EAT MORE KALE

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One of the ways to reduce the growing threat of global warming is to stop eating animal products and adopt a whole foods, plant-based diet that includes nutritious cruciferous vegetables such as kale, cauliflower and collard greens. Animal agriculture consumes nearly 80 percent of the world's farmland and accounts for almost half of greenhouse gases. According to Oxford University scientist Joseph Poore, a worldwide dietary switch

to a plant-based diet would reduce the farmland dedicated to agriculture by 3.1 billion hectares, an area the size of the African continent. Milk and cheese production alone consumes a land mass the size of China. Poore also points out that such a global conversion could reduce greenhouse gases by 25 percent. "A vegan diet is probably the most powerful change you can make as an individual to reduce your impact on the earth," he says.

 

Abstaining from eating meat and cheese is also better for your health. Scores of peer-reviewed studies show that a diet based on what best-selling author Dr. Joel Furhman calls "G-BOMBS," his acronym for greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries and seeds, can prevent most pathological diseases and in many cases, reverse their progression. A plethora of evidence makes clear that people who eat these nutrient-dense foods, minimize or eliminate their consumption of animal products and processed foods, and get regular aerobic exercise, enjoy longer, happier and healthier lives. In most cases, those who switch to an all-plant diet are able to lose weight and lower their blood pressure and cholesterol levels without the aid of pharmaceuticals. As the ancient Greeks advised, make food your medicine! 

OBESITY EPIDEMIC

According to a recent report in the Financial Times newspaper, American food and drink manufacturers spend one dollar in every ten dollars of revenue on advertising to market fatty, sugary, salty products which have been identified as a cause of obesity, now a public epidemic. In the United States about one-third of adults, over

78 million, are obese. About 12.5 million children and adolescents officially quality as "porkers." Numerous academic and government studies predict that 50 percent of all adults in the U.S. will be obese by 2030 if the pandemic is left unchecked. Soft drinks alone account for seven percent of all calories ingested by the nation's corpulent citizens, making sodas a primary component in the great American pastime known in the food industry as "eatertainment," which is mostly a game of manipulating people to consume more fat, sugar and salt. It is a game with lethal consequences, including various types of cancer, gallstones, osteoarthritis, gout, Type 2 diabetes, coronary disease and hypertension, just to name the major ailments.  

In addition to dietary causes, the rise of obesity and the corresponding impact on heart health is directly attributed to sedentary lifestyles. In America today, less than 25 percent of the population achieves adequate levels of regular exercise. The result is an alarming 40 percent increase in the prevalence of obesity since 1980. According to Lifestyle Magazine, "obesity has been clearly associated with other risk factors for coronary artery disease (CAD) such as hypertension, dyslipidemia and diabetes." 

Despite a significant downward trend in mortality rates from CAD since the 60s, it is still the leading cause of death for both men and women in this country. In 1998, the American Heart Association upgraded obesity from a "contributing" to a "major" risk factor.

Because of the negative impact of obesity on personal health, the pathological condition is a big drain on the national health-care budget--nearly $10 billion a year in medical spending. The American College of Surgeons says that 70 cents of every health-care dollar in the U.S. is spent on treating some malady related to obesity. What's more, obesity is also bad for the planet. A London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine study recently concluded that an average lean individual emits about a ton less CO2 in a year than a fat one. Globally, that means obesity contributes to global warming by adding millions of tons of unwanted greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.