Today I want to talk about the unnatural growth that occurs in many children as a direct result of the intake of antibiotics, steroids, and chemicals that are ingested through our modern food supply.
I have been observing this phenomenon over the last ten years. At first I was quite shocked to encounter seven year olds with not only prepubescent signs, such as an over-developed body, but also with the attitudes of preteens! This is not a new phenomenon and has already been widely documented in many medical journals, such as MedlinePlus and The New England Journal of Medicine. However, if I was a mother, I’d be quite disturbed by this because the known long-term effects of such rapid growth in young girls and boys is alarming. Puberty, by the way, starts for girls on average in between ages 8 – 13, and in boys between ages 9 – 14.
An article from WebMD states that, “Many experts say that, on average, puberty is starting earlier in the U.S. than it did in the past. The average age of menstruation has stayed roughly the same. Yet studies suggest that early signs — like breast development — are happening a year earlier than they did decades ago.” One of the reasons for this rapid growth in girls is an increase in obesity – hence accelerating the growth of the fatty tissues of the breasts. This, I’m afraid, will put these young ladies at a greater risk for breast cancer and other types of cancers down the line. This has been confirmed by the experts already!
Here are just a few other known side effects:
Depression and Anxiety
Substance use and abuse
Overall poorer mental health
What surprised me, while doing the research for this post, is that there’s not a whole lot of talk about a dietary approach as a form of prevention of these issues! Dr. Greene does talk about it in the second article down below. However, there needs to be more talk about diet in regards to these issues! The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) addresses the issue of healthy kids on a plant-based diet by saying, “Children raised on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes grow up to be slimmer and healthier and even live longer than their meat-eating friends,” while “children who acquire a taste for chicken nuggets, roast beef, and French fries today are the cancer patients, heart patients, and diabetes patients of tomorrow.” However, as important as it is to look at what the child is eating, we must also address what they are drinking. From a young age, I was personally addicted to soda. As much as I hate to admit it, I drank a lot of it and my parents didn’t stop me! I wish they had offered me other alternatives such as water with cucumber or orange slices. Another issue, I’ve touched many times before is the problem with dairy! Dr. McDougall writes,
“Cows milk is often polluted with other harmful microorganisms as well, such as those that cause salmonellosis, campylobacteriosis, and a number of viral infections. Some of the more sinister viruses found in cow’s milk are bovine leukemia and bovine AIDS viruses. Over half of the dairy cows in this country are infected with these viruses. The leukemia viruses are transmittable under laboratory conditions to other species, like chimpanzees, who then develop leukemia. The incidence of human leukemia worldwide is in direct proportion to the amount of dairy products consumed.”
Dr. Spock, the world famous pediatrician, even gives this advice, “We now know that there are harmful effects of a meaty diet…Children can get plenty of protein and iron from vegetable, beans, and other plant foods that avoid fat and cholesterol that are in animal products.” About dairy foods, he has this to say, “I no longer recommend dairy products after the age of two years. Other calcium sources offer many advantages that dairy products do not have.”
I know from friends with children that switching to a plant-based diet is indeed not only possible, but something that the whole family comes to greatly enjoy! Sure, it might take a bit of adjustment at first, but that’s the same thing with anything that may be new! Growing children need vitamins B12 and calcium. These can be find in many fortified plant milks, such as oat or almond milk. Calcium can be found in green vegetables, such as kale, mustard greens, beans, peas, lentils, sweet potatoes, collards, and Swiss chard. Iron is another crucial component of a healthy child’s development and can be found in black beans, lima beans, red kidney beans, broccoli, spinach, potatoes, split peas, rice, kale, walnuts, raisins, and sesame seeds. The best way for iron absorption (also for adults) is to pair with fruits high in vitamin C. PCRM recommends a higher fat intake for younger children in the form of nuts, avocados, soybeans, and oatmeal!
