Living A Plant Based Life With Gene Baur, President and Co-Founder of Farm Sanctuary
Most of us don’t think too much about the way we eat, but food is one of our most intimate connections with the earth. Our food choices have profound impacts on ourselves, other animals, and the planet. The way we eat reflects who we are as a culture, and those of us who grow up in affluent countries tend to develop harmful food habits. The standard American diet is tied to a cruel, toxic, and unhealthy food system, and it’s making us sick.
A growing number of health professionals are now beginning to heed the advice of the founder of western medicine, Hippocrates, who said “let food be thy medicine.” It’s been estimated that we could save 70% on health care costs in the U.S. by shifting to a whole-foods, plant-based diet. We can lower our risk of heart disease, obesity, cancer, and other common health problems by eating plant foods instead of animal products.
Human beings can thrive by eating plants. Elite athletes, including legendary ultra-runner Scott Jurek, have demonstrated that vegan nutrition can fuel top-level performance. Competitors in the NFL and the NBA, as well as MMA and other sports, are turning to plant foods to get an edge. Besides providing high-quality nutrition, eating plant foods reduces inflammation and helps our bodies recover after intense workouts. Meat, dairy, and other animal products have the opposite effect and impede recovery.
Animal agriculture subjects animals to intolerable abuse, and it is a leading cause of our planet’s most serious environmental threats, according to the United Nations. It contributes more to climate change than the entire transportation industry, and it squanders scarce natural resources. Harvesting vast acreages of corn, soy, and other crops to feed farm animals is grossly inefficient. We could feed more people with fewer resources through plant-based agriculture, and could stave off the wanton destruction of rainforests and other increasingly scarce natural ecosystems.
While consumers may not think very much about the vast devastation that comes from exploiting animals for food, slaughterhouses and factory farms only exist is because people buy their products. The good news is that we can live well, and our health can improve, by avoiding animal products. Each of us can make a positive difference by eating plants instead of animals.
Gene Baur - President and Co-Founder of Farm Sanctuary.