part 1

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_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

My Vegan Journey, and why I never had a chance to say, “Let lips do what hands do.” – Part 2/4

In 1981, before I became a vegan, I stood six-foot-four and weighed 215 pounds and I did not follow an exercise routine. Due to daily headaches, joint pain, shooting pains throughout my body and indigestion after almost every meal, I carried painkillers and anti acids on me at all times.

If I wasn’t drunk, I was in pain.

I was killing myself with my lifestyle choices and I was so ignorant that I didn’t even know I was responsible. To me, since almost everyone I knew lived the same lifestyle, my life was normal.

Prior to converting to veganism, I came down with annual common colds and flu. Then in 1981 when I was working two jobs, teaching English days in a public middle school and working weeknights and weekends at a nightclub-restaurant combination called the Red Onion in West Covina, I worked with an alien vegan.

In my thirties and single, I was a player and a party animal. In fact, among the Red Onion employees, I was known as Disco Lloyd. Alas, those frantic, dirty dancing days are behind me now.

The cute young vegan I worked with never preached about her lifestyle. In fact, I had no idea she was a vegan until the day almost every employee in the restaurant was sick with the same common cold: the cooks, the hosts, the managers, the maître d (me), the bartenders, waitresses… we were all sick except her—an injustice for sure.

I’m sure many meat eaters will crow “fowl”—that isn’t fair.

Late one night, I asked why she with the “perfect skin” was the only employee that didn’t catch “that” common cold we were sharing with all the customers, and she told me it was because she was vegan. At first I thought she was claiming to have come from Venus, but she explained and cleared up my confusion.

Next, she introduced me to her husband, who was raised as a child to be vegan by his parents. Too bad he was such a nice, likable guy. In addition, he had a fourth degree (or higher) black belt in Kung Fu—move over Jackie Chan.

It was Perfect Skin’s husband that taught me what a healthy vegan diet was and guided me through the year-long conversion.  During that year, my weight plummeted to 160 pounds and then slowly returned to 180 where it stuck—give or take a pound or two fluctuation—for the next twenty-three years.

During the conversion, my skin even turned a bit  green and then orange—because I was drinking lots of carrot juice.

Yes, vegetarian/vegan diets may be unhealthy if an individual does not discover what it means to eat a whole-food vegetarian/vegan diet. Iceberg lettuce salads, carrots, lima beans, ice cream, milk, cake, pie and eggs does not do it.

Colorado State University offers a fact sheet of healthy Vegetarian Diets.  If you are interested in converting, I recommend starting there to educate yourself.

Continued July 3, 2012 in My Vegan Journey – Part 3 or return to Part 1

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_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”