Thomas Sheffield Sustainability

Health and health care are big issues for our community.  Last year, my family decided we did not like how we were feeling so we changed our diets.  We began eating more fruits, vegetables, rice, fruit smoothies and beans.  We removed meat, bread, sugar, caffeine, sodas and dairy products from our diets.  I was under the impression I could not do without any of those items.  I grew up on meat and bread.  I love cheese and coffee so this was a big switch for me.  It is now time to get back at it.  I have a challenge for you.   The challenge is to go meatless on Monday.

A diet of fruits and vegetables is better for the environment.  First, eating like this minimizes water usage.  Approximately 1,859 gallons of water are needed to produce just one pound of beef.  Approximately 39 gallons of water are needed to produce one pound of veggies.  Secondly, meat production produces significantly more greenhouse gasses than vegetables.  The greenhouse gasses include carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide which are the three main gasses that contribute to global warming.  Finally, eating veggies will also reduce fuel dependence.  The meat industry uses so much energy to produce grain for livestock.  The energy it uses could be used to feed that grain to millions of people.

Let’s look at some ways eating more veggies will benefit your health.  Veggies, fruits and whole grains have been shown to protect against heart disease and stroke.  There is also evidence that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables decreases the risks of several types of cancer.  Research also shows that plant based diets can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.  A plant based diet also leads to lower body weight and body mass index.  This may be because plant based diets are rich in fiber.  These types of diets will lead to longer and more productive lives.

Treating chronic diseases like strokes, cancer, diabetes and heart disease account for 75% of the $2 trillion spent on healthcare.  Reducing these diseases can curtail healthcare spending all over this country.  A plant based diet has  a true affected on your wallet.  Many people save money by adding meatless meals to their weekly menus.  Overall, eating meat tends to be more expensive because producing meat requires an added expense such as feed and transportation.

My personal journey is far from over.  When I eat better,   I sleep better and feel great.  My joints feel better and I think I just feel happier.  It will take time to go through the de-tox, but we all have to start somewhere.   I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and do something to help the environment, your body and the planet by trying out a Meatless Monday!!!!

I want to hear from you.  You can follow me on Twitter @tcsheff

I have also created a new face book page WordsactionChange Initiative. Please share and follow. #wordsactionchange