It’s Not Personal Anymore – How Eating Meat Hurts the Earth

We love painting the oil and automotive corporations as the big bad guys when it comes to placing the blame for environmental problems, but the food industry is just as legitimate a menace. Natural resources are being gobbled up at an alarming rate, and in many instances the farms that raise livestock are doing a surprising chunk of the global damage.

For instance, it takes 123 gallons of fresh water for a cow to produce just one gallon of milk. Pretty insane, right?

Now consider this: 586 million tons of milk gets shipped out each year from farms. That works out to 17 trillion gallons of water being put to use just for cows.

Raising cattle for meat instead of milk is no more cost effective. On average, you’d need 2,400 gallons of water to get just one pound of beef, but only 25 gallons of water to produce one pound of wheat.

These days, it’s easy to find info about how being a vegetarian is healthy, or how “meat is murder,” but the environmental troubles that come as a direct result of our civilization’s carnivorous tendencies are dizzying…. and stats on water usage are just the tip of the iceberg.

The world has 1.5 billion cattle alive at any given time, and between them all, they produce more greenhouse gases than all planes, trains and automobiles combined.

Yes, you read that right. Most of the detrimental output comes in the form of invisible methane gas, expelled from cows directly or produced as a by-product during the breakdown of manure. Distressingly, methane is also 20 to 30 times more potent as a heat-trapping gas in out atmosphere than carbon dioxide, further attributing to global climate change.

Then there’s the fact that three quarters of the world’s farmland produces food that is just fed to other food (read: livestock). Growing crops is tremendously more space-efficient, and each acre would yield roughly ten times the output if we grew food there instead of raised it.

Also worth noting is that it takes about 11 times as much fossil fuel to make one calorie from animal protein as it does to make one calorie from plant protein, considering all the feeding, transportation and machinery. Think how much better off our planet would be if we didn’t have to raise and slaughter all these resource-siphoning, gas-producing cows.

So… where’s the outrage? Why aren’t environmentalists picketing commercial farms instead of oil companies?

For one, cows seem innocuous at face value. Most people wouldn’t ever guess that Bessy’s flatulence is punching holes in the o-zone layer. The stink of manure just doesn’t seem to be as noxious as the tar-colored air pollution that billows out of smoke stacks and tail pipes.

The second reason this info might come as a surprise is the same reason there’s no nutritional information on beer cans. There’s a lot of dollars changing hands and a lot of deals being cut behind closed doors regarding this matter, and when information might cause problems, the powers that be do a good job at under-publicizing.

This is by no means secret information, but it’s just not prominent information. We live in a complex, backwards world; I’m just here to try to help you simplify this crazy place.

Stay educated!

Dr. Dave

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Human Vs. Animal Teeth: What Our Teeth are Designed to Do!

Meat: it’s what’s for dinner. It’s hard to find an American dinner table without a big slab of animal as its centerpiece. This is what makes us behavioral omnivores – it’s part of our culture, civilization and food pyramid to eat a so-called “balanced” diet of animal protein, grains, fruits and vegetables.

But roughly 10,000 years ago, humanity witnessed an incredible turning point. Instead of foraging around the fields and forests in search of food, we learned to grow our own. And along with farming came the idea of animal domestication, and the notion that instead of hunting and tracking animals, one could raise them from birth and slaughter them whenever we got hungry.

Fast-forward a bit and here we are in the present buying shrink-wrapped chicken thighs by the pound, incorporating them into most every meal.

So while we may be behavioral omnivores, the consensus among anthropologists and archaeologists is that we aren’t physiological omnivores. Until we made that pivotal shift from nomad to farmer, between 90 and 98 percent of our diets came from the local flora, not fauna.

Researchers took a long hard look at the human body and its functions to come to this conclusion; it’s not just propaganda of the veggie camp. And some of the most telltale signs are from our teeth.

Look at the layout of a carnivore’s mouth. A wolf or a shark has a huge bite “footprint” – that is, they can bite deeply into something with the entirety of their jaws to grip and rip as much flesh as possible. Their teeth are also spaced apart from one another along the inner jaw line and each one comes to a pointy, spear-like tip.

