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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Choosing to Live Our Best Lives

Jun 30, 2021 06:30AM ● By Sharon Bruckman

 The kind of food we choose to grill this Fourth of July can say a lot about our personal health, as well as the well-being of our planet. Growing up, my family spent summers at the cottage on the lake, and hotdogs and hamburgers were standard fare. Conversations about whether the meat was locally grown, organic or grass-fed didn’t happen. I felt zero guilt eating my scrumptious hotdog slathered in mustard and wrapped in a white, fluffy bun.

Although the Standard American Diet is a hard habit to break, it contributes to 45 percent of America’s deaths from heart disease, stroke and diabetes. We are learning that eating the rainbow in produce and choosing foods that nurture our gut microorganisms is critical to good health. 

Luckily, there are delicious plant-based alternatives for us to experience. This holiday, I’m eager to explore some of the healthy outdoor cooking trends reported in “Glorious Grilling,” by Laura Paisley Beck (page 24), especially the BBQ Brussels Sprouts and Grilled Cumin Carrots with Pecans, Ricotta and Herbs. 

My admiration for Dr. Colin Campbell began when I read his book The China Study, first released in 2005. Touted as the most comprehensive study of nutrition and health ever conducted, it demonstrated the dangers of a diet high in animal protein and the amazing health benefits of a whole food, plant-based eating plan. His work inspired a plethora of subsequent research on these vital issues. 

I am delighted that Natural Awakenings was able to catch up with this vibrant octogenarian for an interview about his latest book The Future of Nutrition. In “Food as Medicine: The Healing Power of Nutrition,” by Julie Peterson, Dr. Campbell reminds us that our choice of food is the easiest and most important choice we can make, not only for our personal health, but the health of our planet. Numerous other prominent sources also weigh in on this important topic beginning on page 28. 

What we choose to eat is an ethicalethical moral issue, according to Princeton bioethics professor Peter Singer. Blaming factory farms for causing negative environmental impacts and horrific animal suffering, as well as becoming ideal breeding grounds for new viruses, he asserts that the most ethical choice we can make is to avoid animal products altogether. Luckily, he predicts that as vegan products become more available and cheaper, people will be encouraged to make the switch. Check out the full interview on page 36.

Sometimes I wish eating hadn’t become so complicated, but like any change for the better, it’s easier to take one small step at a time. Try eating one plant-based meal a day or simply adding more veggies and reducing the meat on your plate. 

The key is to find your own way. There are plenty of other resources in this month’s issue to help you live your best life possible. Here’s to your health in body, mind and spirit!

Happy Summering, 

Sharon Bruckman