Top 5 Misconceptions About Food

By Michelle McMacken
Full article: http://www.forksoverknives.com/top-5-misconceptions-food-doctors-daily-experience/

“As a primary care doctor, I spend my days taking care of patients with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and obesity. I also see “healthy” patients whose eating habits are starting them on the road to a future filled with doctor’s appointments and hospital visits.I enjoy reminding my patients that their fork can be more powerful than my prescription pad when it comes to preventing and reversing chronic diseases. This conversation usually uncovers some common misconceptions about food and nutrition. Here are five myths that I hear almost every day, among patients and colleagues alike:

1. “I need to eat more protein.”
Many people don’t realize that the average American consumes more than twice the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of protein, most of it from animal products. 1,2 Unfortunately, animal-based proteins have been shown to promote faster growth, not only of normal cells but of cancer cells, and have been linked to a variety of cancers as well as heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and kidney stones.3,4Plant foods contain plenty of protein, and a whole-foods, plant-based diet actually provides exactly what’s recommended in terms of protein requirements – about 8-10% of total daily calories from protein.  This happens naturally when people eat a diet of diverse, whole plant foods – there is no need to count grams of protein!  And unlike animal proteins, plant proteins from whole foods are not associated with cancer or other chronic diseases.  In fact, these foods actually prevent many of the diseases we see today!

2. “I need to drink milk to have strong bones.”
Many people equate dairy with calcium, strong bones, and the prevention of osteoporosis (low bone density). Generations of advertising slogans have perpetuated this idea. However, dairy isn’t the answer here. Studies show that dairy products may actually increase the risk of fractures related to osteoporosis!5-7The biological purpose of cow’s milk is to support the rapid growth of a calf. Humans have no nutritional or medical need to consume the milk of cows or any other nonhuman species. Cow’s milk has significant levels of female hormones, and usually contains antibiotics, pesticides, saturated fat, and cholesterol — substances that definitely do NOT do a body good! Dairy has been specifically linked with prostate, ovarian, and uterine cancer, as well as heart disease and early death.7-13The best sources of calcium come from the earth, in foods such as kale, broccoli, bok choy, and Brussels sprouts. As a bonus, these vegetables are high in vitamin K, which is also important for strong bones. Beans may be an especially good source of calcium, because they are also high in phytates, antioxidant compounds that may enhance mineral absorption14 (despite common perception to the contrary) and thus protect bone density.15 Many brands of soy milk, almond milk, orange juice, and tofu are fortified with calcium and vitamin D, just as cow’s milk is artificially fortified with these nutrients. However, there is no need to specifically target calcium sources in the diet; a diverse, whole-foods, plant-based diet will provide all of the calcium you need.

3. “Chicken, turkey, fish, and eggs are healthy sources of protein.”
Chicken, turkey, fish, and eggs contain significant amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat, in many cases as much as beef,16 so they are not “heart healthy” foods. Plant-based sources of protein contain zero cholesterol and far less saturated fat. Chicken and turkey usually contain antibiotics, pesticides, and fecal contaminants, and have been associated with salmonella, staph, and other infectious disease outbreaks. Chicken, fish, and eggs have been associated with an increased risk of diabetes.17-25 Almost all fish contain mercury, which can cause neurologic and cognitive problems; many also contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a toxin associated with cancer.16 And a recent study showed that eggs cause intestinal bacteria to make a substance called TMAO, which can trigger heart attacks and other cardiovascular events.26Whole plant foods supply plenty of protein, and they don’t come packaged with cholesterol or high levels of saturated fat. Instead, their protein is bundled with fiber and many necessary nutrients! Great plant-based sources of protein include lentils, chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans, soybeans, and quinoa. Green vegetables such as spinach, collards, broccoli, and peas are also quite high in protein per calorie. But remember, it’s not necessary to seek out plant foods high in protein, since a varied whole-food, plant-based diet will naturally provide enough protein, without special effort.27

4. “I can’t eat carbs.”

Many people are mistakenly led to believe they should avoid carbohydrates, particularly for weight management and diabetes control. Instead, they focus on proteins — especially animal proteins — and fats. Sadly, this approach actually increases the risk of chronic disease and death,28-32 and it deprives people of the numerous nutrients found in carbohydrate-containing foods.It is true, however, that not all carbohydrates are created equal. Refined, highly processed carbohydrates can raise triglycerides, promote weight gain, and drive up blood sugar. On the other hand, starches that come from whole grains bring fiber, essential fatty acids, B vitamins, zinc, and protein into our diets and provide an excellent source of energy. Beans, legumes, starchy vegetables, and fruits are other healthy carbohydrate sources. Balancing these foods with non-starchy vegetables is an optimal way to eat for weight loss, diabetes control, and reversal of heart disease.

