In my Notes series, a mission to resolve a range of health and environmental issues is outlined. In this introduction, a behavior change to reduce animal product consumption begins being outlined top to bottom. This section starts to cover the implications of the animal agriculture industry for its social and economic purposes, and furthermore as it causes unnecessary damage to the human body and public health. The following sections of this series, Notes II. and Notes III., cover the implications as they relate to the environment, and to the future of climate change. Notes IV. covers the solutions to these problems through changing your diet, and Notes V. outlines with specific detailed methods to enhance your social and environmental impact. This series is a straight forward resource for people who are already interested in learning and adapting a more beneficial lifestyle for themselves and for the Planet. They are used for adaptations of other blog posts found on this site, and are available for others to adapt to their own work as well. I hope you find all that you are looking for in these Notes.
Certain widely distributed and frequently consumed products in the United States have been attributed to major health concerns that are not only limited to, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Furthermore, animal agriculture contributes to some of the largest overall energy resource waste, deforestation, and climate change causing gas emissions, greater than any other industry. These are the main reasons why reducing our average consumption of red meat is so important.
To find common ground between any vegan, flex-etarian, or hunter, this is important to make sure we all know the same stuff. These are my notes on the topic of animal products and health, with a strong support of a plant-based diet.
First we will cover the underlying information, to help us get closer to the need to-know-stuff. Then we can further think about the wide-scale implications of the industry of animal products.
Types of Food-Animal Products
Red meat is focused on mainly throughout this website and campaign, because of it’s strong relationship to climate change. Red meat consists mainly of beef and pork. There are many other meats beyond red meat like poultry, such as chicken or turkey, as well as fish, and more.
Furthermore, animal products go beyond just meat. Dairy products such as milk and butter, as well as eggs from poultry, are the main animal products that are incorporated into most American diets. Though too, there are other less expected animal parts used throughout many food products as well.
Reasons People Don’t Eat or Limit Animal Food Products
- Animal Cruelty
- Weight loss
- Healing & Preventing Health Conditions
- The Environment & Climate Change
- To Save Energy Resources
- ~To Be Hip~
What is Red Meat?
Red meat refers to the muscle meat of mammals.
Examples of Red Meat Include:
- Beef / Veal
- Sheep/ Lamb
What Are Processed Meats?
Processed meats refer to any form of beef, pork, poultry, or any “meat that has been transformed through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking, or other processes to enhance flavour or improve preservation. ” – IARC
Examples of Processed Meat Include:
- Hot dogs & Sausages
- Corned beef
- Beef Jerky
- Canned Meat & other Pre-Made Items
Red & Processed Meats + the Human Body
A report by the World Health Organization states “that each 50 gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%.”
For reference, at McDonalds the beef patties cooked in the Big Mac weigh approximately 66g, and in the “Hamburgers and Cheeseburgers the cooked patties weigh approximately 33g.”
This does NOT mean that you will get cancer. But, it does mean that your overconsumption of processed meat puts you at a higher risk for some types of cancer. This also in part explains the recent years’ dramatic rise in public heath concerns.
According to WebMD, repeated studies show a major link between people’s risk for dying of heart disease to the amount of red meat that they eat.
This is then attributed to the fact that “Bacteria in the intestines convert carnitine, a protein building block that’s especially plentiful in beef, lamb, and venison, into compounds that speed up hardening and thickening of artery walls, according to a new study.”
In an article from Harvard Magazine, it states that “researchers found that a daily serving of red meat no larger than a deck of cards increased the risk of adult-onset diabetes by 19 percent.”
And furthermore, that “Processed red meat proved much worse: a daily serving half that size—one hot dog, or two slices of bacon, for example—was associated with a 51 percent increase in risk. ”
The World Heath Organization States:
“Animal-sourced foods tend to be associated with higher greenhouse gas emissions, such as methane and nitrogen dioxide. In addition to their climate impact, the intake of red and processed meats has been linked to adverse health outcomes including cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Reducing the consumption of animal-sourced foods (particularly processed meats and red meat) in favor of healthier plant-based alternatives has the potential to both reduce methane emissions associated with livestock production and improve population health.” – WHO