Some people believe that the topic of nutrition is totally superficial, since nutrition only serves the external ideal of beauty (see diets) and often only in connection with abstinence (from food in general, certain foods in particular, carbohydrates, fat, sugar, etc.) in the sense of losing weight.
The question of nutrition, however, is the question of love: the love of myself and love for others.
Do i love myself Do I love others?
The love for myself will cause me to treat my body as well as possible. From a holistic point of view, the question of treating others already comes into play at this point: the way I treat others will always fall back on me.
In the process of finding out what is good for your own body, the question quickly arises: what nourishes my body? This change of perspective from the frequently asked question: “What can I no longer do if I want to be strong, healthy, smart, pretty, thin?” The question of what food I can spoil my body and soul with opens up an infinite number of new sources of food that need to be researched or rediscovered. Personally, I find the word plant-based nutrition, which is often used in English, a lot nicer than the often negatively stressed word “vegan”, because here the focus is on the foods I want to eat (if I decide to do so):
Mixed foodists (i.e. people who produce both plants and animals
and eating meat) often consume far too little fiber. People who feed exclusively on plants (in each plant there are only different amounts of fiber) generally do not have this problem. Dietary fiber is extremely important for gut health. Today’s findings show that this has been significantly underestimated so far and strong connections with the immune system and even crucial connections with the brain. However, simple gastrointestinal diseases are not to be neglected because of their versatile side effects and also limit well-being. The body’s own toxins are broken down (e.g. cholesterol).
Many plants have antioxidants. Especially when eaten raw, these are preserved for the body and develop their positive effects. They protect against athritis, cancer (one of the most common causes of death in Germany) and degenerative diseases.
Lower calorie density
Most vegetables have a very low calorie density compared to animal products. One of the most common causes of death in civilized societies is cardiovascular disease due to obesity. The more vegetables are included in the diet, the lower the calorie balance. At the same time, you often don’t feel so sluggish and therefore move more subconsciously. The majority of people who eat plant-based food have a BMI that is within the normal range.
Additives, flavor enhancers, sugar
If you try to eat a plant-based diet, you automatically start to cook more yourself or use products that have at least an organic label from the start. By making your own food, you also know what is really in the food. Personally, I don’t feel good when a lot of words appear in the ingredients of a product that I don’t know what they mean.
Refraining from flavor enhancers, which have been shown to impair our brains, helps us to re-establish a healthier relationship with food, in which we stuff everything into ourselves less drive-controlled, but instead learn to pay attention to the needs of our body again. Many people cannot tell hunger or thirst apart, nor can they feel what nutrients they are lacking. The fewer chemical substances, sugar and the like in the body, the stronger your own intuition becomes again. Being able to eat intuitively again often takes time, as pollutants have to be broken down and new networks have to be created in the brain, so that new habits and a new sensitivity are re-established.
Less unsaturated fatty acids
The risk of cancer and diabetes is reduced by less unsaturated fatty acids, which are mainly found in animal products.
All of these components help you feel better physically, which in turn also affects your psyche. Apart from that, we also feel emotionally better when we live in accordance with our own beliefs. If you walk vigilantly through life, sooner or later you will be confronted with the effects of the ever increasing meat consumption, as well as the dairy industry or also with the poor conditions in the mass production of eggs. In addition to the numerous grievances in animal husbandry, at some point in our lives we will certainly also be confronted with the negative effects of factory farming on humans. With every compassionate person, this knowledge will create a certain psychic dissonance, which can put a lot of strain on us. If you suppress these emotions, there is a high probability that you will be confronted with something again in the future and that you will always invite negative emotions into your life again and again. Behavior change is an effective tool to reduce this dissonance. If you act in accordance with your convictions, you will find a deeper inner peace, a strong inner peace, from which you can draw strength even in difficult life situations. If you eat purely plant-based out of conviction for a longer time, this becomes more and more our inner attitude – a part of our personality.
Likewise, we should be aware that (assuming a pyramid of need), self-actualization is at the top of a chain of needs in living out such beliefs. Especially in view of China, which has increased its meat consumption extremely in recent years, we should be clear here in Germany that our prosperity and the satisfaction of basic needs, such as hunger, thirst, a warm apartment in winter or certain hygienic standards, which gives us incredible freedom to even think about these things. We need to be aware of this advantage so that we do not rashly pass other judgments that do not deal with such topics and are not equally far in their development.
If we want to talk to and deal with these people, each and every one of us should contribute to meeting their basic needs. How does a change in behavior in our diet affect other people’s needs?
Purchase decision is a political decision
Every single purchase decision is a political decision. A decision for a certain company that produces a certain product under certain conditions. If we decide to buy and consume 1 kg of meat, then this is a decision for 1 kg of food to consume a total of approx. 7 kg of feed. This food, which an animal consumes to “produce” 1 kg of meat, is largely produced where people go hungry. I find it perverse to imagine that a field worker in Africa or South America has to harvest grain or soy, that he is not allowed to eat, cannot afford himself and then has to watch how this food is transported to be fed to an animal so we have a great steak. The huge industrial fishing trawlers come in like grasshoppers, fish everything and there is not enough left for poor local fishermen who have to provide their families with the fish. The ecosystem then does not recover immediately, it takes time for the fish population to rebuild, so that entire villages that were previously able to take care of themselves in harmony with nature suddenly need external help or people die. One person dies of hunger every 3 seconds (9 million a year) and about every 11 people in the world suffers from hunger. Global hunger has increased again since 2015. During the same period, meat consumption increased sharply in Asia, where meat was perceived as a sign of prosperity. It has developed similarly in Europe and America. But if we now point our fingers to Asia and condemn this behavior without leading ourselves with a better example, it is only empty words that come from our mouths.
99% of all animal products come from factory farming. By choosing these products, we are choosing incredible suffering. Chickens are crammed together in the tightest of spaces, pecking each other’s eyes and feathers so that they sit on each other bloody and scarred. If they are male and cannot be used for egg production, they are either rescued as chicks or fed as quickly as possible so that they can be killed for their meat. At many locations, the claws are trimmed and the beaks cut off. For this, people have to “clamp” them in special machines. The people who are forced to do this work to feed their families often experience massive mental health problems. In addition to the above-average number of mentally ill people in large factory farms, the toxic fumes from animal droppings and urine can also cause lung problems if the workers are not equipped with special breathing masks. The eyes are also irritated by these vapors and the mucous membranes in the nose and throat can be burned. It is unimaginable if these effects already occur in humans, as the chickens, whose faces are much closer to the ground, suffer from these conditions. The legs of the animals are often very inflamed if they are in their own dung all day. But cows or pigs also fight under similar conditions. In order for a cow to give milk, it must first give birth to a calf. Of course, nothing is left to chance during fertilization and the semen is forcefully pressed into the cow by human hands. When the calf is born, it is separated from the mother, who will keep looking for the calf for a long time. To do this, you have to know that cows are very social creatures and care and protect their children intensively. In a natural herd, there is an intense mother-child bond for a lifetime. If the calf from factory farming, separated from the mother, is lucky, it is male and has only a short life. Many people like to eat veal. A female animal is not so lucky because it has 5 years of suffering in milk production.
They were bred to produce a lot of milk and sometimes give 40 liters of milk a day. For the cow, this means that the udders are often very inflamed and blood and pus can also be found in the milk that a cow gives. There are two limits here. If the amount of blood and pus exceeds the first limit, the milk has to be sold more cheaply, only when the second value is reached is it taken off the shelf. Some animals cannot move at all, but those who are in the playpen usually move only a little because the floor is slippery due to faeces and urine (naturally, they cover several kilometers a day). Automatic manure pusher, which clean some stables, always lead to severe injuries, as inexperienced animals in particular cannot evade the device in time. The animals also often injure themselves on the dividers that are in the playpen. But there are still tie-in stalls. The head of the animal is fixed here so that the cow cannot move. If the drinking trough or the feeding trough is additionally attached to the bottle, an incorrect posture develops, which can be painful. Similar to chickens, hooves become inflamed in cows. If the animals finally lie in their own excrement, the bacteria in them exacerbate inflammation of the udder or cause non-existing ones.
Pigs still have a docking procedure, even in Germany, thanks in part to special permits. Piglets (often without anesthesia) are cut off with a pair of pliers. It is hoped that this will reduce the likelihood that the animals will eat each other in the confined spaces because pigs are omnivores. If the animals had larger, more appropriate enclosures in which they could occupy themselves, they would not develop such a compulsion to bite each other. Castration is still possible without anesthesia. In pig breeding, the hygienic conditions are sometimes even worse than in chickens or cows. PMSG is used for breeding. A hormone that is released by pregnant mares. To do this, brutally beat the animals bloodily or cut the amniotic sac without anesthesia so that as much blood as possible can be obtained. Not only does the foal die, it is emotionally and physically incredibly painful. The hormone is then used in pig breeding to increase fertility (a sow must have around 30 piglets a year so that it is “economically profitable”) and to check that all sows get their piglets at the same time. The slaughtered animals then not only end up on our plates, but are also in demand in the cosmetics industry (soap, beauty creams) or in medicine (capsules for tablets) and even for printer cartridges.
We have to be aware that every single decision for such a product is a decision for the continued existence of these conditions.