Well Being (the benefits of Veganism, or at the very least a meat free diet)

"Going Vegan has made me stronger than ever. Since switching to a Vegan diet I'm now fitter than I've ever been.  I punch harder than ever. I'm more determined. I'm faster". 

David Haye  

(ex. World Champion Heavyweight Boxer).

"This is a message to all those out there who think you need animal products to be fit and strong. Almost two years after becoming Vegan I am stronger than ever before and I am still improving day by day. Don't listen to those self proclaimed nutrition gurus and their supplement industry trying to tell you that you need meat, eggs and dairy to get enough protein. There are plenty of plant-based protein sources and your body is going to thank you for stopping feeding it with dead-food. Go Vegan and feel the power!"

AND

"The world's strongest animals are plant eaters. Gorillas, Buffaloes, Elephants and ME".

Patrick Baboumian 

(Multiple Weightlifting Record Holder, Bodybuilder and one time 'Germany's Strongest Man'. PETA Vegan diet Advocate). 

The health benefits of Veganism or Vegetarianism are abundantly clear.

Though it is true that there was a time when the potential for nutritional deficiencies was the discussion, nowadays the focus is more about the real benefits of a meat-free diet.

In an article published in October 2018, Harvard Health Publishing (Harvard Medical School) stated that it was now recognised that plant-based eating is not only nutritionally sufficient but is also away to reduce the risk for many chronic illnesses. The 'American Dietetic Association' are quoted as saying "appropriately planned Vegetarian diets, including total Vegetarian or Vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases." Quite correctly they point out the importance of the "appropriately planned" diet, as of course a diet of pizza, chocolate and fizzy drinks may be Vegetarian but it's not going to end up being healthy. Equally it is clear that switching to a Vegan lifestyle doesn't make you fit and healthy if the Vegan food eaten is double the amount of calories that you need or involves too much alcohol for example.

So, given the Vegetarian or Vegan diet is "appropriately planned" what are the benefits?

Well, compared to meat eaters, they state, Vegetarians and Vegans would tend to consume less saturated fat and cholesterol, and more vitamins C and E, dietary fibre, folic acid, potassium, magnesium, and phytochemicals (plant chemicals), such as carotenoids and flavonoids. In turn Vegetarians and Vegans are more likely to have lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and lower BMI (Body Mass Index). All these factors are of course associated with longevity and reduced risks of many chronic diseases.

Now it is tempered with the understanding that individuals who think about their diets may also not drink too much and may not smoke for example. i.e. those who are conscious of health benefits of diet may also have be conscious of their health in general and make decisions with this in mind, including keeping active and fit.

Even with this consideration here's what the article states has been established already;

"There two kinds of cardiologists: Vegans, and those who haven't read  the data".

Dr. Kim Williams

(President of American College of Cardiology (2015-16), Chief of Cardiology at Rush University, Chicago). 

"Eating a Vegetarian diet, walking (exercising) every day, and meditating is considered radical. Allowing someone to slice your chest open and graft your leg veins in your heart is considered normal and conservative". 

Dr. Dean Ornish 

(US Physician and Researcher. President of non-profit Preventive Medicine Research Institute and Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California).

"All red meat contains saturated fat. There is no such thing as truly lean meat. Trimming away the edge ring of fat around a steak really does not lower the fat content significantly. People who have read meat (trimmed or untrimmed) as a regular feature of their diets suffer in far greater  numbers from heart attacks and strokes".

Dr. Michael Klaper

(American Physician, Speaker & Educator. Author of Vegan Nutrition Pure and Simple). 

"Some people think plant-based diet, whole foods diet is extreme. Half a million people a year will have their chests opened up and a vein taken from their leg and sewn onto heir coronary artery. Some people would call that extreme". 

Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn 

(US Physician, Author and former Olympic Rower. Featured in 'Forks Over Knives').

"When people are eating meat, I think of it as a bit like smoking. It's sort of Russian roulette. You may not get diabetes, but your chances of getting diabetes, about 1 in 3. You may not get cancer, but, your chances, if you're a man, about 1 in 2. A woman, 1 in 3. Your chances of gaining weight, 2 out of 3. It's not all diet, but, most of it is. The best thing you can do to make sure that you empty all those bullets out of the chamber and not taking a risk with your health is to get the animal products out of your diet and eat healthy foods".

