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A healthy, nutritionally balanced diet requires all nutritional needs to be met, via the consumption of certain foods each day, which is often expressed graphically with the food pyramid, which usually includes several or so food groups.
Animal ProductsPeople are generally taught to believe that a healthy diet consists of the following six food groups:
Commercially produced animal products are commonly derived from animals that were pumped full of fat producing agents, powdered chemical additives, newspaper, garbage fillers, drugs, steroids, hormones and antibiotics. Many of these animals were also fed the remains of other sick, dead or dying animals, and plant foods that were grown using chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Dead animals that die before slaughtering time are also processed along with all the other meat, regardless of the animals' condition. The meat is then sent to market, where color enhancers are often added to the certain cuts of meat to make them look more appealing to hungry shoppers. Yet no matter how animals are raised, what they are fed or how the products derived from them are processed and prepared, all animal products are an expensive, unhealthy, unnecessary waste of land, water and other natural resources. For example:
Vegan and Vegetarian DietsVegan diets only include plant foods, such as nuts, seeds, fruits, veggies, grains, beans, legumes, sprouts and grasses. Some vegetarian diets include animal products such as dairy or eggs, but all vegan and vegetarian diets have in common the exclusion of animal flesh. It has been said (and promoted by those who benefit financially) that vegans and vegetarians risk malnutrition, because supposedly nutrients such as protein, calcium, iron, zinc, vitamin D and vitamin B12 are only found in animal products, except in very minute and imbalanced amounts, which are supposedly not suitable for complete balanced nutrition. Not only is this completely and provably untrue, but death rates in fact rise with increased consumption of animal products, and it is actually animal products, not plant foods, which contain imbalanced or insufficient nutrients. All of the nutrients the body needs can be obtained from plant foods, except for vitamin B12, which does not come from animal products either. While most animals do contain vitamin B12, it is not their own bodies, but rather bacteria on the plant foods they ate which produced it.
Many vegans and vegetarians eat only whole, organic foods, which have not been genetically engineered, modified, refined or processed by commercial food industries. This may exclude much of the food purchased at most grocery stores, but whole, organic foods can also be obtained from other sources, such as health food stores, farmers markets, or better yet, from our own gardens. Growing plants for your own food and medicine really doesn't require a lot of space or resources, especially if animal products are eliminated from the diet. One acre of land would for example, be sufficient to feed two vegans and/or vegetarians, year round. Growing and/or buying locally grown foods also supports local communities, while reducing one's contribution to the environmental and financial costs of refining, processing, packaging, storing and transporting food.
Nutrino FoodsThere are five vegan foods that I refer to as 'nutrino foods', which together contain significant quantities of virtually all essential nutrients (except for vitamin B12), and some non-essential nutrients. Nutrino foods include alfalfa (Medigo sativa), barley (Hordeum vulgare), carrot (Daucus carota), soybean (Glycine max), and sunflower (Helianthus annuus). Based on a 2000 calorie diet, 1C alfalfa (leaf), 2C barley (grain, sprouts and grass), 1C carrots, 2C soy (beans, sprouts and grass) and 2C sunflower (seeds, sprouts and grass) would provide all of the nutrients a person needs (not including vitamin B12) for one day. With the addition of probiotics (which can be obtained from prebiotic vegan foods), one could eat nothing but the nutrino foods and meet all nutritional requirements, and then some.
Dietary ChangesA number of diet changes may be necessary to begin and sustain a healthy diet. One of the most important dietary changes one can make is to reduce, or better yet, eliminate animal products, refined and processed foods from their diet. Despite the elimination of such foods, the variety of recipes for preparing vegan and vegetarian foods not be limited. Keep in mind however, that it takes time for the body to adapt to dietary changes, and there are a few things to keep in mind, whether you decide to make dietary changes or not:
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