vegansaurus!

05/19/2011

Barnard to Bloomberg: step up your health game!  »

New York City Mayor Bloomberg made a bold statement last week with a proposal to ban the city’s food stamp recipients—all 1.7 million of them—from using food stamps to purchase sugary drinks and soda. Responding in an op-ed, Dr. Neal Barnard took Bloomberg to task by urging him to “include the foods that are really driving the obesity epidemic”—namely, meat and dairy.
Dr. Barnard underlined some alarming statistics from sources like the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, irrefutably linking an animal-based diet to horrific health issues. Omnivores, for example, were found to be more than two times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than vegans—scary!

Dr. Barnard emphasized that a person could use their money to buy anything they desire, regardless of nutritional value or potential harm. But the less money the government hands out for Cheetos, bacon, and Hawaiian Punch, the bigger the incentive will be for supermarkets city-wide to stock their shelves with kale, brown rice, and almond milk. The proposed measure would also include a nutrition education campaign detailing the reasons behind the change. This, in turn, could revolutionize the health of New York City and provide a healthful model for the entire nation and beyond. Predictably, the soda companies have already raised a stink about their “bottom line.”

But the real bottom line is far bleaker: Eating crap—especially meat, dairy, and sugar—increases risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. And eventually, it kills. What you put into your body matters, a lot, and we need to make healthy food more accessible for ALL. Sounds to me like this is just the kind of healthful initiative we need.

[photo by andrefaria on Flickr]

05/10/2011

American diet even sadder than previously thought  »

While the vegan community continues to grow and thrive, it turns out that statistically, Americans in general are still making astonishingly poor food choices.

Though the USDA’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines actually features a dash of helpful information and a pinch of worthy advice—such as suggestions to avoid sodium and refined grains—it also includes some pretty scary statistics. 

In a chart on page 12 called Top 25 Sources of Calories Among Americans Ages 2 Years and Older, we learn what Americans are really made of.  And it’s not looking good.

The top 10 for people over 19:

  1. Grain-based desserts (“cake, cookies, pie, cobbler, sweet rolls, pastries, and donuts”)
  2. Yeast breads
  3. Chicken and chicken mixed dishes
  4. Soda/energy/sports drinks
  5. Alcoholic beverages
  6. Pizza
  7. Tortillas, burritos, tacos
  8. Pasta and pasta dishes
  9. Beef and beef mixed dishes
  10. Dairy desserts

And if that’s not alarming enough, the top 10 for ages two through 18 are:

  1. Grain-based desserts
  2. Pizza
  3. Soda/energy/sports drinks
  4. Yeast breads
  5. Chicken and chicken mixed dishes
  6. Pasta and pasta dishes
  7. Reduced-fat milk
  8. Dairy desserts
  9. Potato/corn/other chips
  10. Ready-to-eat cereals

You read right: The American population is currently made up of glazed donuts, fried chicken, and Red Bull. What’s worse, fruits and vegetables don’t even make the top 25, unless you count “fried white potatoes,” and you’d better not count that.

I don’t know about y’all… but I’m pretty sure it’s about time to stage a Nationwide Kale Intervention!


[Photo
by Kori Ellis via She Knows]

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