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We began this archive as a means of assisting our visitors in answering many of their health and diet questions, and in encouraging them to take a pro-active part in their own health. We believe the articles and information contained herein are true, but are not presenting them as advice. We, personally, have found that a whole food vegan diet has helped our own health, and simply wish to share with others the things we have found. Each of us must make our own decisions, for it's our own body. If you have a health problem, see your own physician.
There is no more denying it. Meat contains highly toxic substances that are responsible for many deaths and diseases. Heavy meat consumption increases your risk of dying from all causes, including heart disease and cancer, according to a federal study conducted by the National Cancer Institute and featured in Archives of Internal Medicine on Monday.
The study looked at the records of more than half a million men and women aged 50 to 71, following their diet and other health habits for 10 years. Between 1995 and 2005, 47,976 men and 23,276 women died.
The researchers divided the volunteers into 5 groups or "quintiles." All other major factors were accounted for -- eating fresh fruits and vegetables, smoking, exercise, obesity, etc. People eating the most meat consumed about 160g of red or processed meat per day - approximately a 6oz steak.
Women who ate large amounts of red meat had a 20 percent higher risk of dying of cancer and a 50 percent higher risk of dying of heart disease than women who ate less. Men had a 22 percent higher risk of dying of cancer and a 27 percent higher risk of dying of heart disease. That`s compared to those who ate the least red meat, just 5 ounces per week, or 25g per day -- approximately a small rasher of bacon.
The study also included data on white meat and found that a higher intake was associated with a slightly reduced risk of death over the same period. However, high white meat consumption still posed a major risk of dying.
"For overall mortality, 11 percent of deaths in men and 16 percent of deaths in women could be prevented if people decreased their red meat consumption to the level of intake in the first quintile," Sinha's team wrote.
Sinha's team noted that meat contains several cancer-causing chemicals, as well as the unhealthiest forms of fat.
The good news is that the U.S. government now recommends a "plant-based diet" with the emphasis on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The bad news is that it also hands out massive farm subsidies that keep meat prices very low and encourage meat-based diets. The government's food-price policies contribute to such risk-filled eating habits as meat consumption.
Another drawback is that the National Cancer Institute study only looked at the increased mortality risk resulting from meat consumption. It should be noted, that if eating meat can kill a large number of people, it can make an even larger number of people seriously ill.
Food that kills or makes people sick should not be considered food at all. However, the meat industry thinks otherwise. It believes that the study is flawed. American Meat Institute executive president, James Hodges, said: "Meat products are part of a healthy, balanced diet and studies show they actually provide a sense of satisfaction and fullness that can help with weight control. Proper body weight contributes to good health overall."
The question is whether it is worth risking one's life over having a little sense of satisfaction and fullness, which could easily be experienced by eating a healthful diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
The new findings support a previous study published earlier this year in the Annals of Internal Medicine, which showed that eating meat boosts risk of prostate cancer by 40 Percent. And just last month, parents learned that their children had a 60% increased risk of developing leukemia if they consumed meat products, such as ham, sausages and hamburgers.
Vegetarians Live Longer and Healthier Lives
More recently, medical research has found that a properly balanced vegetarian diet may, in fact, be the healthiest diet. This was demonstrated by the over 11,000 volunteers who participated in the Oxford Vegetarian Study. For a period of 15 years, researchers analyzed the effects a vegetarian diet had on longevity, heart disease, cancer and various other diseases.
The results of the study stunned the vegetarian community as much as it did the meat-producing industry: "Meat eaters are twice as likely to die from heart disease, have a 60 percent greater risk of dying from cancer and a 30 percent higher risk of death from other causes."
In addition, the incidence of obesity, which is a major risk factor for many diseases, including gallbladder disease, hypertension and adult onset diabetes, is much lower in those following a vegetarian diet. According to a Johns Hopkins University research report on 20 different published studies and national surveys about weight and eating behavior, Americans across all age groups, genders and races are getting fatter. If the trend continues, 75 percent of U.S. adults will be overweight by the year 2015.
It is now almost considered the norm to be overweight or obese. Already more than 80 percent of African-American women over the age of 40 are overweight, with 50 percent falling into the obese category. This puts them at great risk for heart disease, diabetes and various cancers. A balanced vegetarian diet may be the answer to the current obesity pandemic in the United States and many other countries.
Those who include less meat in their diet also have fewer problems with cholesterol. The American National Institute of Health, in a study of 50,000 vegetarians, found that the vegetarians live longer and also have an impressively lower incidence of heart disease and a significantly lower rate of cancer than meat-eating Americans. And in 1961, the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that a vegetarian diet could prevent 90-97% of heart diseases.
What we eat is very important for our health. According to the American Cancer Society, up to 35 percent of the 900,000 new cases of cancer each year in the United States could be prevented by following proper dietary recommendation. Researcher Rollo Russell writes in his Notes on the Causation of Cancer: "I have found of twenty-five nations eating flesh largely, nineteen had a high cancer rate and only one had a low rate, and that of thirty-five nations eating little or no flesh, none of these had a high rate."