Dr. Neal D. Barnard 

(American Physician, Author, Clinical Researcher. Founder and President of 'Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine'). 

Heart Disease: The Harvard Health article cites a combined analysis of 5 studies with data from 76,000 participants. Vegetarians were 25% less likely to die of heart disease.

Cancer: The article confirms that hundreds of studies have shown that eating lots of fruit and vegetables can reduce the risk of cancer, and that indeed Vegetarians do have a lower incidence of cancer than non-Vegetarians, though the difference is minimal. Of course being a Vegetarian naturally gets you closer to your '5 a day' more easily, and certainly cutting out Red Meat from a diet eliminates one risk factor for colon cancer.

Type 2 Diabetes: Studies of Seventh Day Adventists (who avoid caffeine and don't drink or smoke) have shown that Vegetarians' risk of developing diabetes was half those of non-Vegetarians. A Harvard-based Women's Health Study also found a correlation between eating Red Meat (especially processed meats such as Bacon or Hot Dogs) and the risk of diabetes. This even after adjusting for BMI, calorie intake and levels of exercise.

The Guardian reported on another quite remarkable study in March 2014.

Data was taken from 6,381 people aged 50 and over who took part if the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) which tracks a representative group of adults and children across the US. High levels of dietary animal protein in people aged under 65  was linked to a four fold increase in their risk of death from cancer or diabetes, and almost double the risk of dying from any cause over an 18 year period.

The apparent harmful effects seen in the study were all but wiped out if the protein came from plant sources (legumes or beans). It must be noted however that middle-aged people who ate a protein rich diet had a cancer risk 3 times higher than those on a low protein diet, and yet that this risk was reversed, with the same diet apparently protecting people, in old age. This suggests that people should eat a low-protein diet until old age when they start to lose weight and become frail, at which point they should boost the body's protein intake to stay healthy.

Valter Longo, Director of the Longevity Institute at the University of California, said that on the basis of this study and other work, people should restrict their protein intake (0.8g per kg of body weight per day). "People need to switch to a diet where only around 9 or 10 per cent of their calories come from protein, and the ideal sources are plant-based".

"The ideal human diet looks like this: consume plant-based foods in forms as close to their natural state as possible ('whole' foods). Eat a variety of vegetables, fruits, raw nuts and seeds, beans and legumes, and whole grains. Avoid heavily processed foods and animals products. Stay away from added salt, oil and sugar" . 

Professor T. Colin Campbell

(US Biochemist, Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University. Lauded for 2005 work 'The China Study'. Also featured in 'Forks Over Knives'). 

In April 2019 BBC News ran a report with the headline 'A rasher of bacon a day ups cancer risk'. The article was reporting on a study by Oxford university, funded by Cancer research UK, that added to evidence, including that from the World Health Organisation (WHO), that eating red meat can be harmful.

Researchers looked at data from almost 1/2 million people on the UK Biobank Study and found that in the six years of their study some 2,609 individuals developed bowel cancer.

The study concluded an estimate of 'three rashers of bacon a day rather than just one could increase the risk of bowel cancer by 20%'.

Emma Shields, Information Manager at CRUK said "This study shows the more meat you eat, the higher the risk of getting cancer and obviously the reverse is true - the less you eat the less likely you are to get bowel cancer". 

"At this point, any scientist, doctor, journalist, or policy maker who denies or minimizes the importance of  a whole food, plant-based diet for individual and societal well-being simply isn't looking clearly at the facts. There's just too much good evidence to ignore anymore".  

Professor T. Colin Campbell

(US Biochemist, Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University. Lauded for 2005 work 'The China Study'. Also featured in 'Forks Over Knives'). 

And this is all without any mention of:

FOOD POISONING  issues (e.g. Salmonella, Listeria) and of course various FOOD CHAIN scandals or LIVESTOCK DISEASE outbreaks - 'Foot & Mouth 2001' - 6 million cows and sheep destroyed, 'BSE' ('Mad Cow') Disease - 4.4 million cattle destroyed with outbreak peaking in 1992-3 (156 human deaths recorded) and the so called 'Horse Meat Scandal' of 2013 where horse DNA was discovered in multiple supermarkets across the UK and Ireland, and the subsequent discovery that 23 out of 27 beef samples also contained Pork DNA....a total breakdown in food chain 'traceability' revealed.

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