When my family shifted to a primarily plant-based diet years ago, our impetus was to improve our health and manage weight. My husband had had a pretty big health scare and I was determined to keep him alive without medications that could ultimately destroy his organs.

I had always been an advocate of eating lots of plants, but we still had plenty of animal foods in our diet, too. We had lots of room for improvement.

We spent a serious amount of time at a health education retreat in Northern California as we made this transition and while most of the education centered on the health benefits of eating this way, we also began to get a glimpse of the benefits for the animals…of course…but also the planet.

I think that most people who adopt a plant-based diet do it either for health concerns or because they are animal lovers. You don’t hear a lot about the benefits to our environment nor the amazing amount of damage caused by the way we raise most of the animals used for food.

I was reading on the British Greenpeace site that the largest meat processing company in the world is also one of the leading producers of carbon emissions AND is driving deforestation in the Amazon! So, not only are they putting the very thing into the air for that we need the trees to process (the trees use CO2 and output oxygen…is that cool, or what?) but they are then indiscriminately and deliberately, destroying the rain forest so they can raise more cattle and grow more animal feed!

The Amazon is approaching what’s called “the tipping point” right now. Something I did not know is that trees in the rain forest actually produce the rain and allow the entire habitat to live. As they are cut down, this ability is threatened. The tipping point will be when there aren’t enough trees to support the ability to create rain.

So many intricate relationships between so many life forms. This biodiversity is important to all life so when species become under threat of extinction, we all are in danger.

According to Greenpeace the effect on climate change that this activity is creating is on par with every plane, car and truck on the planet operating at the same time! I’ve heard it said that just going one day a week without animal products is equal to not driving your car…ever…, in terms of the impact on global warming.

Unfortunately, when there is a profit to be turned, often we see governments turn a blind eye to human rights abuses and the land grabs that are happening on indigenous lands…which is exactly what is happening around the Amazon now. 

From a dramatic health perspective, as we continue to raise animals in crowded and stressful settings, we hinder their immune systems making them more susceptible to disease and in turn, spreading diseases to humans that OUR immune systems don’t recognize…can anyone say “future pandemics”?

Lastly, growing animals for food is incredibly inefficient! According to scientists at John Hopkins University, we take 2.5 pounds of feed to produce a pound of chicken, 5 for a pound of pork and 7 pounds for a pound of beef! Why not just feed people?

And the water necessary to grow 1 pound of beef? An unbelievable 1799 gallons! Compare that to growing soybeans? 216…hmm. Which do we think we should choose as we approach yet another summer drought?

I’m not suggesting that the world become vegan overnight, but I do know that if we can take a serious look at our eating habits and make choices based on what’s right for our health and for the health of our world, we will help to correct the direction we are headed in.

For many people, (I was one of them) it’s hard to imagine meals not centered around meat…that’s why I’m so happy for all the resources out there!

One of them is Cook with Jake & Joy, our vegan, gluten free cooking show that’s fun and delicious. Trust me…there will be several recipes your whole family will love!

The other resource I can’t say enough about is actually getting your tastebuds to start craving more plants. The plant concentrates that we’ve been using for over 26 years will get you down a path to health AND craving more fruits and veggies…promise. Backed by 40+ studies…wow!

And, once you start craving more fruits and veggies, you just might want to grow your own. We’ve got you covered there, too! With our vertical, aeroponic gardening systems, you can grow up to 52 plants per system, indoors or outdoors in any climate and actually SAVE more money than you spend. Our family has been growing this way since 2012! Check out our rooftop farm, on the beach in Santa Barbara: Chapala Gardens.

In conclusion, if you’re reading this, it’s a message that it’s time to make some changes to the way you’re choosing food now or maybe it’s a validation of what you’re already doing. Thanks for reading and thanks for choosing more plants!


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