Cooking Delights

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

More Reasons to go Veggie

I'm preparing curriculum for a telecourse right now on "Overcoming Emotional Eating." One of the books that I am reading in preparing for the course is, Dr. Neal Barnard's Breaking the Food Seduction. While there are lots of interesting tips on overcoming food cravings in this book, I was quite surprised that meat fell into one of the categories of addictive foods!

Dr. Barnard states that more life-threadtening inllnesses have been linked to a meat-based diet than just about any other factor in our lifestyle or environment. Diseases such as cancer, heart-disease, diabetees, kidney problems, obesity and food-borne infections can all be linked to meat. What can you find in meat? Cholesterol, salmonella, e-coli, mad cow disease and foot and mouth deisease. Not only that but meat gets 20-70% of its calories from fat.

So, what makes meat addictive? When meat hits the tongue, opitates are released in the brain. Also, meat stimulates a surpisingly strong release of insuling, just like a cookie or piece of white bread. Insulin reseases dopamine between brain cells and dopamine powers the brain's pleasure center.

Need more reasons to switch to a vegetarian lifestyle? In 1990 Dr. Dean Ornish showed that a vegetarian diet alone could re-open blocked artieis in 82% of his research participants. A vegetarian diet can prevent and reverse heart disease. Vegetarian diets have been shown to prevent alzheimers by lowering cholesterol. Also the protein building block - homocystaine – that comes from the breakdown of animal proteins has been shown to increase the risk of alzheimers. Breaking the meat habit cuts your overall risk for cancer by 40%. Animal proteins are higher in sulfur containing amino acids which leach calcium from our bones leading to osteoporosis.

The addictive quality of meat might help to explain why 1 in 4 Americans in a research study wouldn't give up meat for a week even if they were paid $1, 000 to do so!!!

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