Could cancer lose its grip on modern societies if they turned to a balanced vegetarian diet? The answer is "yes," according to two major reports, one by the World Cancer Research Fund and the other by the Committee on the Medical Aspects of Food and Nutrition Policy in the United Kingdom. The reports conclude that a diet rich in plant foods and the maintenance of a healthy body weight could annually prevent four million cases of cancer worldwide. Both reports stress the need for increasing the daily intake of plant fiber, fruits and vegetables and reducing red and processed meat consumption to less than 80-90g.
If you are currently eating meat on a regular basis and wish to change over to a vegetarian diet, unless you suffer from a major cardiovascular illness, do not give up all flesh foods at once! The digestive system cannot adjust to a substantially different diet from one day to the next. Start by reducing the number of meals that include meats such as beef, pork, veal and lamb and substituting poultry and fish during these meals. In time, you will find that you are able to consume less poultry and fish also, without creating strain on the physiology due to too rapid an adjustment.
Note: Although the uric acid content of fish, turkey and chicken is less than in red meat and, therefore, not quite as taxing to the kidneys and tissues of the body, the degree of injury that is sustained to the blood vessels and intestinal tract from eating these coagulated proteins is no less than it is with the consumption of meat.
Death in the Meat
Research has shown that all meat eaters have worms and a high incidence of parasites in their intestines. This is hardly surprising given the fact that dead flesh (cadaver) is a favorite target for microorganisms of all sorts. A 1996 study by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) showed that nearly 80 percent of ground beef is contaminated with disease-causing microbes. The primary source of these bugs is feces. A study conducted by the University of Arizona found there are more fecal bacteria in the average kitchen sink than in the average toilet bowl. This would make eating your food on the toilet seat safer than eating it in the kitchen. The source of this biohazard at home is the meat you buy at the typical grocery store.
The germs and parasites found in meat weaken the immune system and are the source of many diseases. In fact, most food poisonings today are related to meat-eating. During a mass outbreak near Glasgow, 16 out of over 200 infected people died from the consequences of eating E. coli contaminated meat. Frequent outbreaks are reported in Scotland and many other parts of the world. More than half a million Americans, most of them children, have been sickened by mutant fecal bacteria (E. coli) in meat. These germs are the leading cause of kidney failure among children in the United States. This fact alone should prompt every responsible parent to prevent their children from eating flesh foods.
Not all parasites act so swiftly as E. coli though. Most of them have long-term effects that are noticed only after many years of eating meat. The government and the food industry are trying to divert attention from the escalating problem of meat contamination by telling the consumer it is his own fault that these incidents happen. It is very obvious that they want to avoid hefty lawsuits, and bad-mouthing of the meat industry. They insist that dangerous bacterial outbreaks occur because the consumer does not cook the family's meat long enough. It is now considered a crime to serve a rare hamburger. Even if you have not committed this "crime," any infection will be attributed to not washing your hands every time you touch a raw chicken or to letting the chicken touch your kitchen counter or any other food. The meat itself, they claim, is totally safe and meets the standard safety requirements imposed by the government; of course, this holds true only as long as you keep disinfecting your hands and your kitchen countertop. It evades all good reasoning to propose such a "solution" to the 76 million cases of meat-borne illnesses a year, except to safeguard the vested interests of the government and the meat industry. If a particular imported food produced in China is found to be contaminated, even if it hasn't actually killed anyone, it is immediately taken off the shelves of grocery stores. Yet, with all the research proving that meat-consumption harms and kills millions of people each year, meat continues to be sold in all grocery stores.
The new mutant bugs found in today's meat are extremely deadly. For you to come down with Salmonella poisoning, you have to consume at least a million of these germs. But to become infected with one of the new mutant bugs, you need to ingest a measly five of them. In other words, a tiny particle of uncooked hamburger, making it from a kitchen utensil to your plate, is enough to kill you. Scientists have now identified more than a dozen food-borne pathogens with such deadly effects. The Center for Disease Control admits that they don`t even know the bugs behind most food-related illnesses and deaths.
Much of the germ-infestation of meat is caused by feeding farm animals foods that are unnatural to them. Cattle are now fed corn, which they are unable to digest, but it makes them fat very quickly. Cattle feed also contains chicken feces. The millions of pounds of chicken litter (feces, feathers and all) scraped off the floors of chicken houses are recycled as cattle feed. The cattle industry considers this "good protein." The other ingredients of cattle feed consist of ground-up parts of animals, such as deceased chickens, pigs and horses. According to the industry, giving the cattle natural, healthy feeds would be far too costly and so unnecessary. Who really cares what the meat is made of, as long as it looks like meat?
Combined with hefty doses of growth hormones, a diet of corn and special feeds shortens the duration of fattening up a steer for market from a normal time period of 4-5 years to a mere 16 months. Of course, the unnatural diet makes the cows sick. Like their human consumers, they suffer from heartburn, liver disease, ulcers, diarrhea, pneumonia and other infections. To keep the cattle alive until the deadline for slaughter at the "ripe old age" of 16 months, the cows need to be fed enormous doses of antibiotics. In the meantime, the microbes that respond to the massive biochemical assault of antibiotics, find ways to become immune to these drugs by mutating into resistant new strains.
Those unfortunate cows that don't drop dead prematurely due to all the poisons fed to them during their short earthly existence, experience an undignified and gruesome end of life in the slaughterhouse or meat-packing plant. From there, the diseased, germ-infested meat ends up in your local grocery store, and a little later, on your dinner plate, if you so dare.
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