5. “Healthy food is too expensive.”

You don’t need to shop at a gourmet health food store to find nutritious foods. Actually, some of the healthiest foods are the least expensive, and they are readily available at most grocery stores and many local farmers’ markets. Beans, lentils, brown rice, and frozen vegetables are usually inexpensive, especially when bought dried and in bulk. (Organic fruits and vegetables can cost more, but eating nonorganic plant-based foods is still more nutritious than eating meat, chicken, fish, eggs, and dairy, organic or otherwise.)Even when processed foods and animal products are sold cheaply, they are expensive in terms of the cost to your health. What you may save now, you could end up spending later in pharmacy co-payments and medical bills!“

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Rabbits and Easter

2 years ago my partner and I were driving home when we spotted a small white rabbit on the side of the road. It was a rural area with no houses in sight. It was late at night and it was 2 weeks after Easter. We pulled over and got out of the car thinking we would scare her into the woods away from the road. Once we saw that she was entirely white and clean and not afraid of us in the slightest, we realized that she was a domestic rabbit and likely dumped just moments before we spotted her. Having absolutely no experience with rabbits, but knowing that she would die within a few days if left on her own, we scooped her up in a big sweater and large shopping bag and took her home. What followed was the first of many frantic Google searches on rabbit care.

Renovation day. Binks enjoys new flooring.

Renovation day. Binks enjoys new flooring.

We initially thought that we would give her over to our local SPCA to be adopted, but once we learned how careless people tend to be with rabbits we couldn’t stand the thought of her living less of a life than what we could offer. We desperately hoped that our cats would accept her. They did within just a few days.

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What started as this…

Let Me Out!!

…Ended like this

Since adopting her we’ve learned that rabbits are routinely bred and sold for Easter and then a whopping 80 percent are abandoned within just a few months. And like in the case of Binks, the irresponsibilty is so extensive that people will dump them at the side of the road to die within a few days by cars or predators rather than own up to their abandonment at a shelter. The Easter rabbit problem is so widespread that rabbit rescue groups actually have campaigns along the lines of “buy chocolate rabbits instead.”

Binks reads Animal Liberation and encourages you to do the same.

Binks reads Animal Liberation and encourages you to do the same.

Rabbits require a lot of care. Their homes need to be cleaned everyday. They need fresh vegetables and hay everyday. And perhaps most importantly, they need to spend a minimum of 2-4 hours roaming freely everyday. Ideally, they can always roam freely and choose to go back to their digs when they see fit. They like to chew and dig, so bunny-proofing your house is a must, and even with some Binks-safing measures, we still find many items mysteriously chewed and need to fix or replace just about all of our baseboards. House rabbits live for 8-15 years and we spend much more time caring for Binks than we do our two cats.

Still, she’s an absolute joy. Her sensitivity and delicacy are heartwarming, and her spunk and demanding nature make us laugh everyday. It’s wonderful how much life she’s brought to our home, and devastating to think what would have happened if we hadn’t been in the right place at the right time.

Binks helps do laundry.

Binks helps do laundry.

Do not buy rabbits as pets. Learn everything involved in proper rabbit care and adopt from your local shelter.

“I Care About Human Problems”: 6 Reasons to Go Vegan Anyway

Also posted on The Dodo When promoting veganism, we’re often confronted by claims of care toward humans as though they negate the importance of going vegan. Veganism is trivialized as something for “animal lovers,” not for humanitarians and social justice … Continue reading

“Most people do care about animals.
Most people reject the idea that animals are just things.
Most people think that animals count morally.
So the goal is to convince those people that this all requires that they go vegan, and that ‘happy’ or ‘humane’ exploitation is not a morally acceptable alternative. If you think someone counts morally, you stop exploiting them; you don’t focus on exploiting them more ‘compassionately.'”
– Gary Francione

“Violence is intersectional, so our movements to end violence must be as well.”

Excerpt from “5 Reasons For Why Animal Rights Are a Feminist Issue” by Aph Ko
Full Article Here

1. Animal Bodies Are Objectified, Too

To be objectified means that one’s body and life exists for the pleasure or benefit of someone else.

Non-human animal bodies are reduced to fleshly things (literally) that can be consumed, or used in painful or unethical scientific projects.

They are not culturally seen as independent beings that experience pain, pleasure, and a range of emotions, and that exist in social networks.

