Yesterday was World Vegan Day, which prompted me to see what other ‘events’ I was potentially overlooking…
I did a quick Google search this morning to discover what other causes were coming up on the calendar this month. I like to stay in-the-know, and I was so excited to find that we are currently kicking off the entire month of November as World Vegan Month! Oh Happy Day!
The thing is, there are a lot of other causes in November too – It’s also the Awareness Month selected for Alzheimers Disease, Lung Cancer, Pancreatic Cancer, Diabetes, Epilepsy, and Healthy Skin. Add to that Animal Shelter Awareness, Military Awareness, Veterans Awareness, and the Great Smoke-Out. Don’t forget America Recycles Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Eliminate Violence Against Women Day. Wow.
Is it me, or are there more causes than there ever used to be? We need more months in the calendar. Or, fewer diseases. Or maybe the focus should be not on awareness but on prevention and treatment. Does the awareness alone do any good? How much goes to research to discover the elusive cure? How much goes to education and prevention? Can we consolidate causes in a meaningful way and actually work together to make a difference? As a business owner, and as a consumer, I find it difficult sometimes to choose causes. Do I give money to Susan G. Komen or the American Heart Association? Alzheimer’s Association or Sierra Club? Lung Cancer or Pancreatic Cancer? A Women’s Shelter or an Animal Shelter? I’m overwhelmed with how to give, and it’s not even the holiday time yet. There’s got to be a better way.
If you had to pick and choose, you could maybe focus on diseases that are most likely to result in death. That’s one way to prioritize, I suppose. And from there, maybe look at which of the leading causes of death are actually preventable or treatable. According to the CDC’s Leading Causes of Death List for 2011, you’ve got heart disease, cancers, respiratory disease, stroke (also a heart disease), accidents, Alzheimer’s, Diabetes, Influenza, Kidney disease, and suicide. Wow, November is a heavy hitting month, covering almost all of these diseases in some way.
So, which ones are preventable? For starters: heart disease, most cancers, stroke, Alzheimer’s, Type II Diabetes, influenza, and kidney disease. Then how do you choose which to prevent? The great news is that you don’t have to choose. A whole foods, plant-based diet has been proven to prevent, and also treat in most cases, almost all of the leading causes of death that we face in the United States. Factor in the mental clarity and mental health benefits that come with a healthy plant-based diet, and you may very well be able to add accidents and suicides onto the list of preventables.
Don’t take it from me though. Check out Dr. Michael Greger’s video on NutritonFacts.org. He compiles all of the year’s cutting edge nutrition research every year and presents it in one fact-filled and entertaining lecture.
I hear it all the time – it’s too hard to eat a plant-based diet. It’s too inconvenient. It’s expensive. Let me tell you – suffering through any one of the aforementioned diseases is extremely challenging, totally inconvenient, and it can easily toss you into bankruptcy. In comparison, filling your belly with fresh, ripe fruits and vegetables, hearty whole grains, nuts and seeds seems like a pretty simple solution. It’s also a pretty cheap solution, and my donation dollars will always go to the organizations that focus on educating the public about the prevention and cure that is right in front of us, rather than investing millions into far-flung research projects aimed at a miracle pill.
You didn’t think I forgot about the animal shelter awareness, did you? Urgent News Bulletin: The same nutrition plan that is best for your own physical, mental, and financial health is also the very best thing you can do for the animals we share this earth with, and the earth itself.
Live with compassion for yourself and others. Live according to your own human values that are already ingrained within you. Make a pledge this month that for each day that you wake up in the morning, live that day as if you’re living it on purpose. If we all did that, we would be left with very few causes.
Happy World Vegan Month