Preparing a homemade school lunch and snacks every day for your child does not have to be all that difficult, while at the same time making one for yourself! Here are some lunch ideas:
Hummus sandwich on whole-wheat bread with lettuce and tomato, apple juice, and orange wedges
Veggie wrap with hummus, lettuce, and carrot. Apple slices and pretzels.
Veggie soup, whole-grain crackers, carrot sticks, and a banana.
Hummus and crackers
Strawberries and almond milk
Banana and Graham crackers
The ideas are endless! The most important point is to work in healthy daily options! Make time to do the prep work on the weekend, like on Sunday, before the busy week begins. Don’t beat yourself up for what you haven’t been doing so far – that doesn’t help anyone! The most important thing though is to do something for the health of your family every day!
Also, extremely important…Get your kids moving! Been reading SPARK by John J. Ratey, which talks about the importance of exercise on the brain development and learning. His work and findings are truly inspiring! A healthy body and mind thrives on exercise and physical challenges!
Wishing you and your family much Health & Happiness!
PCRM (The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine) posted this new brilliant ad, in case you haven’t seen it. I love the cleverness and design of this poster!
In case you can’t read it clearly, under MEAT it says:
Having read “The China Study” and gone through Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s eCornell course on Plant-based nutrition, I must include “Blindness” to the list as well! Yes, eating meat can cause you to go blind down the line! None of these happen overnight. Cancer growth takes between 5 – 40 years to develop! If you care about your health, the people around you, that you care and love, you will want to limit – if not completely cut out – meat from your diet! Why not start 2014 off right and go veg at least once or twice per week? What do you got to lose? Take charge of your health! Happy Saturday, everyone and thanks for reading!
Do Check out Dr. Neal Barnard’s excellent blog post on the subject here:
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 17,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
Recently you posted the following quote on your website. Your advertisement team wrote, “You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy bacon and that’s kind of the same thing!” This caused a lot of stir in the community! We don’t all agree with you! Some of your bacon loving customers might, but there’s a large community of some pretty smart people and this community is growing! People are, thankfully, awakening to the facts! Some of my friends are doctors, lawyers, social workers, nurses, teachers, business owners…and they responded to your “bacon equals happiness” equation with great dismay. These are professionals, who know the truth about the sort of business that you conduct! Fortunately, more and more people…namely, your customers…are coming to know the truth about this!
Not long ago, Mercy for Animals exposed the horrific abuse of pigs from the suppliers that provide you with bacon. This exposure must have lost you some serious bacon sales and therefore you’re now looking for ways to “re-establish” your image in the community by using, as a friend of mine pointed out, “reverse psychology”. Well, it isn’t working. The sad reality is this…
I believe that your customers are pretty smart people, who not only want to feed their family healthy foods, but who also have enough sense not to support animal cruelty! Pigs are just as intelligent as the family dog, so why would we do this to them? Pigs are natural foragers. They like to graze, play, listen to music, be petted, run around…just like a dog! What you see above is the reality of how they are living! Does this look humane to you? Imagine yourself in one of these metal confinements, even for just half a day! Would you think that was okay? I can’t even begin to imagine what this must do to their intelligent minds! The fact is, they go nuts and so would our pets, if they were put in one of these metal stands!
You responded back, “For the past several months, we have been working on a new comprehensive auditing and tracking program for pork, which we recently rolled out. The program is designed to track and source pork to help ensure that we purchase only from farms that are certified to meet the highest standards for the treatment of animals.”
Unfortunately, as much as we’d like to believe you, most of us are not buying this! First of all, what program and how do you audit and how often do you plan to do so? My other question to you is, how can you make this work? You sell things for much less, including animal products!
Your business thrives on the exploitation of not just animals but humans as well, as I well recall seeing during an Oprah episode about a female worker making sweatpants for your company in India. This woman was paid next to nothing, lived in deplorable conditions and was working 14 or more hours per day. It was inhumane and disgusting! We ask, why should we then not be surprised that you would care less about how the animals are living and treated, when you have so little thought and compassion for the human kind?
