Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wellness Wednesday

Two weeks ago I mentioned Michale Pollan's advice on eating.  The three main things to do are: 
  1. Eat [real] food.
  2. Not too much.
  3. Mostly plants.
In follow up to yesterday's discussion where I mentioned the environmental causes of cancer, I realized that this advice has health benefits that extend beyond just eating the food.  

When we eat real food, we avoid the processing and packaging that creates the chemicals that ooze into both our bodies and the environment.  Processed and snack foods always come in brightly colored boxes and bags.  A variety of chemicals go into making this packaging.  In addition, the process of turning the items from real food into food that can be patented also creates chemicals that must be released into our environment.

Reducing the amount of food also contributes to a reduction in processing and packaging, thus helping to save our environment and keeping more chemicals out of it.  Eliminating snacking and seconds means fewer packages.  Fewer packages means less output by factories

In our modern society, in order to produce large amounts of meat, companies must concentrate the animals into small areas to save time and money.  Eating mostly plants means fewer concentrated feeding operations that cause at least two problems:  1) Increased use of antibiotics to prevent the illnesses that result from overcrowding.  These antibiotics are released into the environment via the animals' waste and create antibiotic-resistant bacteria.  2) The creation of "waste lagoons" that are at risk of spilling into our environment and polluting our water sources.  
A Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) with waste lagoons.
The above photo (courtesy of the Sierra Club) is a picture of a concentrated feeding operation. Those bodies of water are not what you think they are.  They are some of the waste lagoons I just mentioned and I believe the name is self explanatory.  Given the flooding and tornadoes we've experienced throughout the United States, these lagoons are not safe, no matter how many precautions are taken.  (Read more about these lagoons here.)

Ultimately, good health is more than what we eat.  It's about our environment, as well.  Making personal choices to reduce chemical and other pollution in our world is essential to our well-being.

(Photo credit:


Shona~ LALA dex press said...

Righteous Porkchop: Finding a Life and Good Food Beyond Factory Farms by: Nicolette Niman is an excellent book on this subject.

Cherie said...

Shona, you're becoming my go-to person when it comes to resources like this. Thanks!