Compare that dental arrangement with vegetarian animals like monkeys or horses who both have smaller mouths (relative to their head and jaw sizes). They also have teeth that are very close together arranged into neat, uniform rows. They mash their food around from side to side, concentrating more on chewing than biting… just like we do. Hmmm….

“Hold on just a second!” you’re thinking. “What about our ‘canine’ teeth?”

First of all, we only have four canines and 28 other teeth of other types, so already this isn’t a strong point to argue from. But in terms of usage, we see our closest primate cousins use their canines for chipping bark, piercing fruit and grooming. They also play a role in mate selection, dominance and display, as primates tend to bite down bare their teeth to each other as an intimidation tactic (just like how walruses use them – and people too, when they get really mad!).

Lastly, for one last animal analogy, I point you to the hippopotamus – an animal with huge, menacing teeth that subsists entirely on grass.

When it comes to humans eating meat, when it was on the menu, it was almost always scavenged, not hunted. I’ll be going into more detail about our ancestral, optimal diets in future posts, and share some more interesting evidence that supports the fact that humans are designed to eat things that grow out of the ground, not scurry around on top of it. Stay tuned!

Dr. Dave

Week 17 of My Vegan Journey

“Dave, are you 100% vegan?”

People ask me this question almost every day.

I actually am not sure how to answer it. What does it mean? Why are you asking?

I do not eat animals. I do not eat fish. I do not eat birds. I do not eat anything that comes out of an animal’s body such as milk or eggs.

Now, over four months after going vegan, when I see the food I used to eat, it actually makes me sick. Bones sitting on a plate. Wings from an animal that used to fly peacefully, being scarfed down by drunks at a football game. Dead flesh that contains antibiotics. Yogurt made from the milk of a suffering cow, scared and in pain.

Here’s what I have been finding. The health of the food that we eat ultimately determines OUR OWN health. When we eat healthy food, we become healthy. When we don’t, we develop disease. We are made from the food we eat. As it is commonly said, “we are what we eat!”

But am I 100% vegan? I try to be. But in a world where we kill animals and use their by-products for almost everything, it is virtually impossible. The tires that are on our cars contain animal products. The streets are paved with concrete that contains animal products. My 2005 Volvo still has leather seats (selling that car and getting one with cloth seats will help no animal).

Bottom line: I try to personally do the very best that I can.

I feel great. And people tell me that I am looking better every single day!

You? Just do the best you can and do what makes you comfortable.

That’s it!!!

Sending my love to you today. Can you feel it?

Dr. Dave

What food would a wild human eat? The answer may surprise you!

As a civilization, our go-to sustenance is hardly static or predictable. One only needs to check out the local cuisine of a foreign country to realize that. So rather than trying to answer this question by assessing the infinite number of foods our ancestors ate just to avoid starvation, I think it’s most pertinent to give our attention to what we are best at eating. That is, which foods are easy to obtain and digest, give us good health and ample energy, and have relative low risks or side effects?

Last week, I went into some detail regarding human teeth, and what types of foods they are best suited for. (Spoiler: it’s not meat!) This week, I’m moving the microscope over to other parts of the human body that suggest that humans aren’t cut out to be the carnivorous type.

Our muscles.

Even Usain Bolt wouldn’t be able to keep pace with the average gazelle for a second. How could we have a predisposition for meat if we never caught it? Spears and other weapons didn’t roll around until about 60,000 BCE – pretty recently in our species’ story.

By the time we started walking upright and proliferated from the jungles to the grasslands (about 1.5 million years ago, give or take), we entered into a competitive food chain that was way out of our league. We couldn’t contend with the agile predators of the plains, animals that were evolutionary veterans of chasing, hunting and killing. Our bodies frail, our gaits tipsy and our top speeds laughable, the potential prey was too strong, too fast or too sturdy for our kind to even think about killing. We also have flat, small mouths instead of fierce jaws and weak, pink fingernails instead of claws…. Good luck bringing down a wildebeest or an impala with only those tools!

Wild Human

As undignified as it was, early human tribes got most of their calories through scavenging. Just as we picked berries and nuts, so too did we grab a chunk of zebra steak after the lions had had their fill. We weren’t picky; if there was meat we would eat it, but we definitely didn’t have the capability to actively pursue it. When it came to the wily speed demons of the savannah, all we were eating was their dust.

Our taste buds.

If you’re a meat lover, you’re probably scoffing. Well my carnivorous friend, I contend that you have only been socialized to love meat. You don’t love meat the same way a tiger shark or a cougar love it.

When a predator makes a kill, the first thing it does is tear open the stomach area and chest cavity and dine on all the nutrient-rich organs inside. Things like the liver, kidneys and heart have all sorts of vitamins that muscle meat doesn’t have – this is how lions and tigers and bears can get away with not eating their vegetables. If a blood-logged, veiny organ doesn’t whet your appetite, but a sanitized, flame-charred steak on a plate, seasoned with peppercorn, sugar and tomato-based steak sauces, chili powder, citruses, and an endless list of other plant-based fixins does make you hungry, I have bad news for you: you might not naturally be a carnivore.

I could go on and on.

Our hearts struggle when we eat too much red meat, culminating in heart disease.

Our digestive tracks are extremely long and sensitive, as is the norm of an herbivorous animal.

Our stomach acid is less than 5% as strong as that of the typical carnivorous animal, meaning we don’t have the enzymes to quickly break down huge feasts of meat as most predators do.

Just some food for thought on the whole vegan thing!

Until next time!

Dr. Dave

P.S.  If you like this, I have a lot more for you. Please be sure to request my free e-report “12 Baby Steps to the Best Shape of Your Life” at http://SliceYourAge.com.

Week 14 of My Vegan Journey

It’s getting better and better!

I just had my annual physical with the same doc that I have been seeing for ten years. Her name is Dr. Michele Kettles and she is one of the partners at The Cooper Clinic in Dallas, TX.

When I saw Dr. Kettles earlier this week, she told me that my lab results were even better than before (and she has always told me that my numbers were always good).

But they got even better since going vegan!

And my weight was down about four pounds and I was not even trying! I would say that going vegan has gotten me to my absolute ideal weight!

GoVegan

I saw my lab results on Dr. Kettles’ monitor but I do not have them in front of me. As soon as I get my printed results I will share them with you. But suffice it to say that our overall health absolutely correlates to what goes into our bodies. I am just another tiny bit of proof in the big picture that a plant based whole foods diet is a big deal! Food matters.

I would like to take a moment to mention a few of my friends who have been reading my posts and listening to my Slice Your Age podcast who have connected with me and my message. The following people have told me that they have gone vegan or are at least VERY close.

Dr. Lori Cockley
Cheryl Mullins
Linda Burstyn (95%)
Denise Hyde (95%)

This makes me so incredibly proud, I cannot put it into words! And countless others have contacted me to say they are listening to the message very closely and are seriously considering it.

Congratulations to the four of you and to anyone else who is trying.  If you should be on the list above, but for some reason I missed you, please message me.

If I may be of any help in any way, please email me at SliceYourAge@gmail.com or message me on Facebook.

Vegans seem to be some of the kindest people I have ever met. In general, they really care about the environment. There is simply so much positive energy when you are around this group. It’s not about money, materialism, competing with others, etc. It’s about health, caring and compassion. I don’t know about you but these are the type of people that I like to hang with.

One of the most common things I hear from others is that going vegan will be difficult or inconvenient. I beg to differ with those statements. It is easy!

Really easy!

You just need to care. Once you care, the rest is simple.

Someone said to me the other day: “But I NEED my cheese.”

Truth is, you do not NEED your cheese. It is full of bad fats and cholesterol.  If you “NEED” your cheese, you may need your statins as well. And please do not forget about the suffering and death of the innocent animals.

There are some vegan cheeses that rival the taste of any secretion from cows. Believe me, they are delicious!

If animals matter to you and if you believe that we should not impose any unnecessary suffering on them, then you are just about there. You just need to take that next step and not eat them. How may I help?

If you like this, I have a lot more for you. Please be sure to request my free e-report “12 Baby Steps to the Best Shape of Your Life” at http://SliceYourAge.com.

Week 13 of My Vegan Journey

Thirteen is supposed to be an unlucky number. I don’t think it is. This is an incredible week so far. A lot of things are clicking in.

I am at a conference in Dallas and the very first thing I did when I got into town was to go to the Whole Foods store to stock up on healthy vegan food for my hotel room.  In the old days I would be at the hotel buffet for breakfast stuffing eggs and an occasional piece of bacon into my mouth. After all, it was easy, and of course everything tasted so good.

hotel room

The only meals I will see the inside of a restaurant for while here in Dallas are my dinners, and I will make sure they are either at a vegan restaurant or at least a vegan friendly one. The first night I got Indian and last night I went to an all vegan Asian place. Both excellent!

Another thing I am doing these days is making sure I meditate every day. As many of you know, I have been meditating for quite a while, but just not on a totally regular basis. Now at the very least it’s twelve minutes every single morning. More if possible. I got a great app for my phone called “Insight Timer” that keeps track of each session. Meditation, just like yoga, is a life changer. I believe it has the potential to add many more healthy years to our lives.

One of the most common things I hear from people is that going vegan will be difficult or inconvenient. I beg to differ with those statements. It is easy!

Really easy!

You just need to care.

If animals matter to you and if you believe that we should not impose any unnecessary suffering on them, then you are just about there. You just need to take that next step and not eat them.

If you like this, I have a lot more for you. Please be sure to request my free e-report “12 Baby Steps to the Best Shape of Your Life” at http://SliceYourAge.com.

Dave

Week 12 of My Vegan Journey

I attended a really cool event in NYC yesterday called The Seed. There were great speakers all day long, exhibitors with very cool vegan products and services, over 1000 attendees, and a food court with delicious food! There was a sense of peace and health and concern for the planet. Some of the kindest people that you would ever want to meet were there. I definitely made some new friends and contacts.

I feel a sense of peace throughout my entire body. I am not rushed. I am not hyper. I am calm, cool and collected. Toxins exiting!

pig and dogI feel healthy. I feel younger than I did before. I never realized what a “cleanse” meant. I have heard that term for ages and it means different things to different people. I think being vegan is the permanent cleanse. Nothing bad is going into this body any more.

One of the speakers yesterday, a doctor, stated that vegans have the cleanest guts on the planet. I have been researching, and it seems as though the human digestive system seems not to have been designed for animal products. It is much longer than those found in carnivorous animals, hence the problem with animal protein rotting away in people’s guts who are eating meat, eggs, etc. If you do not believe me, try eliminating all animal products for just one week and tell me what you notice.

I was doing some shopping at the organic food store today. I loaded up on healthy organic produce. Yes, I pay more for organic, but I look at it as my “health insurance.” No Obamacare needed for me!!!

I forgot a few things at my main market so I made a quick stop into Trader Joe’s on my way home. The cashier was spending a bit of time talking to the woman in front of me about some of her favorite restaurants. She was describing all of the steak, salmon, crabs, chicken, etc. that she eats at these restaurants and was rating it all. I was listening with a bit of sadness.

When it was my turn, I smiled and made some pleasant conversation with the cashier. I told her that it sounds like she loves food and eating out. She said yes she does.

Me: Do you love animals?
Cashier: Oh yes, of course I love animals.
Me: Well, maybe it’s not a good idea to eat them if you love them.
Cashier: Honey, I come from Ukraine and everyone eats meat there. As I was growing up, that’s all we ate.
Me: Oh, really? Well things are changing and you really don’t have to eat them now.
Cashier: But I would go hungry if I didn’t.
Me: No you wouldn’t. I am not hungry and I don’t eat animals.
Cashier: But I am from Ukraine.
Me: But you are no longer in Ukraine. You are in the US. And you REALLY do not have to eat animals. As a matter of fact, you would be healthier if you ate a plant based diet.

I could see that there were people behind me, and the man behind me actually was listening pretty intently to our conversation. I did not want to hold up the line. I promised the cashier that we would talk again and asked her to think about what I was saying. I smiled and said goodbye!

Your dinner plate is trying to tell you a secret – will you listen to it or just ignore it?