2. Animal Bodies Are Used to Normalize Rape Culture

Animals are sexed. The tortures inflicted upon animals, then, will be specific to their sex and it is no surprise that for female animals, their capacity to breed overwhelmingly dictates how their bodies will be controlled.

Female animals endure a life of repeated rape and perpetual pregnancies and after they’re “spent”, they’re slaughtered.

As feminists, to consume raped and tortured non-human animal bodies, while fighting against rape culture, seems a topic worthy of investigation.

4. Domestic Violence Harms Animals

There’s a clear correlation between hurting non-human animals early in your life, and then harming humans.

The correlation between violence against children and women, and violence against non-human animals demonstrates how patriarchy harms those of us who are minoritized and oftentimes powerless.

4. Intersectionality Must Include All Oppressed Groups

The language that surrounds non-human animals constantly makes use of a moral hierarchy that suggests certain bodies are more valuable than others.

It is ridiculous to try to “rank” how bad each group has it, or to assume that all of our attention must be devoted to one group’s fight for rights, or to assume that if much of our attention is focused on one group at a certain time, that must mean the other groups are less important or “have it better.”

All of these spheres of oppression are byproducts of the same systemic evil—an evil that is heavily steeped in white supremacist patriarchy.

To declare that one of these groups is “treated better” than the other is to completely miss the ways in which these oppressions are intertwined and even depend on one another.

5. Our Society Spreads Lies About Animals, Too

Most of us as feminists already know that cultural scripts are used to naturalize problematic behaviors.

Similarly, there are scripts in animal-eating spaces that naturalize horrible systems of oppression. This script deflects from the systemic reality that non-human animals are tortured, slaughtered, and raped so that we can eat to satisfy our addictions to taste.

Apathy towards violence should never be fostered in any social justice movement.

Cultural scripts perpetuate myths and traditions. Scripts allow us to feel comfortable with problematic behaviors. They allow us deflect responsibility for the choices we have the power to make.

My Experience of a Livestock Auction: The Unbearable Moments of Being Vegan in a Non-Vegan World

I went to a livestock auction in late November. It took me a while to process the experience because it was so traumatic. For anyone who isn’t familiar, livestock auctions are where farmers buy and sell the animals they exploit. … Continue reading

We’re Already Vegan in Our Hearts and Minds

I am not an “animal person” – never was. But it doesn’t take a special kind of person to know that suffering and killing are wrong.

Spending so much time at a sanctuary, I find myself more invested in the stories of the individual animals.

The oldest potbelly pig Charlie has some digestive issues so he gets Metamucil everyday with his food, and Country Time Lemonade to watch it down!

Everyone has their own diet to meet their special needs. The folks in Animal Care work so hard to take amazing care of everyone.

Carmen the Barbados sheep is a natural sheep with no wool, who sheds excess fur. Yup, that’s right, thick “wool” that needs to be sheared is not natural, it’s the process of thousands of years of selective breeding. Carmen came to Animal Place a young lamb, very lucky to be alive at all. She was being raised on a small family farm in rural Nevada County when she broke her leg. For weeks she stumbled around on the farm as the leg became infected. The property owners did not provide any veterinary care, at which point a neighbour intervened and convinced the owners to sign custody over to Animal Place. They rushed her to the UC Davies veterinary centre, but they were unable to save the leg. She now hops around on 3 legs, and seems pretty happy. She’s a little shaky, probably because it’s hard work on her muscles to support herself. She’s certainly enjoying herself here!

Panda is a cow who was being raised at a school, as part of an FFA or 4-H program. Someone broke into the school at night, covered him in lighter fluid, and set him on fire. When he was found, the person raising him for slaughter wanted to save him – meaning save him so that he could sell him at auction to be killed later. A private donor stepped in and helped Animal Place save his life.

It’s easy to see a case like Panda’s as simply as aberration, but the fact is that this kind of extreme cruelty is the inevitable result of seeing beings as things. When animals are converted into things for our purposes and are legally owned, we can’t expect for them to be treated with any respect or dignity or justice. If they happen to be treated well, that’s great, but it’s just lucky. The harsher reality of their mistreatment is built into the consciousness that looks out at the world of other animals and sees things to use for our selfish purposes. The problem is use not treatment. We react to “cruelty” cases with repulsion whenever the cruelty at hand is not the institutionalized, business-as-usual cruelty inflicted on animals every single day. The basic moral principle that underlies our opposition to these individual cruelty cases is that it’s wrong to cause unnecessary suffering and death to sentient beings. So, since we don’t need to eat animals, any suffering or death inflicted on them for food production is precisely the unnecessary suffering and death we oppose in individual cases.

Most of us are already committed in principle to do no harm.
We’re already vegan in our hearts and minds.