For those of you interested in the health of your families, the fact is that eating pigs is a double edged sword – bacon does NOT love you back! It’ll eventually kill you! Their fattening meat with its saturated fat and cholesterol, especially bacon, is not only artery blocking, but also cancer promoting! A more accurate quote could be, “You can’t buy health or happiness, but you can exercise and eat your veggies – and that, dear customers, will result in more health, happiness and well being!”
So Walmart, perhaps 2014 will be the year where you show the world that you’re capable of changing your image and become a company who not only cares about your customers requests and concerns, but also about your employees’ welfare and the welfare of the living, breathing, sentient beings that you sell for profit – packaged in plastic and stamped with colorful labels. Let’s all remember that there once was a living, breathing animal who only wished for a piece joy and happiness in this world…just like you and me!
Nina at UVC
*Click on the titles, beneath pictures, to read the articles!
Let me introduce you to my friend Alejandra. We met last year at a small local bakery and got talking, discovering that we’re both on a plant-based vegan diet. It was one of those meetings that you look back at and know for a fact wasn’t a coincidence. Alejandra and I both moved to the United States at 19 and have worked various jobs – often holding down more than one job at a time. I feel like Alejandra is my soul sister and I’m deeply honored that she would re-share her story in writing that she told me about how she came to be a plant-based vegan. Enjoy!
1. Please tell me about how you started. What inspired you to go plant-based vegan?
Well, I’ll have to begin with the fact that me and my family have never been big meat eaters. I do have, on my side that I come from, a family that is much into health, and food is seen as medicine. My grandfather used to say that, ”We are what we eat”. I also come from a culture that is big with eating fruits, veggies, legumes, and grains. Also, as a child I was allergic to red meat: beef and pork. This allergy was so bad, that up to the age of 10 years old, I could not eat it because if I did I would end up with an IV in the hospital. This allergy to red meat also caused my stomach to become so sensitive that I couldn’t eat canned food either! My mother did not believe in conventional medicine, so I was treated by a great naturopath. I did overcome this severe allergy to red meat by the age of 10. And unfortunately, I did begin to eat a bit of red meat, but only once a week. I never liked it though. And I think my body never liked it, and that is the reason why it was allergic to it. So when I moved to the U.S.A at the age of almost 19 years old, I stopped eating red meat again, but this time FOREVER. And the reason was because of the hormones in the meat here in the U.S.A. A couple of years later I stopped drinking milk, and I began to limit my cheese intake to a couple of times per month. However, I still ate chicken, fish, turkey, and eggs. And although I only ate them about 3 times per week and in very small amounts, I was still eating them, right? The fact that I ate animal products much less than the average American, or most people in the world nowadays for that matter, doesn’t mean that I was not a meat eater! I was still eating my beloved furry friends.
The real change came when my kitten Miguelito, a gorgeous tabby, came into my life at his tender age of 2 months old. I always say to people that I have always had pets in my life, that I always loved animals, but it was not until I met my Miguelito, that I truly came to know that bond some advanced humans come to have with the other animal species, other than their own. This kitten touched my life more than any other pet, and more than any other human had ever touched my life. He was my BEST FRIEND. We were always together. He would sit next to me at dinner time, he would nap with me, sleep with me, bathe with me, go jogging with me! (Yep, you heard that right!) One of the times that Miguelito and I went jogging, a lady stopped in her car, and asked me if that was really a cat! I said yes, and she said, ”Oh my gosh, that is so cute! I have never seen a kitty jogging with anyone!” Yep, he would run behind me, and then pass me and then climb a tree and wait for me there, and then when I passed him he would come down and run again after me and so on. I always felt this kitty was my soul. My heart.