One of the secret virtues of being vegan, I’ve recently discovered, is how easy it is to wash the dishes after dinner. No matter which plate, bowl or pot I’m cooking in, serving out of, or eating directly from, the clean-up is an absolute breeze. Plant-based meals rinse off instantly, even when left out for extended periods of time.

“Big deal,” you’re thinking, “I own a dishwasher and a sponge; you’re not going to get me cast off meat because it’s so easy to dispose of vegan meals.”

Well you’re right. I don’t expect this alone to change your mind that easily. But there’s more to this matter than saving a few minutes scrubbing or a few cents on dish soap.

Try making a pot roast, chicken flambé, or a New York strip without having to use some serious muscle scratching and scraping meat residue from your dishes after the meal. It gets baked on, then caked on, and can even be tough to remove from a dinner plate that wasn’t even directly heated up. Even an open-flame grill you have to mercilessly assault with a grill brush between uses in order to un-crust the grill of dried-on meat juices.

THINK: if it’s this hard to get the meat off of glass and porcelain, how much meat is clogging up our squishy, delicate insides?

empty_plate

It’s an eye-opening analogy. Yes, our bodies have lots of enzymes and bacteria to digest the food we eat, but how successful are they?

Meat is broken down in our bodies by a process called “putrefaction,” which is just a fancy way of saying rotting. Unfortunately, putrefaction isn’t all that efficient. A traffic jam of decaying meat is the culprit behind Crohn’s disease, colitis (an irritation and swelling of the colon) and inflammatory bowel disease.

Research shows that putrefaction also results in all sorts of toxic by-products, namely sulfides, histamines and ammonias to name a few, which are by definition poisonous to our bodies and minds. If and when these substances get into the blood, it puts strain on the liver to filter the gunk out. On the surface, you’ll feel fatigued and have a higher likelihood of getting sick. You’ll also look older faster.

That gelatinous brown film on the bottom of your dishes is also in the bottom of your intestines, slowly being churned around and quarantined. Not exactly my cup of tea!

The evidence speaks for itself – check out your plates next time after a big, hearty, meat-based meal.

I hope I didn’t just ruin animal products for you.

Well, actually I sort of do hope that! Become your healthiest self!

Dave

FLAX SEED – How I “super-seeded” my diet!

The diet of the average American just plain sucks. As a nation, we eat wayyy too much sodium, sugar, and processed foods, and our food in general just isn’t as varied or as nutritious as it used to be.

I could go on and on about our skyrocketing obesity rates, nutrient-barren food and ghastly food industry, but I’m sure you get the gist. This blog post is about looking forward, not backward.

I consider myself a pretty healthy eater – I’m gluten-free and just a few short months ago I became vegan. Recently, I stumbled upon the incredible nutritional power of flax seeds. About the size of a grain of rice, these brownish-yellow seeds can be bought in bulk at almost any natural grocery store or health food store.

What’s so great about these little guys? Well, if nature made a health supplement, it would be flax seeds. Flax seed shells have an abundance of lignans, chemical compounds that basically super charge the human body. The lignans in flax seeds…

  • …boost the immune system, making your body more resilient against disease and infection.
  • …pack a whopping 2.8 grams of fiber per tablespoon, which helps in digestion and lowering cholesterol.
  • …have powerful antioxidants that help keep your cells functioning properly and help you look and feel young. (We suffer age-related problems because our cells get worse at replicating as time goes on – antioxidants counteract this decay.)

In addition to this, cutting edge researchers are publishing scientific papers that suggest that flax seed might actually have cancer-fighting properties. Pretty exciting stuff.

does-flaxseed-help-you-lose-weight

The body most easily absorbs all the nutrients flax seeds have to offer if you pulverize them first. This honestly isn’t all that difficult to do – I personally use a NutriBullet blender, though I have heard a coffee grinder works well, too.

The fine seed powder can be mixed into almost anything. Add it to your marinades, put it in smoothies, even bake it into cookies. The seeds have a very subtle, almost non-existent flavor and the texture is pleasant and complimentary to everything I’ve tried them in.

