This series was prepared by Paul Clark for St. Catherine's in North Vancouver, and generously shared with us here at St. John's for the Season of Creation! This week's author is Melanie Hackett.
When I did my B.Sc. in Physiology with Certificates in Human Nutrition and Health and Fitness Studies, we learned about the many health benefits of eating a plant-based diet. That was 15 years ago, and since then nutrition research has only further supported plant-based diets. Here is the world’s largest organization of nutrition professionals’ statement on plant-based diets:
‘It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that appropriately planned vegetarian, including vegan, diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. These diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood, and for athletes. Plant-based diets are more environmentally sustainable than diets rich in animal products because they use fewer natural resources and are associated with much less environmental damage. Vegetarians and vegans are at reduced risk of certain health conditions, including ischemic heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, certain types of cancer, and obesity. Low intake of saturated fat and high intakes of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, soy products, nuts, and seeds (all rich in fiber and phytochemicals) are characteristics of vegetarian and vegan diets that produce lower total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels and better serum glucose control. These factors contribute to reduction of chronic disease.’
Climate change is by far the worst existential crisis humanity faces (worse than any war or pandemic which get endless news coverage – and in fact most of the major pandemics including Covid-19 would not even have started if not for meat-eaters). The emergency in Pakistan, a country that contributes negligible amounts of CO2 to our atmosphere yet ranks top 10 on the Climate Risk Index, is only one example of the brutal injustice of climate change. Canada on the other hand ranks first or second for overall responsibility per capita. Next month, 73000 pregnant Pakistani women are expected to give birth with no healthcare support, a thought that chills me to the bone, having recently given birth in the Squamish hospital where I needed intervention for my baby (and maybe for me, too) to survive.
Many of my peers (and even younger, still-growing youth following Greta’s example) therefore have turned from the meat diets they were raised on to plant-based diets, as that is the most impactful thing we individually can do. We wonder why in general older generations are slower to change, when we are the ones growing human beings and nourishing them through breastfeeding, sleepless and always hungry, when it might be easier to gobble a hunk of fatty meat. It’s another form of the injustice of climate change, as young people will suffer more of the consequences of the actions and inactions of older generations, and upon having conversations with them, seems to be a reason why most of my peers are too frustrated to attend church, where the message of Jesus is always to give of yourself.
So this Creation Season I challenge you to honour God’s miraculous creation of your own body by eating plant-based.
Here’s another recipe which contains 2.5x the protein of eggs, which I fooled a meat-eater in California with by calling it ribs: