If you’ve recently turned on your smart TV and pushed the Netflix button, you’ve probably noticed a selection of documentary films that promote plant based eating. Films like “What the Health,” “Forks Over Knives,” “Cowspiracy,” or “Vegucated,” carry a similar message: eating plants is better for your health, better for the environment, and better for the animals.

Forks Over Knives Official Website

Regardless of your feelings about animal rights, it’s hard to deny the facts that living plant based is a hot topic! Just look at the countless celebrities that have come out as vegan or vegetarian. Liam Hemsworth, Paul McCartney, Jared Leto, Joaquin Phoenix, Casey Affleck, Alicia Silverstone, Woody Harrelson, and Pamela Anderson have all ditched meat for a healthier lifestyle. Athletes like David Carter and Matt Frazier live plant strong as well!

photo by PETA

Meat and Dairy Linked to Cancer and Heart Disease

The belief that there is a link between eating animal products and heart disease, high blood pressure, and cancer, has become mainstream. More doctors now believe what the 2005 book, The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell (PhD) and Thomas M. Campbell (MD), stated over a decade ago. The 400 page book details twenty years of study, but the gist is this: animal foods are not necessary, they promote disease, and eating plant based is healthier. The results from the comprehensive study were startling and prompted a movement of plant based eating long before “What the Health” made its Netflix debut.

Nutrition Advice from The China Study

Environmentally speaking, the connection is hard to disclaim. Think about driving through America’s Heartland with flowing fields of golden corn. Surprise, it’s not what you think! Most of what you see growing throughout the Midwest is called “dent corn” or “field corn.” This corn has been modified to have a high starch content, and it tastes nothing like the sweet corn we grew up eating during the summer.

What’s Really in Your Meat?

photo by mritz22

Our country grows immense amounts of field corn every year, but nearly 40% of it is fed to livestock, such as cattle. The animals grow large in record time on this starchy diet. They typically need a lot of medicine to help them survive the cramped conditions and food their bodies are not meant to eat. Raising meat this way is cheap and fast, but growing all that corn requires a large amount of space, water and chemical pesticides. These chemicals are now running off America’s Heartland via the Mississippi, causing a “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico.

Learn More about Corn Production

Waste Lagoons: Larger Than Several Football Fields

photo by Socially Responsible Agriculture

The animals that consume the corn create massive amounts of waste that end up in lagoons, which often times leak or overflow, allowing the waste to end up in groundwater, lakes, and streams. But even before this happens, consider the massive amounts of trees or prairies that had to be removed. Fewer trees and gaseous cattle means more CO2 to warm the planet. On top of that, industrial agriculture employees endure horrific conditions. Can anyone say, The Jungle?

If you’re intrigued and want to learn more about plant based eating, check out some of the resources listed below.

Samantha Kate Riggi is a writer and educator with a passion for social justice, education, equity, animal advocacy, and the environment. She enjoys writing stories that inspire people. Samantha’s best days include spending time with family and friends, cooking, reading, writing, and walking her two senior dogs. When she writes, she sips on strong coffee while her dogs sleep nearby.