Despite enormous time and research spent studying the disease, most people in the medical field ignore the connection to lifestyle and assume that these diseases are genetic. If genes really were the cause and it was just a roll of the dice, then we would see it affecting similar numbers of people around the world.
But that’s not actually what happens. What researchers find is that people in Russia and eastern Europe suffer far higher numbers of deaths then Japan and France. In every culture that's been studied, higher amounts of meat and dairy are directly related to heart disease.
Another proof of this connection is people who make the move to another country.
When people immigrate from areas with healthy diets to areas where more meat-centric foods are common, they end up suffering through the same diseases. This is called dietary acculturation. In time these people end up with lethargy, swelling, and pain as their diet becomes filled with sugar, meat, and cholesterol.
‘if ur a vegan why do you eat so much unhealthy food’
first of all, i hate myself not the animals
The second disease connected with lifestyle choices is cancer.
There is by now a very clear link between many types of cancer and a person’s diet. (link) According to the World Cancer Research Fund, “about a third of the most common cancers can be prevented through diet, maintaining a healthy weight and regular physical activity.”
Researchers have linked lifestyle and diet with prostate, breast, stomach and colon, colorectal, and pancreatic cancer. (link) The risk is even higher with processed meat which the WHO has labeled a class 1 carcinogen (the same classification as asbestos).
On the other hand, it’s important to remember that the single most deadly form of cancer is lung cancer which is most often caused by industrial pollution, cigarettes, and burning fossil fuels. (link) (link) (link)
Researchers are finding evidence linking the pollution from traffic-filled roads with cancer in both children and adults. This brings up one of the main reasons for building this site. While some of you might eat a vegan diet, and others might be car-light or (hopefully) car-free, only a very small number are both.
I hope that what is shared here will help you to see how deeply valuable both choices are.
“Nothing will benefit human health and increased chances of survival for life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”
Beyond the most common lifestyle diseases, there are also a host of other diseases
Vegetarians too, should be wary of the data coming in on animal products. Many of the same health problems can be caused (to a lesser degree) by eggs and dairy.
People are always told to drink milk for healthy bones.
Ironically though, there is evidence that it actually increases the risk of osteoporosis (the evidence on this is not certain though). Meanwhile, activist Emily Barwick created an in-depth video describing the shocking health consequences of the egg industry.
Going one step further, this article offers an unbiased view on how dairy affects our health.
"Smart that cows have multiple stomachs in case one is lactose intolerant.”
There’s some disagreement in the research on whether animal products are the main cause or just a contributing factor in serious diseases.
This would depend on which disease, how much of someone's food comes from meat/dairy, and the amount of exercise a person gets. What IS clear, is that ever increasing numbers of health professionals are speaking out about the benefits of a meat-free diet as part of a longer and more healthy life.
In addition to the damage caused by meat, car transportation takes its toll as well.
Worldwide roughly 1.3 million people are killed in car crashes per year, and in the United States over 39,000 people are killed, making it the highest cause of death for young people. On top of that, tens of millions of people are injured or disabled on the roads each year as well.
Imagine 12 wide-body airplanes crashing every single day, with no survivors and you get a sense of how gigantic a problem this is.
The sheer scale of the destruction is almost as vast as the global warming emissions we talked about earlier. In just one San Francisco hospital, fully half all trauma injuries are caused by cars.
As the above joke suggests, the temptation with car crashes is to look at 'driver error' and what the person behind the wheel (or the person struck) was doing. But road crashes are about more then just a drunk driver or someone going through a stop sign.
Road design is actually considered a 'flawed discipline' where engineers continue with the same poor design to avoid a lawsuit. (link) However vehicle design and our electronic age are changing much faster then the roads can. This makes the issue of traffic deaths more then an 'accident.' It means that these tragedies are the result of a toxic marriage involving drivers, road planners, and car manufacturers.
There are also more subtle effects to people’s bodies which don't send people to the hospital though. (link)
“A Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which surveyed Americans about daily commutes and their effects... found that the longer the commute, the higher the levels of one’s obesity, cholesterol, pain, fatigue and anxiety.” (link)
"If there is even a smallest opportunity for you to substitute one car trip for a bike/e-bike/walk trip the best time to do so was yesterday, and the second best time is now.”
It’s with wondrous irony then, to hear people regularly talk about using their car because other modes are ‘too dangerous.’ This mistaken belief has more to do with social pressure, misunderstood risk, and poorly designed road systems.
So why is it that so few people take steps to reduce this horrific carnage? Well the answer to that is quite simple - it’s always the other person’s fault.
"People don't hear about a traffic death and then start thinking about how the same things that gave them plentiful parking, a fast commute on a freeway, a status symbol, etc. are the same things that led to that death.
It's too painful to think about.”
To put it simply, there’s no global definition for a ‘good driver.’ (link)
Some think that being able to balance a phone call while driving makes them ‘good’ while others might conveniently forget their own speeding only to focus on someone else’s. (link)
It would no doubt surprise you then to learn that, of the people who I’ve spoken with, the minority who are most aware of the huge weight of responsibility with driving are those who regularly travel by other means.
In my own experience, the vulnerability of traveling without a reinforced steel safety cage teaches us to be more attentive and avoid distractions. (link) (link)
"They’re not in the way of you driving, you’re in the way of them living. Remember that."
So how can all of us travel around without the risk of going to the hospital?
Well, traveling by bicycle or by bus are both actually safer than protection that people think a car provides. Bus travel, for example, is actually 10 times safer per mile then auto travel.
There’s also less harmful fumes that a person gets exposed to since the vehicles are larger (and sometimes electric).
Meanwhile, this study from the University of Copenhagen found that the exercise associated with bicycle transportation reduces a person’s chance of death by 40%.
Beyond the direct health costs involved in driving every day, are the enormous costs borne by the people who get the raw material in the first place.
“A death every six weeks is what you do to keep your soap opera on the air. In real life, that is fuckin HORRIFYING.”
Conditions at oil rigs in the Midwest of the U.S. have recently exposed a long-running human rights disaster within the oil industry. (link)
The blatant disregard for safety and ecological risk is nothing new.
Activists and residents of poor countries have seen these patterns repeating themselves for years. (link) (link)
What IS new, is that people in industrialized nations are starting to see pictures and video of the atrocities. Instead of relying on word-of-mouth, people are now able to join in global protests for a more compassionate future. (link) (link)
As with confined feedlots, the more that all of us learn about this exploitation the more we recognize the huge value in taking away the profit from companies who focus on quarterly reports over quality of life.
In the vegan community I hear a strong outcry not only against farmed animals, but to the many other ways in which animals are harmed.
Each year scientists kill an estimated 100 million lab animals for 'research' and hunters kill an estimated 200 million game animals. However, even I was surprised to learn that drivers kill nearly 400 million animals per year on the road. (link) (link) (link)