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In today’s frenzied lifestyle, “fast food” is an accepted—and expected—part of the diet. But our health is floundering as a result. It’s no secret that the typical American diet is way too high in fat and protein. It’s also loaded with sugar and salt, and very low in fiber, complex carbohydrates, and fresh fruits and vegetables.
The World Health Organization reports that we are eating a diet that was totally unknown to our species 100 years ago. Seventy-five percent of our protein and energy intake used to come from plant sources: beans, brown rice, potatoes, whole grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Today, it is just the opposite: We rely heavily on meat and dairy products for our protein and energy needs. In his or her lifetime, the average American will make his stomach the graveyard for 12 cows, 31 hogs, 2 sheep, 2,300 chickens, 92 turkeys, 1,000 fish, and 26,250 pounds of dairy products! We consume an average of 135 pounds of fat every year per person. This adds up to one ton of fat every 15 years and four tons in 60 years—if we live that long!
Meat and dairy products, loaded with animal fat and cholesterol, are taking a terrible toll on human health. Diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke are responsible for 70% of the deaths in America. And one of the major causes for these diseases is what we are putting in our mouths. Dr. Gio Gori of the National Cancer Institute reports that “the dietary factors responsible for cancer are primarily fat and meat intake.”
An estimated 16 million Americans have diabetes. Sadly, most could have avoided this terrible disease simply by avoiding a high-fat diet. One million Americans die each year of heart disease—again, largely due to a high-fat diet. And we’re starting young. Fifty million children already have elevated cholesterol, and as many as 70% of these already have fatty streaks in their arteries. These will later become plaques, causing blockage, strokes, and heart attacks.
The price of our poor eating habits is phenomenal! Ten years ago, the total direct medical costs—not counting such things as lost work time and productivity—were already over $60 billion a year! This includes $8.5 billion for hypertension; $9.5 billion for heart disease; $16 billion for cancer; $17 billion for diabetes; $2.4 billion for gallbladder disease; $1.9 billion for obesity-related musculoskeletal disorders; and $5.5 billion for food-borne illnesses. The cost of just one hospital entry for a heart attack is $50,000 and up. An angioplasty1 costs at least $10,000, and there is usually more than one.
Each year in America, 100,000 “downer cows”2 wind up in the feed of other animals—and even in the national school lunch program! Dead carcasses of diseased cows, chicken, sheep, pigs, and road kills, often filled with cancer, are ground up and fed to other animals. This puts these animals—and those who eat them—at increased risk for cancer, bacterial or viral infections, or even deadly prion diseases.3
Listeria, shigella, salmonella, polio, leukemia, and other deadly bugs are unwelcome hitchhikers on many foods, including the dairy products we love so much. And pasteurization of milk does not get rid of many harmful bacteria and viruses and other harmful substances. An FDA survey of milk samples from grocery stores in ten cities found that 73% of the samples contained pesticide residues. Hormones and antibiotics are other well-known “supplements” in our dairy products. Even fish are becoming increasingly contaminated with mercury, pesticides, bacteria, and tumors.
We cannot deny that the greed and gluttony of man have brought a terrible curse of disease upon the world. God predicted our predicament in Isaiah 24:4–6: “The earth mourneth and fadeth away. . . . The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws. . . . Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth.” God created the perfect man and woman with a perfect diet of plant foods,4 and it will be the fabulous fare of the redeemed.5 Doesn’t it make sense to return to that diet—and make our lives better now and for eternity?
Copyright © LifeStyle Matters, Inc. 1. A procedure to repair damaged blood vessels. 2. Cows that fall and can’t get up. 3. Such as spongiform encephalopathy, often called “mad cow disease.” 4. See Genesis 1:29. 5. Revelation 22:2.
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