If I have to be in the waiting room at the auto shop for a while, I usually take a book with me to pass the time. When I took my car in last week though, I planned to hitch a ride home with the courtesy driver, so I could get some work done. I was one unhappy camper to find out that the courtesy driver was out that day.
I flicked through ‘Home and Garden’. Then I searched for an article in ‘Vogue’ amidst the full-page advertisements, and tried to tune out ‘Family Feud,’ a game show that was playing on the TV. Suddenly one of the questions caught my attention. I tossed the ‘Vogue’ down on top of the Carrollwood Gazette, and turned to the TV to listen thinking to myself, “oh, this is going to be good …”
Even though I have personally been on a plant-based diet for most of my adult life, I am a fitness professional, and fully aware of the dietary crisis going on in this country today. I felt deeply saddened as the game show family providing the answers jumped up and down with joy for getting all seven right. Knowing that the one hundred people surveyed reflected the views of the nation also deeply concerned me.
Usually I write articles with a certain amount of clinical detachment, but I cannot do that this time. Fifteen years ago a surgeon told me that I needed to have my gall bladder removed. Even though I was vegetarian, I still ate free-range eggs a couple of times a week. I also absolutely loved super strong Cheddar cheese; not that yellow plastic, melts like a PVC coat on a candle flame type cheese, but ‘brings tears to your eyes’ sharp Cheddar.
I had to make a choice: have surgery despite the fact that the surgeon couldn’t guarantee that I wouldn’t still have problems afterwards, or give up eggs and cheese. I had already given up milk many years before because it made me sick, and eggs – well I could live without eggs – but cheese? How could I visit my family in England and not eat Cheddar cheese? In answer to that question the very thought of eating that greasy fat now makes me feel nauseous – and I still have my gall bladder!
There is another reason why writing this article is a particular passion for me. I regularly work with clients suffering with chronic pain, which is often aggravated by excess weight, type II diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, etc. I am not going to list here all the research linking poor dietary choices to these diseases. If you want to see that information please visit www.pcrm.org, or www.pursueahealthyyou.blogspot.com . I am going to ask you a couple of questions instead. First, how did your list of the National Foods of America check out against the Family Feuds list?
3. Hot dog
4. Fried chicken
5. French fries
6. Ice cream
Second question, if you were representing America at a World Health Summit would you feel proud to present this list to the leaders of other countries? What would you say to them when they state that only animal products contain dietary cholesterol, and have zero fiber? Would you be able to defend the fact that dairy products have been linked to cancer growth and calcium deficiency? How about the growth hormones and anti-biotic crisis that we are facing due to factory farming practices?
Over the twenty-five years that I have lived in the States I have observed pharmaceutical drugs become a food group. Debilitating conditions such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome are popping up like daisies with no apparent cure, only the offer of disease management. People over the age of fifty (and its getting younger all the time) are expected to be afflicted with things like arthritis, acid reflux, high blood pressure, and loss of strength, hearing, and memory. What was I saying again …
What you put into your body is so profoundly important on so many levels. Producing and eating meat and dairy products causes problems not only for the consumer, but also for the planet. Factory farming causes more pollution that the auto industry! Going green makes sense in every way, for every body.
In Yoga, meat is considered Tamasic – dead, dark, and devoid of energy. The Sivananda Companion to Yoga states about eating a Tamasic diet, “The body’s resistance to disease is destroyed and the mind filled with dark emotions, such as anger and greed.”
Eating meat is also contrary to the first principle of Yoga – Ahimsa, meaning non-violence to other beings. Anyone who considers him or herself to be compassionate, could not fail to be touched by the pain, suffering, and sheer despair of the beings in factory farms - and for what? To bring you a substandard food that is putting you at risk for disease.
I truly hope that you care enough about yourself to write your own list of seven favorite foods; and that those foods will be plant based and healthy. Together we can re-write the state of health for our great nation, and be proud to declare The National Food of America to the world!
Maria Bott, Your Blissful Body Coach