Flax seed oil, though similar sounding, has a completely different health benefit. The oil doesn’t have the antioxidants and lignans that the seeds themselves offer, but it does contain huge amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which improve the function of brain cells, keep the blood healthy and clotting properly, and prevent heart attacks and strokes. Most Americans aren’t getting nearly enough omega-3s.

I recommend buying a bottle of cold-pressed flax seed oil and gulping down one or two tablespoons per day. Consider it part of your daily health routine.

Superfoods like flax can’t help you if you don’t eat them. That’s why I was so drawn to flax initially – it’s easy to sneak flax seeds into almost any recipe, and the oil can be taken quickly out of a spoon, cough syrup-style.

If you have any questions or comments about flax seed or flax oil, I’m all ears! Let me know what you’re thinking in the comments below.

Dave

Leaf – Not Beef – the Truth About My Vegan Journey

Yep, you read that right. I have some fresh news to debut: I’m vegan, and have been so for a little while now. That means I don’t consume anything that is made from or came out of an animal. I don’t eat animals and I don’t wear or use any of their products. And I wouldn’t go to a circus, rodeo, or participate in any other activity that uses animals for “our” entertainment. Sound restrictive? Self-righteous? A little over-the-top, maybe?

Well, let me ask you this: what’s your favorite food in the whole wide world? Pizza? Mac and cheese? A big juicy burger? What if I told you that there are options that feel, look and taste better, that are easy to prepare and make you just as full, that also happen to be 100% free of animals products?

Would you take a bite?

Of course you would, because good food tastes good, and meatless doesn’t mean tasteless!

Lots of Americans – perhaps you included – believe that going vegan is an inconvenience at best and downright impossible at worst, given the presupposed nature of food provided at parties, restaurants and social gatherings. And then there’s the hanging question of “where do you get your protein?”

Going vegan is vastly easier and less inconveniencing than you think, and the health benefits are enormous and surprising. I’ve been a religious, non-cheating vegan for almost two months at the time of my writing this. Before that, I had only been a regular vegetarian (no meat, but dairy and fish were allowable) for many months. As a fledgling vegan, these breakthroughs are already occurring:

  • People whom I have haven’t seen in a few months consistently comment on how my appearance has improved. Note I said months, not years. These compliments are unconnected and happen at random times when I just happen to catch up with a friend. Oftentimes, the people that notice aren’t quite able to put a finger on how I’ve freshened up. Apparently, I just look healthier, more vigorous… just better. (I’m not trying to brag, I swear!)
  • My energy levels are explosive and my own stamina surprises me. I don’t feel like I have to “dig deep” to motivate myself to work out or work late. Effort and alertness come naturally.
  • I’m losing weight without even trying. I’ve always been a pretty healthy eater, avoiding soft drinks and processed foods, but my dietary upgrade has made me physically leaner.

Now, reread these three points and pretend you heard them during an advertisement for a prescription drug or workout regimen. Would you think about getting onboard with it? Some food for thought…

Though I’m a vegan for ethical as well as for health reasons, it doesn’t feel like a disrupting boycott. It’s not a daily battle to stay vegan, and I’m not struggling to suppress the temptation of milk, cheese, or even the exalted bacon. (Gasp!)

veganfood

I personally think that meat’s taste isn’t necessarily bad or disgusting. The way our food industry treats animals, however, is both of these. My “last straw” moment before I made the transition to veganism was knowledge. Look up the documentary “Forks over Knives” on YouTube or Google Gary Yourofsky – a passionate, well-spoken activist on the subject. Go to VeganStreet.com. The institutionalized torture of animals that we not only turn a blind eye to, but endorse with every trip to the grocery store, is eye-opening. But I don’t want to go on a tirade against Foster Farms nor do I want to try to make a point grounded in outrage or conflict. I simply ask that you understand all of the evidence and be an active player and connoisseur of information when it comes to your own life choices.

Want to learn some of my favorite go-to vegan dishes, and how to make going vegan a simple, natural transition? Look out for “leaf not beef: part 2” coming soon! And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to drop a comment in the comment section.

All the best,

David

P.S. Please make sure to listen to the “Slice Your Age” podcast. CLICK HERE to listen. Subscribe on iTunes by clicking on the right sidebar!