Unfortunately, however, my Miguelito became really sick at the tender age of 2 years old, and the veterinarian told me I had no choice but to put him to sleep if I didn’t want him to suffer. And so I did. I listened to the veterinarian and put my baby to sleep. I cannot tell you what a nightmare this decision was for me, and still is! It was one of the two most difficult times in my life! It hurt my soul to see his life leave his little beautiful body temple more than anything ever!!! I cried for him more than I have ever cried for any of my pets or for any human! I have never cried for a human being alive or death, like I have cried for my Miguelito. Like I still cry for him. When I read this, I could feel your pain through your words so clearly, that I cried! I can totally relate to what you’re saying!
But, I guess his death was NOT in vain, since, after the footprint he left in my life, I became a vegan. I am a vegan now thanks to my precious Miguelito. Miguelito made me see who he was, who the ”other” animal species are, besides us, the human animal species. He made me see that WE ARE ALL THE SAME in God’s eyes, and that if anything, the other animal species ARE MORE PRECIOUS AND IMPORTANT TO GOD than our own. This is what I now understood. This is what I now saw. I woke up suddenly! I now understood with my heart and my mind that the long-time lie that the human animal species was more important than any other animal species was and had always been just that: A LIE.
I then, could NO LONGER, eat my brothers and sisters, I could no longer pay a company to kill them so I could eat them. I decided, I could no longer eat their meat, like I could not eat my own flesh, nor my own skin either. I suddenly understood things and saw things that without my Miguelito, I would have never been able to SEE, nor UNDERSTAND!
2. What sustains you to continue?
What sustains me to continue is my love for the other animal species, other than our own human animal species. And the fact that a plant based diet is also the healthiest for our bodies; and what ultimately might just save our planet Earth from its semi destruction, and from the imminent destruction of the human animal species. I now know this through my extensive studying and information I have now undergone. And ultimately, my conclusion is that whatever we do for others, we do for ourselves and our planet. And that whatever we do for ourselves, we do for others and our planet. It is all connected! :) Absolutely, I agree!
3. What do you hope for the future?
What I hope for the future is a CONSCIOUS HUMAN ANIMAL SPECIES THAT MAKES ITS LONG DELAYED AND URGENT NEXT EVOLUTIONARY LEAP INTO CONSCIOUSNESS: INTO A PLANT BASED DIET.
4. What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out?
My advice for someone who is just starting out is to take it easy, but to be mindful and intentional: the two most important tools to conscious living. And so begin with the elimination, COMPLETE ELIMINATION, of at least one ANIMAL PRODUCT: MEAT OR DAIRY. This sole decision will lead to the rest. I know it, because that is what happened to me!
5. Any other insights?
I am an animal rights activist and sometimes I have doubts about how to go about my fight. To which my mother gave me this great advice. She said to me, “Whenever you have doubts about how to go about, ask yourself, “Is my loyalty towards the human animal species or towards the rest of the animal species? and according to your answer, you will then know the answer as to how to go about it.” What a smart mother you have!
A great Native American chief said, “Man depends fully on the beast, and whatever is that happens to the beast, happens to man, literally”.
This saying also comes out of Ecclesiastes 3:19, which says, “For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; and man hath no preeminence above the beasts: for all is vanity.”
It also says, “Because the fate of the sons of men and the fate of the beasts is the same. As is the death of one so is the death of the other, and all have one spirit. Man is not higher than the beasts; because all is to no purpose.”
Thank you so much, Alejandra! I’m deeply touched by your story and I’m sure others will be as well. Feel free to leave Alejandra or I a comment, if you feel inspired to do so! We’d love to hear from you!
Together, Alejandra & I have started a Facebook page called, “Vegan and Vegetarian Teens.” Feel free to stop by and “Like” us and/or recommend our page to any teens you may know!
Thank you for reading!
Here’s the entire collection of plant-based vegan interviews that I’ve been privileged to do with some seriously amazing people over the past two years! I’m deeply grateful to these kind people for sharing their stories with me and with you! There’s more to come, so…