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According to a new study, published in Cell Metabolism, the increased risk of developing cancer from consuming high amounts of animal protein is comparable to the increased rate of developing cancer from smoking cigarettes.

Researchers looked at the dietary habits of 6,318 adults over the age of 50 and found that those who consumed the highest levels of animal proteins were four times more likely to die of cancer than those who had low-protein diets.  The study also showed that individuals who ate lots of meat and dairy were more likely to die at an earlier age.

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Executive Director and California native, Michael Weber wrote a letter to the San Diego Unified School District urging its board members to adopt a Meatless Mondays program. In a city where nearly 28% of children are overweight or obese, Michael says, “Now is the time for community leaders to speak out about proper diet and healthy habits. And this public health initiative, begun by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, is a great start.”

Being overweight or obese increases a person’s risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and many cancers. The economic costs associated with obesity and physical inactivity in California are estimated at $41.2 billion. The state (and the country) is at a turning point in the battle with chronic disease, and we have a choice…we either take steps to improve our overall health or we continue down the current path of disease and premature death.

In his letter, Michael also points out the devastating environmental impacts animal agriculture has on the planet and the inherent cruelty and suffering that comes with raising animals for food. According to the United Nations, reducing the amount of animal products we eat is one of the simplest ways to lower our carbon footprint, since animal agriculture is “responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, a bigger share than that of transport[tation].” Not to mention, that raising billions of animals for food to produce massive quantities of meat, dairy, and eggs has taken a major toll on the animals themselves. Standard industry practices include intensive confinement, mutilations without painkillers, and a horrific slaughter – practices that shock nearly every- one who views them.

Michael says bringing one meat-free day a week to school students is “an easy, effective way for our children to start the week off right.” With an abundance of readily available vegetarian and vegan options, the number of schools and colleges that have successfully adopted similar programs is steadily increasing. And for those looking to eliminate all animal products from their diet, FARM offers 100% vegan recipes through our Meatout Mondays program and additional vegan resources through our Live Vegan website.

FARM applauds the San Diego Unified School District for considering implementing such a life-saving program, and we hope they take Michael’s recommendation into account. To read the letter in its entirety, please click here: LTR_SanDiegoMeatlessMondays13

Today marks the Week of Action for Meatout! This year we’re striving to encourage 25,000 individuals to take the Meatout pledge on March 20th. Together, we can save 8,000 animals from being tortured and killed, 3.7 million square feet of forest from being destroyed, and prevent 10,500 doses of antibiotics from being misused on farms — just by eating vegan for 1 day! Eating a plant-based diet not only saves billions of animals and protects the environment, but it greatly improves human health.

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It’s that time of year again, when most of us are thinking about the New Year ahead and reflecting on the decisions we made in the year passed. It’s the perfect time for resolutions and establishing goals to create a brighter future. The most common New Year’s resolution is to get healthier by losing a few pounds, exercising more, and eating better. And with the country’s obesity epidemic, diabetes epidemic and heart disease and cancer on the rise, making health a top priority in the coming year is the perfect resolution and anyone can do it!

But before you get started, there’s one thing to keep in mind…traditional ways of losing weight have consisted of fad diets that require starving your body and your taste buds. Yes, you might lose a few pounds in the beginning, but it usually comes back, leaving you frustrated and setting you up for failure. Instead, try something new this year; start by really looking at the food fuel you are feeding your body. This is the easiest and most important step towards success…and one that is guaranteed to keep you committed to living healthy.

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A simple solution, yet consistently ignored.

Reverse disease? Cut health care costs by 70-80%?
Could there really be an easy way to do these things?

A compelling new film, Forks Over Knives, has taken on the bold mission of shining a big bright light on the simple truth that eating a plant-based diet and rejecting animal-based and processed foods can forever change our experience of disease. Armed with two world-renowned men of science, Dr. T. Colin Campbell (The China Study) and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, as the film’s primary messengers, the facts are very difficult to ignore.

In addition to following the paths of these two pioneering scientists, the film’s real life case studies are equally powerful and persuasive.  One man, Joey Aucoin, comes to the study with high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes. At risk for heart attack and stroke, he was taking nine pills and two injections every day.  Aucoin switched to a plant-based diet and by the end of the study, had reduced his cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar, lost weight, and was able to stop using all nine medications! Even the film’s writer & director, Lee Fulkerson, became one of the case studies and experienced first-hand the power of eating a plant-based diet.  In fact, the film crew’s entire core team, including the music composer, Ramon Balcazar (& his entire family!) were so affected by the film’s information that they switched to a plant-based diet.

“One quarter of what you eat keeps you alive. The other three-quarters keeps your doctor alive.” ~ Forks Over Knives

Nutritional scientist T. Colin Campbell and the Cleveland Clinic’s Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn both grew up on dairy farms with nature’s “perfect food” (for calves, they say).  In their studies and travels, both discovered a relationship between chronic disease and the amount of animal-based protein consumed. The findings of Dr. Campbell’s famous China Study revealed that people who consumed the most animal protein also got the most chronic diseases and those who consumed a plant-based diet were the healthiest and tended to avoid chronic disease. Independently these men began their research paths and together now, they seek to get the truth out to everyone.

Reviews from people who have attended the advanced screenings have been extremely positive, noting that instead of being a science lesson or a dry docu-drama, it is a well-done film with very interesting and easy-to-relate-to life stories.

So what will you choose? To change what’s on the end of your fork or to potentially be on the other end of the knife?

The movie is due to be released in theaters in March 2011. Until then you can watch for an advanced screening in your area and follow Forks Over Knives on Facebook and Twitter. You can also sign up for updates on the film’s Web site.

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