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A Vegetarian Diet Not Only Healthier but Safer

Posted by Tara Burner 0 comments

says Adventists
March 7, 2006
Silver Spring, Maryland, United States


Recent news reports from the Food and Drug Administration in the
United States indicate that meat companies sometimes use carbon
monoxide to keep beef looking red and more attractive to consumers.
While many doctors agreed that carbon monoxide used in small amounts
is not unsafe, the concern is that it can cause even rotting meat to
look red and fresh.

This is in addition to mounting meat-related concerns over the last
several years, such as, the detrimental Mad Cow disease, or bovine
spongiform encephalopathy, which can be lethal in humans; a concern
that an increase in Mercury in certain types of fish can cause brain
damage to fetuses and in young children; and, the most recent
meat-related health threat, the Avian flu that is spreading through
chickens and other birds. Though meat has long been considered by
many societies central to a healthy diet, the Seventh-day Adventist
Church continues to recommend a vegetarian diet primarily for
nutritious and spiritual reasons.

“The safety of a carbon monoxide enriched environment in packaged
meat probably does not greatly increase the hazard of eating meat as
long as the meat has been stored at a safe refrigeration temperature
for no longer than the accepted storage time, and then properly
cooked,” said Kenneth I. Burke, Ph.D., R.D. He added that slowing the
browning of meat is not an unusual practice. Burke, a food scientist
and an emeritus professor at the Adventist Church’s Loma Linda
University, has taught classes in food science for more than 20
years. He notes that while any food — meat or vegetable — can be
contaminated, “disease-causing organisms thrive on meat, [and] the
possibility of contamination and disease transfer has always been a
safety issue.”

Knowing that carbon monoxide can keep rotting meat looking fresh
“[reinforces] my commitment to stay away from meat,” commented
Grazyna Dabrowska, a lifestyle trainer and a member of the Adventist
Church. “We are visual where it comes to buying food and can easily
tell what looks fresh and what is spoiled. If I can’t rely on my eyes
to tell the difference, then I have no control over my choices. I
highly recommend the wholesome diet of organic grains and legumes,
colorful fruits and vegetables, which give a high quality of
nourishment to our bodies without the damaging effects of growth
hormones and chemically-treated meat products.”

In the United States steps have been taken to increase the safety of
meat for human consumption. A year ago, the Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) implemented new methods to prevent the spread of
Mad Cow disease, which include stopping the practice of “the feeding
of most mammalian protein to ruminant animals, including cattle, and
… banning the use of ‘poultry litter’ as a feed ingredient for
ruminant animals.” Poultry litter consists of bedding, spilled feed,
feathers and fecal matter that are collected from living quarters
where poultry is raised.

“The issue of clean and uncontaminated flesh food is one that is of
concern to many, including the meat industry, and by and large they
try hard to preserve a good quality product,” said Dr. Allan
Handysides, Health Ministries director for the Adventist world
church. However, “the problem we have with meat is less to do with
issues of its contamination and freshness, which applies to vegetable
foods as well, but with the intrinsic factors such as saturated fat
content and, in the case of fish, its pollution with compounds of
mercury and other heavy metals before it ever comes to be handled.
There is little doubt that the less flesh food is eaten and the more
the diet contains whole plant foods, the healthier an individual is
likely to be.”

Handysides’ comment reflects the Adventist position statement on a
vegetarian diet. In 2000 the church’s nutrition council explained
“for more than 130 years Adventists have practiced a vegetarian
dietary lifestyle because of their belief in the wholistic nature of
humankind. Whatever is done in eating or drinking should honor and
glorify God and preserve the health of the body, mind and spirit.”

A 1960s study performed by Loma Linda University sponsored by the
National Institutes of Health (NIH) analyzed the lifestyles of
Adventists. The study found that Adventists, in general, have 50
percent less risk of heart disease, certain types of cancers, strokes
and diabetes.

“I don’t want to say that being a vegetarian will cut out all
diseases, but vegetarians live longer and the Adventist Health Study
backs that up,” said Dr. Burke.

NIH is sponsoring a second study on Adventists to see if there is a
link between diet and cancer.

If you want Natural health counseling
or to transition to a vegetarian or vegan diet
Check out WholeBodyAndSpirit.com

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