Society’s Plate: The All-American Crisis

Amelia Beth Hill
Online Editor and Multimedia Director

Society has a perception that could annihilate the human race if given enough time. This delusion that the consumption of animal products is necessary to survive is stripped of any truth each day—however, society denies the facts, or is unaware of the evidence. In order to reduce the occurrence of degenerative diseases, preserve natural resources, and protect animal rights, society should adopt a nutrient-rich, plant-based diet.

The Health Epidemic

Ironically, society is sicker than ever, despite possessing the most advanced medical technology. Two thirds of the population is overweight; half take at least one prescribed drug, and cases of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and several forms of cancer are breaking the roof — especially amongst the younger population.

A study published in 2008 by two York University researchers estimates the multi-billion dollar United States pharmaceutical industry spends nearly twice as much on advertising as it does on research and development. Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, a top surgeon and head of the Breast Cancer Task Force at the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic, describes modern-day hospitals as “cathedrals of sickness.”

“There is absolutely no nutrient, no protein, no vitamin, no mineral, that we know of, that cannot be obtained from plant-based foods,” Michael Klaper, M.D., author and lecturer, states.

Many would argue that in order to get protein and calcium, one must eat big fillets of meat and drink lots of milk. America has become obsessed with this absurd notion. When has there ever been a case of protein deficiency? Very rarely, if any? That’s because America is “overdosing” on these nutrients. Honestly, society needs to pick something else to be neurotic about.

The protein RDA is 0.36 grams per pound an individual is supposed to weigh. That said, a male reaching 5 feet 8 inches should approximately weight 154 pounds. He needs 56 grams of protein per day. An eight ounce ribeye steak has 64 grams of protein. If he eats the entire fillet, he exceeds his recommended daily allowance.

If that same male ate a soy burger with tomato and avocado slices and a reasonable side salad, rather than eating the steak, he’d consume about 22 grams of protein. His daily protein intake can now be obtained in all three meals rather than in one eight ounce steak, in turn making his body function more efficiently — everything is balanced.

Luckily, there is a way to get the recommended intake (about 1000 grams) of calcium without consuming great amounts of fat. The reader, or anyone for that matter, must keep in mind that any dairy product equals fat; it is designed to fatten up baby cows. Does society really believe it can be made fat free?

“Milk equals fat. Butter equals fat. Cheese equals fat. People who think these products can be low fat or fat free equal…morons,” Freedman and Barnouin, authors of Skinny Bitch, confidently state. Alternatives such as soy and rice milk are equally as calcium-fortified as cow’s milk.

Adopting a plant-based diet can prevent, and in most cases even reverse, degenerative diseases. This groundbreaking discovery, researched by Dr. T. Colin Campbell, a nutritional scientist at Cornell University, and Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn during the production of Forks Over Knives, has remained relatively unknown to the public.

The Environmental Crisis

Larry West, environmentalist, writer and editor, reveals, “Every year in the United States alone, 80 percent of all agricultural land, half of all water resources, 70 percent of all grain, and one-third of all fossil fuels are used to raise animals for food.”

One gallon of gasoline is required to produce one pound of grain-fed beef; on average a United States citizen (313,058,963 according to the 2010 census) consumes 270 pounds of beef per year. Do the math; 84,525,920,020 gallons of gas annually is a bit ridiculous. That means, if the price of gas were $3 a gallon, $253,577,760,000 is spent on just beef transportation—that doesn’t include chicken or produce.

Researchers from the University of Chicago reported that adopting a vegan diet does more to reduce global warming than switching to a hybrid car.

The Ethical Problem

Animal rights are virtually nonexistent in the food industry; although at local farmers’ markets, these nonexistent rights seem to exist. Precisely, one might say animal rights are nonexistent in the management and ownership of the industry’s wealthy corporations.

Most chickens are contained in small cages in overcrowded coops which don’t allow full wingspan or any movement of the birds; their mangled feet eventually grow to where they stand. Because chickens are crammed together, the farmers have to sever their sensitive beaks, without pain relievers, to prevent pecking.

The probability of E. Coli outbreaks increase as more livestock is slaughtered by the high-profiled livestock corporations, such as Tyson, the provider of many fast-food chains. The more cattle packed in a slaughterhouse, the more feces that doesn’t get cleaned up. These animals are bred to stand in piles of their own waste before getting dismembered while still conscious. In other words, “there is shit in the meat,” says Eric Schossler, author of Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal.

A citizen would commit a federal crime if he treated a dog like the meat and dairy companies treat a chicken, cow, or fish. So why the prejudice? Government’s desire for money.

The Vicious Cycle

It’s remarkably effortless to keep going, especially when elaborating on numerous conflicts of interest generated by government agencies. The evidence is endless—just look at Sinclair; he wrote an entire novel, The Jungle, based on government corruption in the food industry.

Think about it. Life with an animal-based diet is a vicious cycle, snowballing to an unimaginable size. Animal suffering corresponds to human suffering, as human suffering relates to destruction of the planet. Destruction of the planet is a component of capitalism run amok, which clarifies—but does not excuse—America’s corrupt political system. America’s corrupt political system corresponds with animal suffering, thus epitomizing the “vicious cycle.”

Life with a plant-based diet could not only reduce the occurrences of degenerative diseases, but it could also make healthcare more affordable. Life with a plant-based diet could preserve natural resources and boost the economy by lowering fuel prices. Life with a plant-based diet could protect animal rights and reform consumer safety. Life with a plant-based diet could be, and probably would be, better.

The Change

It’s safe to assume that the average individual would say something like, “You’re completely mad if you expect the entire population to give up meat and dairy, because they won’t.” Well, duh. It doesn’t take a doctorate degree to figure that one out. The purpose of the argument is simple—to make the public aware of society’s current situation and the positive effect a plant-based diet could have on it.

The argument is to encourage individuals to cut back on the consumption of animal products—adopt “meatless Mondays,” buy from local farmers, experiment with recipes, and stay away from fast-food joints—not completely give it up.

In the words of Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma’s and Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”