Type: Analysis
Pages: 5 | Words: 1326
Reading Time: 6 Minutes

Judging by the putrescent greenish jacket with skull-and-crossbones image, Diet for a Dead Planet: How the Food Industry Is Killing Us promises to be revelatory and outrageous about the American food industry. Indeed, it lives up to the reader’s expectations, exploring the stomach-churning reality of slaughterhouses, farms, grocery stores and supermarkets that are after making money rather than providing consumers with high-quality food. I believe that the aim of this book is not to scare the hell out of gullible readers, but to instill in them the desire to be choosier about the food they gulp down.

After reading the book, I had to reconsider my eating habits, paying more attention to healthier options, such as fruit, vegetables and whole grains, which are not always on my food list, because of the steep prices that often come along with these nutrient-rich products. However, they are beneficial for our health, as numerous studies and reports vividly demonstrate. It seems that these days everybody knows about the disadvantages of fast food, yet, as a nation, we are slow to change our food consumption patterns, mainly because psychological and economic factors dominate our lives. Christopher Cook indicates that we are victims of the corporate food industry, emphasizing that health problems are directly linked to the marking strategies that promote junk food.

My attitude towards junk food is negative one, and I try to avoid it as much as possible. I agree with Cook that fast food has many potential dangers, and we are aware of them, but we also lulled into thinking that we cannot live without fast food in a fast-paced world. People are not discouraged by the fact that fast food contains high amounts of salt, fat, cholesterol, sodium and calories, and is accounted for the obesity of the American population. The ingredients of fast food meals are often criticized for their unhealthiness, as they are produced at factory farms and provide few nutrients. Besides, some consumers are completely unaware that the same products differ in trans fat content across various fast food outlets in different countries. High-fat diets trigger not only heart diseases, diabetes, and hypertension, but are also produce adverse effects on memory and learning. Many fast food restaurants offer healthier food, thus keeping up with the recent demands. In addition to favored fries and burgers, customers are provided with such alternatives as salads, fresh fruit, yogurts, grilled chicken, etc. However, these alternatives also have adverse effects on human health. I think that people should be more informed about how to combine a busy lifestyle with a healthy diet, because at first sight they seem incongruous.

The Benefits of Vegetarianism to the Environment

The facts that we learn about the food leave no other option, but to become a vegetarian. After all, it is not such a bad idea, if we take a closer look at what vegetarianism entails. A balanced vegetarian diet is healthier than a diet that includes junk food. There are many reasons why people commit and devote themselves to a vegetarian lifestyle. It almost goes without saying that vegetarianism is good for the environment. It has also been proved that vegetarians live longer, enjoying not only the duration, but also the quality of their lives. Vegetarian diet is, therefore, a more natural way of eating, in addition to giving health-related benefits and promoting harmonious and balanced relationships with nature.

People choose vegetarianism for a variety of reasons, the most typical of which are moral and ethical concerns, health issues and religious beliefs. Many vegetarians are concerned with animals’ sufferings and protest against their killing. Others turn to vegetarianism, because their doctors advise them to change their eating habits, namely to avoid junk food and meat products and include more vegetables and fruit to their plates. Still others refrain from meat products encouraged primarily by their religions. The followers of Buddhism and Hinduism commit to the ideal of non-violence to human beings and animals alike. 

Vegetarian diet has been recognized as a viable alternative to meat eating, but it seems more like a lifestyle that is based on the desire to conserve natural resources, improve environment, and benefit human health, as well as finances. Becoming a vegetarian means to protect the Earth’s limited resources, prevent global warming, save the planet from pollution, deforestation and preserve various species from extinction. The way we breed the livestock is a threat to the planet as well as human’s health. The livestock contributes to the pollution of the environment, consuming huge amounts of grain, water, pesticides and medicaments. Environmental Defense Fund gives a compelling reason to reconsider our eating habits, claiming that, if every American refused one meal of chicken once a week and chose a vegetarian dish instead, the reduction of carbon dioxide would equal to removing about one million cars off the US roads. Reducing meat consumption by at least five percent, which is approximately one dish of meat per week, would help to save enough grain to feed millions of people who are living in abject poverty in the United States and abroad. Environmentalists also express concerns about animal waste, which is the principal source of water pollution in America. The number of livestock farms is rapidly increasing throughout the world, exacerbating the most serious environmental problems at every level – local as well as global.

Numerous scientific resources suggest that the avoidance of meat and the consumption of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, combined with regular exercises, have positive impacts on the human organism. As a result of going on a vegetarian diet, people report on lesser problems concerning their health. One of the greatest health benefits that an average vegetarian experiences is the low risk of various heart diseases, which are usually triggered by high cholesterol levels. Another substantial health benefits are lower blood pressure, prevention of cancer, control of diabetes, lower rates of kidney stones, colon disease, etc. Vegetarians consume more fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants, which greatly decrease the changes of getting the already mentioned diseases. Moreover, by eating more fruit and vegetables, vegetarians have more energy, feel and look better. However, no diet can guarantee a solution to every health problem, but a vegetarian lifestyle is certainly the best option to preserve and improve one’s health. Besides the obvious health benefits, a vegetarian diet is likely to save a person’s money on medications and treatment of different diseases. The advantage of being a vegetarian is that the digestive system remains healthy and the other important organs, as eyes, liver, kidneys, lungs, receive a balanced amount of nutrients. An interesting observation was made by the nutritionists who conducted the Oxford study over a period of twelve years. They compared the fates of 5000 British meat eaters with 6000 of vegetarians. The investigators reported lower rates of heart diseases, cancer and diabetes and 40% lower rate of death among the non-meat eaters. According to the study, if you eat a vegetarian diet, the chances of living a longer life increase.

Vegetarianism is hardly a new phenomenon, for it exists since the dawn of time. Yet, people tend to underestimate its importance, when there are plenty delicious options available these days. Vegetarianism is more than just an alternative to meat consumption, but the lifestyle and a belief system for many people worldwide. Vegetarianism is often discussed in terms of different classifications and reasons underlying it. However, the most obvious are environmental, health and financial benefits associated with a vegetarian diet. Most of the existing evidence is in favor of a vegetarian eating that can beneficially influence the lot of mankind.

I believe that vegetarianism is one of the best options for modern society that suffers from high obesity rates, various food-related diseases and is strongly addicted to junk food. To break this addiction we have to take into account Cook’s fresh approach to what and how we should eat. Now, as we know the potential dangers of food system, it is up to us to make well-considered and healthy food choices.

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